Brookline’s Coolidge Corner theater normally plays the hippest in independent cinema. Last Sunday, however, it played the hippest in Yiddish-folk-tale based musicals, hosting a sold-out Fiddler On the Roof sing-a-long as part of Boston’s 15th annual Jewish Film Festival.
Perhaps the first hint that this was not just another night at the limited-release-artsy movies was the crowd of middle-aged movie goers anxiously hovering outside the theater hoping to score tickets from scalpers. In addition, a fiddler woman, dressed shtetl-chic, serenaded the long line of people waiting to see the show.
Once inside the theater, two men dressed like Tevye the milk man himself, the star of the show, ran down the aisles loudly singing “Tradition,” the show’s scene-setting opening number.
Raising Dixie cups and singing along to “L’Chaim,” moviegoers belted out the lyrics, with help from subtitles, to all their favorite songs. It wasn’t just a vocal talent showcase, however. Everyone in the audience also got props, a la Rocky Horror Picture Show audience participation. Highlights included a glow-stick to wave during “The Sabbath Prayer” and “Sunrise, Sunset,” and bubbles to blow during the wedding scene. During “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” a song Tevye’s daughters sing pining for an eligible bachelor, audience members received promotional material for “J-Connection,” a Jewish dating service.
Fans of all ages enjoyed the show, including an elderly couple who sang “Do You Love Me?,” a duet sung by Tevye and his wife, in front of the entire theater during intermission.
Yet the disco props didn’t totally interfere with the sentimental schlock that is Fiddler for some, especially during the love song “Miracle of Miracles”
“I was sobbing because everyone was happy and singing,” says Judith T. Greenberg ’07. “All the emotions and the music were magnified with everyone singing along.”
Yes, it was an emotional evening—of glow-sticks, off-key sing-alongs and the endearing antics of Tevye the Milkman. Tears indeed.