Fiddler on the Roof for children

My mother in law’s favorite musical is Fiddler On the Roof, which is coming to a small town near us. We are going in two days–Saturday. My 5 year old and I have seen a few stage productions, and so I got three tickets–for my MIL, my daughter, and myself.

I have never seen Fiddler, but always heard it was a classic, and was somewhat familiar with a couple of the upbeat songs.
Last night I was looking up the story to get some background for my daughter and me before we watch it, and I read that the first half is upbeat and happy, but the second half is very different, and at the end soldiers are removing the family from their house, if I read it correctly.

Is Fiddler an appropriate show for a 5 year old? We did watch Sound of Music on the stage last year, and of course the latter part of the movie there is more conflict and soldiers coming after them.

Any thoughts on Fiddler with my young one?

Fiddler is my absolute favorite musical, ever.
That said, IMHO, if your daughter could handle the situations with the Nazi’s in Sound of Music, she will have no problem with Fiddler.

In every good story there is conflict and resolution. In FOTR the conflict is prejudice and the resolution is the people relocating–some to America, to make a new life for themselves and their families. So, it’s not really an unhappy ending except for the fact that intolerance is not defeated, only delayed.

Also, FOTR is a very long musical with more adult themes of love and tradition and family. It may be a bit over a 5 year old’s head. She may get bored and fall asleep long before the end. You may want to leave her home and take someone else who will be able to appreciate the experience and take her to something more on her level to make it up to her.

Thanks for the responses. Okay, so it doesn’t sound “bad” for her to see or upsetting, but like Della said, she may become bored by the older theming of it, like she would enjoy it more if she were older.
Well, it is an 8 p.m. performance, so maybe she will fall asleep!

I also didn’t realize it is a “long” musical.

Thanks for the input!

Fiddler on the Roof was awesome. Two cousins of mine played in it once and we got to see it. (Have also watched the movie.) I would think its suitable - there’s one part where some thugs start throwing and breaking things, and one man gets pushed to the ground or hit once or twice.

There’s also a scene where the father has a nightmare which includes a bunch of deceased relatives. In the movie they’re pretty creepy, and in the play version that I saw, the actors wore glow-in-the-dark masks. Other than those parts, I don’t recall anything else that was objectionable.

It’s quite long… my kids liked the movie, but I wouldn’t try it with a stage play. The only thing that might scare her is the Dream scene. It’s supposed to be comical, but my kids were a little scared of it. The rest will be over her head. And if it doesn’t start until 8, she probably will fall asleep.

The movie from memory is pretty much as long as the stage play - not much if anything was left out that I can recall.

But at least if a child is watching the movie at home, they can get up and run around the room, wiggle a lot, even chat, and no one will be disturbed.

OTOH—does your child have a theatrical bent? My older daughter would have been thrilled with Fiddler on the Roof as a five-year-old because she was in love with the theater by the time she was three, and she was watching full-length operas at this age and enjoying every second. She never expressed an interest in any other career other than theater, and today, at age 29, she’s a professional stage manager!

OTOH–if the child is just a normal child with no special interest in theater, I agree with others that FOTR is just a little long and with grownup themes. Also, the characters often speak in a Yiddish accent, and that might be hard for a child to understand.

OTOH–the music is delightful, and children who are involved with figure skating or dance WILL at some point be skating or dancing to music from FOTR.

OTOH–IF the child KNOWS one of the actors in Fiddler, they will enjoy the show because they will enjoy seeing the person that they know.

OTOH–one thing that you can do if the five-year-old is reading is to allow them to listen to the music and follow along with the words in the CD insert. We did this with our daughters before taking them to musicals. The only problem is that they had to be told sternly, Do NOT sing along!

OTOH–oh, well, Tevye does this OTOH stuff better than I do! :slight_smile:

The only thing I can think of that was left out of the movie was the gossip song. Too bad – it was funny :smiley:

I love FOTR, have seen it on stage several times, own the DVD. I credit FOTR for igniting my love of the Jews and of Israel.

That said, I think the cultural and historical references will be over the head of a 5-year-old, although she might enjoy the singing and dancing. If you take her, and she’s still awake at the dream sequence, you can tell her that Tevye is having a silly dream.

‘There IS no other hand!’ :smiley:

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