Fiddler on the Roof is a well-known musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. Originally entitled Tevye, the musical is based on Tevye and his Daughters, or Tevye the Milkman, and other stories originally published by the Russian Jewish author Sholom Aleichem in 1894. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while the world and civilization around him change rapidly. He must cope with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters — each daughter's choice of husband moves progressively further and further away from established custom, and with the edict of the Tsar that upends his village.
The original Broadway production of the show, in 1964, was the first Broadway musical to surpass the 3,000 performance mark, and it held the record for longest-running Broadway musical in history for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. The production earned $1,574 for every dollar invested in it. The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals, a successful 1971 film adaptation, and has enjoyed enduring international popularity.
The play's title stems from a painting by Marc Chagall, one of many surreal paintings he created of Eastern European Jewish life. The Fiddler is a metaphor of survival, through tradition and joyfulness, in a life of uncertainty and imbalance. Stein created a version of the show called Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. for elementary and middle schools that cuts out a few of the scenes, including the dream sequence.
Anthony Dean Rapp (b. October 26, 1971, Chicago) is an American stage and film actor best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent in 1996 and later for reprising the same role in the film version. He also performed the role of Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
He first performed on Broadway in 1981, at the age of ten, in The Little Prince and the Aviator, a musical based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novel The Little Prince that closed during previews. He also appeared as a teenager in the 1987 movie Adventures in Babysitting, which was directed by Chris Columbus. Columbus would later direct Rapp in the film version of Rent.
Rapp has gone on to appear in several movies and Broadway shows. His notable work includes films Dazed and Confused where he played one third of a teenaged intellectual triumvirate, A Beautiful Mind as one of John Nash's colleagues, Road Trip as the villainous Greek philosophy TA, Jacob, the stage and film versions of Six Degrees of Separation, as Van Dyke Parks in "An American Family", and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Also in this production was Kristin Chenoweth as Sally Brown.
Rapp is probably best known for playing Mark Cohen in the Off-Broadway and original Broadway casts of Jonathan Larson's musical Rent. He reprised that role in the film version of Rent, which was released on November 23, 2005. Fans of Rent closely associate Rapp with that show, in part because his character is semi-autobiographical of the deceased composer and playwright Jonathan Larson. Rapp has embraced his role as an unofficial spokesperson for the musical and has given numerous television and print interviews regarding the show and its development. Some of Rapp's photographs from rehearsals of Rent have been published.