Fiddler On The Roof is moving from Broadway to the big screen. MGM is gearing up to produce a new movie adaptation of the hit musical, with Thomas Kail set to direct. Kail is known as the director of Hamilton, which is finally getting released on Disney+ in July. Kail will be working from a script penned by Steven Levenson.
Thomas Kail and Steven Levenson have worked together in the past on FX’s Fosse/Verdon. There is no word on casting currently, nor is it clear how soon the studio intends to begin filming. Though that is largely dependent on when productions will be able to safely resume in general. MGM Film Group Chairman Michael De Luca had this to say about it in a statement.
“MGM’s nearly centuries-long legacy of great film musicals continues with the great Tommy Kail’s new feature adaptation of one of Broadway’s most enduring classics. Along with the formidable team of Dan, Aaron, and Steven, we are thrilled they have come aboard to steward one of the great musicals to the big screen. Added MGM Film Group President Pam Abdy: “All of us at MGM look forward to sharing this timeless cultural milestone with moviegoing audiences of every generation.”
Because of his success on Broadway with Hamilton and In the Heights, Thomas Kail has become in-demand in Hollywood. Fiddler On The Roof originally launched in 1964 and won nine Tony Awards. The original stage show was written by Joseph Stein and features music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Kail had this to say in a statement.
“It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler, though I always imagined I would do it on stage. 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.”
Since it was first produced in 1964, Fiddler On The Roof has been revived five times on Broadway. The story centers on a Jewish family in 1905 Anatevka. The musical was adapted into a movie previously in 1971. That version was directed by Norman Jewison and went on to win three Oscars while also earning a Best Picture nomination. Steven Levenson had this to say.
“Fiddler On The Roof was the first piece of theater I saw, at the age of five. Today, more than fifty years after it changed the face of Broadway forever, the story of Tevye and his beloved village of Anatevka feels more timely than ever. I am beyond grateful to Mike DeLuca and MGM, Dan Jinks, and Aaron Harnick for the opportunity to tell this unforgettable story of resilience and hope in the face of hopelessness, and I am delighted to be collaborating again with the inimitable Tommy Kail.”
It seems ever since La La Land became a breakout hit in 2016 that musicals have been in vogue again. A movie adaptation of In the Heights had been scheduled for release this summer, but has been pushed to next summer. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news was previously reported by Deadline.