Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Broadway Memories - A Towering Presence"

This one is easy.

Zero Mostel, to whom I was introduced – not personally but as an audience member – bowling me over two years earlier starring in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, played “Tevya the Dairy Man” in Fiddler on the Roof, a twinkle-toed fat man with a devilish intention.

I have mentioned elsewhere the “Final Bow” that brought tears to my entranced and appreciative eyes.  And now… I am mentioning it again.

During the end-of-the-show “Curtain Call”, the “Circle of the Community”, dancing arm-in-arm to the or”chestral reprise of “Tradition” parts like the Red Sea, and out of its center, gyrating in ecstatic Hassidic fashion, steps Zero Mostel, advancing for his culminating acknowledgement towards an audience suddenly on its feet and cheering themselves hoarse. 

One night I was, memorably, a part of that.

The following video – because I couldn’t find and they possibly never recorded the show live, was made seven years after Fiddler opened, Zero performing his trademark “If I Were A Rich Man” on the 1971 Tony Awards.

He’s a little older, a little slower, so what you are getting here is, like, “seventy-five percent.”  But if you watch ever so carefully, you will detect those magical flashes and flourishes…

That made this the most unforgettable performance I eve saw in a musical.

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