Monday, November 14, 2005

The Next Tevye 

You might think I'm jumping the gun a bit, but it's really never to early to start something of such critical importance...

AbbaGav's Quest for the Next Tevye

(I look at that in italics and I can almost see it as a hit reality show, can't you?)

I'm sure no one will be able to live up to the gold standard for Tevye excellence set in 1984 by little Jimmy Spiegelman in Mrs. Brown's 6th grade class production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Nevertheless, when Harvey Fierstein steps down we still must seek a successor, no matter how impossible Jimmy's little shoes are to fill.

So here is my early handicapping of the race:

John TravoltaYes indeed, my current front-runner is none other than Vinnie Barbarino. What?...Where?... Who else combines his experience in theatre and music, dance amd comedy, his potential girth, and all with that tera-watt star power? Nobody, that's who. Get Travolta's agent on the phone right now, somebody, please.
Odds: 2-1
Christopher WalkenChristopher Walken is the Prince of Thespians, who could turn the recital of a phone book into a really bizarre experience. Just... iMAGine his... uniquedeliveryandits... complete re-inVISIONing of a CLASSIC... .... ...role. If we can't find the number for Travolta's agent, I say we go for Chris. Just think what he can do with Tevye's famous Russian Roulette scene!
Odds: 5-1
Jerry SeinfeldJerry Seinfeld, walking down a dirt path, schmoozing with God. What could be more entertaining? He's perfect for the part in so many ways. I'm just not sure he'd be willing to appear in anything that had a plot and was actually about something. Nevertheless, if you can't afford the multi-talented song and dance combo of Travolta and Walken, the pure comedy option could start to look mighty appealing.
Odds: 8-1
Donny OsmondSure it could work. Donny's done stage. You might think he's too "not-Jewish" for the part, but he played Joseph...ok...I thought. How hard could it be to write in a few scenes where Tevye rips off his shirt? And think of the gate from the teeny-boppers! Do they still call them teeny boppers?
Odds: 12-1
Michael FlatleyGiving him a spot this high in the list -- heck, even putting him on the list -- seems a little odd even to me. But I have to do it, for political reasons. You see, I first brought up this Tevye-idea over the Shabbat dinner table with guests this weekend, and one of my friends (he knows who he is) suggested this fine candidate. Well. I can't very well leave him off the list after that, and have my friend realize what a dumb idea I thought his suggestion was. Of course, it's not called "Dance Lord On The Roof," but maybe we can get him on the cheap as a backup dancer.
Odds: 25-1
Vin Diesel
The Rock (tie)
As I'm sure most of you know, I do consider myself to be a bit of an artiste (that should have a little thingy over the final e so that it is pronounced ar-TEEST, not ar-TIST-y, but I'm not sure how to get to that letter to show up here). Nevertheless, there are times when even an artiste (see previous pronunciation note) is forced to work the box office. And if you want to work someone or something over, who better than one of these guys? Heck, why not take both of them? They could play the part kind of like the Olsen twins in Full House, and look how that turned out for them (aside from the anorexia and drug rumors).
Odds: 45-1 (each)
Haley Joel OsmentGreat actor. Totally qualified for the dream sequence: he sees dead people. How much longer til he grows up?
Odds: 50-1 (300-1 during the school year)
Kevin FederlineBritney really and truly believes in him, plus he's amazingly, unbelievably, incredibly -- well, available.
Odds: 78-1
Mike MyersAnd even if someone else takes the part before we get to him on the list, I'm sure he could still do a fantastic job as Tevye's wife. Like buttah. Discuss amongst yaselves.
Odds: 100-1
Russell CroweForget the Tony Award, if our boy Russell would take the part, and if he can contain his famous temper, it would be an Oscar for sure -- he gets them just for not beating up the crew. Tevye, only with gravity: "At my signal, unleash hell." Yeah, that works.
Odds: 250-1
Denzel WashingtonYes, it's time.
Odds: 275-1
William ShatnerJust look at the man's qualifications: he has put out a legendary album, given acting lessons to Robert DeNiro, and is also culturally appropriate for the role -- as Adam Sandler has taken pains to inform us in the Channukah Song
Odds: 350-1
Keanu ReevesThe man has all the emotional range needed for the part. He can do anger, sadness, happiness, jealousy, fear... all exactly the same. Plus we could add a new extra scene: the slow motion kick boxing wedding duel. So if we prefer big box office to boxes of Tony awards, Keanu's our dude. And with a little savvy marketing, his performance as Tevye could be cast as the dramatic equivalent of Modern Art's brilliant "blank canvas," so we just might be able to pull it off.
Odds: 500-1
Ashton KutcherHe's, well, ... you didn't think I was serious did you? Gotcha! Punk'd!

Please feel free to contribute to the search in the comments section.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: