I saw FIDDLER ON THE ROOF IN YIDDISH last week. I don't really speak Yiddish but I had gotten good recommendations from friends and decided to splurge and see it.
There are English subtitles on curtains on either side of the stage and I will admit that its a little annoying to have to look at them because you do miss some of the action when you are looking at the subtitles. That said, I think that this was one of the most moving renditions of Fiddler on the Roof that I have ever seen. Okay, I just saw this and the movie from 1972. But still, its quite good. The old Yiddish Tevye Der Milkeur (not sure if I am spelling it correctly) is the best but I know that will never be repeated. In the old Yiddish version, Chava notices her mother's wedding dress among her gentile husband's family's possession after a pogrom and then goes back to live with her father and leaves Anetevka with her father and sisters. Of course, this is most likely what happened if this story was real. Hollywood can't handle this of course.
Now that we have gotten my reservations out of the way, Steven Skybell was a wonderful Tevye. He brought so much strength and warmth to the role. Jennifer Babiak looked too young to be playing Golde, but was good as well. Jackie Hoffman who plays Yente stole every scene she was in . The shabbos scene in the play was better than in the movie and I loved the bottle dancers at the wedding. I also loved the eerieness of Tevye's dream.
Most of the cast did not speak Yiddish to begin so they had to teach them what the words meant and how to pronounce them. Many of the actors were not Jewish.
The play is so powerful because it is spoken in the language the people in the story would have spoken. It is also more emotional seeing it on a stage than on the a screen.
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish is playing until January 5 off Broadway. It is worth the splurge.