Fiddler on the Roof remake

So far, Thomas Kail has been best known as the award-winning director of the stage versions of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and Hamilton. He also directed the film version of Hamilton that’s coming to Disney+ in July, and now Kail has another musical film adaptation in the works: a new report says he’ll produce and direct a Fiddler on the Roof remake for MGM. Get more details below.

Deadline reports that Kail, who won Emmys for directing and producing Fox’s Grease Live! back in 2016, will produce and direct this Fiddler on the Roof remake, which will be written by Steven Levenson (Masters of SexDear Evan HansenTick, Tick…Boom). Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Big Fish, Pushing Daisies) is producing alongside Kail.

For the uninitiated, Fiddler on the Roof debuted on Broadway in 1964, winning nine Tony Awards and becoming a stage classic that’s inspired countless community theater and high school adaptations over the ensuing decades. Wikipedia explains the plot succinctly enough:

“The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar who evicts the Jews from the town of Anatevka.”

Director Norman Jewison adapted the play into a movie in 1971, and the film version won three Oscars: Best Sound, Best Cinematography, and Best Music (Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score). Here’s the trailer for that version, which starred Topol as Tevye:

“It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler, though I always imagined I would do it on stage,” Kail said in a statement. “I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to make a new film version of my favorite show with Mike DeLuca at MGM, where so many transcendent musical movies have been made. I’m proud to partner with Dan Jinks, Aaron Harnick, and my great pal, Steven Levenson, to honor this work that has profoundly inspired me and millions of others.”

Fiddler on the Roof has left a lasting mark on pop culture: even if you’ve never seen the show, you’ve likely heard references to songs like “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “To Life,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” But I can’t imagine that anyone under 35 has much of a relationship to the story these days, so it seems like an appropriate time for a remake. Best of luck to Kail and his team.

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