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Literati is pleased to welcome Alisa Solomon to read and discuss her new book, Wonder of Wonders
In the half-century since its premiere, Fiddler on the Roof has had an astonishing global impact. Beloved by audiences the world over, performed from rural high schools to grand state theaters, Fiddler is a supremely potent cultural landmark.
Wonder of Wonders traces how and why the story of Tevye the milkman, the creation of the great Yiddish writer Sholem-Aleichem, was reborn as blockbuster entertainment and a cultural touchstone, not only for Jews and not only in America. It is first a story of the theater, following Tevye from his humble appearance on the New York Yiddish stage, through his adoption by leftist dramatists as a symbol of oppression, to his Broadway debut in one of the last Golden Age musicals (with the legendary Jerome Robbins directing the ungovernable genius, Zero Mostel) and then Tevye’s starring role in a major Hollywood picture, and far beyond. It is also a cultural story, about a show that spoke to deepest conflicts and desires all over the world. The book takes readers into the rehearsal room where Fiddler was hammered into shape, onto the stage where it was rapturously received, and out into the world where its powerful legacy continues.
Alisa Solomon teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the Arts & Culture concentration in the MA program. A theater critic and general reporter for the Village Voice from 1983 to 2004, she has also contributed to The New York Times, The Nation, Tablet, The Forward, Howlround.com, killingthebuddha.com, American Theater, TDR – The Drama Review, and other publications. Her first book, Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender, won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism