Tradition! Tradition!

And who does Mama teach to mend and tend and fix,
Preparing me to marry whoever Papa picks?

The daughter, the daughter! Tradition!
The daughter, the daughter! Tradition!

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In my family, “Tradition!” means seeing a high-quality stage performance every year with my mom and sister. When I was little, we’d see the short version of The Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas time. Over the years, our tradition changed from the long version of the Nutcracker to any Christmas play, to matinee performances of fine theater, to dinners at the Arizona Broadway Theater. This year, we doubled the traditional value of our girls’ night out and saw ABT’s performance of Fiddler on the Roof, a family favorite for three generations.

If you’ve never seen it, Fiddler on the Roof is the story of Jewish family in pre-revolution Russia. Reb Tevya, his wife, and his five daughters walk a fine line between the tension of a changing society under the czars and the centuries-old traditional order of Jewish life. Tevya’s oldest daughter breaks tradition by choosing her own husband. He allows it. His second daughter breaks tradition by not only choosing her own husband, but choosing a man who with progressive ideology. He blesses it. The third daughter crosses the line by eloping with a Russian Orthodox Christian soldier. Tevya is forced to decide whether his relationship with his daughters or tradition is most important.

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The story gives an interesting perspective on family, religion, and culture. The soundtrack is excellent! We still have my grandpa’s old record of the score.

What’s that? You say you’ve never seen it? What! Why are you still reading this? By all means, open a new browser window and reserve the movie at your nearest public library!

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You’re back? You reserved it? Wonderful! You won’t be disappointed. We certainly weren’t disappointed by the live performance. The characters seemed to have stepped right out of history or the screen of the movie version.

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The performance of Fiddler at ABT is going to be very hard to beat. However, I have a feeling that the next stage production that we see may be even better. Next on our playbill is Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in New York City. Stay tuned for a blog post on Phantom, coming soon to a 3rd Culture Wife blog near you.

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