|WikiProject Biography / Actors and Filmmakers||(Rated Stub-class)|
To Whom It May Concern: I am the son of Joseph Stein, the librettist (or book writer) of 'Fiddler on the Roof.' In Wikipedia's entry for the writer/producer Arnold Perl, there appears the following:" Perl also wrote the play Tevye and his Daughters which was later adapted to the musical Fiddler on the Roof." This is wholly inaccurate. My father adapted 'Fiddler' from the short stories of the Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem and did not rely at all on the work of Arnold Perl; and, indeed, resented (and always corrected, any suggestion to the contrary. If anything, Perl was a slight impediment to Fiddler's moving forward, since when my father and his collaborators were writing the show, it was discovered that Perl held the underlying rights to Sholom Aleichem's work. Indeed, they retrieved those rights at a very steep price -- Perl got a small percentage of the royalties (which made him very rich) and the show's posters had to read 'By Special Arrangement With Arnold Perl.' But, again, Perl had no input on the show they created, which, beyond the names of several Aleichem's characters, had absolutely nothing to do with his earlier play. For verification, check out either of the two books that recently appeared in conjunction with Fiddlers fiftieth anniversary: 'Miracle of Miracles' or 'Tradition.' Both go into considerable detail about the show's origins, and also deal with Perl and the rights issue. -- Harry Stein — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 17:24, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
After reading the alleged Harry Stein's initial comment, I did some research and found that his claims seemed to be true. See http://us.macmillan.com/excerpt?isbn=9780312591427.
"The book writers, or librettists, on musicals are often underappreciated, and Harnick felt Stein was among them. Said Harnick, “Some of the critics praised him, but others said he had such an easy job—all he had to do was to quote the stories. But there were very few lines that he could use. There were some. But I would say that ninety-five percent of the show, he had to invent. It was all Joe Stein.”