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It's Topol's farewell tour as Tevye

July 21, 2009 | 11:29 am

Topol Topol has been playing Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" off and on for more than 40 years. The actor and musical begin a 2 1/2-week engagement tonight at the Pantages Theatre and then head to the Orange County Performing Arts Center Aug. 11-23.

In an interview with Susan King, Topol recalled an early audition for the role of Tevye -- not for the 1971 film but for the 1966 West End production.

The secretary of producer Harold Prince had suggested that her boss see an “old” actor named Chaim Topol who had starred in the 1964 Israeli film “Shalla Shabati," which was nominated for an Oscar for foreign film and had been playing a long time in New York.

But when Topol arrived at the Drury Lane Theatre in London to audition for Tevye, everyone was in a state of shock, the actor recalled. 

“A William Morris agent said, ‘Here is Mr. Topol.' " he said. "The whole gang of auditoners looked through me looking for Topol and I was standing there, 30 years old. I had done my service in the Israeli army. I was suntanned and had a short haircut. I said, ‘Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s me.' ”

As he continues what he says will be his final tour as the old milkman, Topol, 73, no longer needs aging makeup.

Read Susan King's Calendar article here.

-- Sherry Stern

Photo credit: Dan Wooller/wooller.com

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