Monday, November 08, 2010

Joseph Stein, R.I.P.

Mark Steyn on the passing of Joseph Stein. An excerpt:

The real punchline to the story is that, after Mostel left, seven other Tevyes followed before Fiddler closed in 1972, having played 3,242 performances, overtaken My Fair Lady as Broadway's all-time long-runner and been staged in more than 30 countries: the show was bigger than any star. Trouble is, how do you follow Fiddler? It's a question which not only Stein but most of his Broadway confreres found difficult to answer. Alan Jay Lerner hailed it as the 'triumphant finale to the glorious belle epoque that began with Oklahoma!', but the key word there is 'finale'.

'I disagreed with Alan,' said Stein, when I reminded him of Lerner's line. 'People's emotions haven't changed. The problem is, since Fiddler, there haven't been any musicals on the level of My Fair Lady or those great shows. You can't say, 'My God, this wonderful show failed on Broadway.' No such show came along.'

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