Theodore Bikel, the famed folk singer, social activist, stage actor, died of natural causes on Tuesday, July 21 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 91. Mark Kennedy of AP provides details of his life which began in Vienna, Austria, took him to Palestine and Tel Aviv and finally to the United States.
On Friday, Broadway will dim its lights to honor Bikel, the man of the stage. He is, of course, the actor who created the role of Captain Georg van Trapp on Broadway for Sound of Music and who so embraced the role of Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof that he performed it over 2,000 times.
In 2007, talking with Joel Markowitz for DC Theatre Scene, Mr. Bikel remembers one particular performance of Fiddler.
It’s a show-must-go-on moment that you simply must hear. It was in Massachusetts, in a tent, during a driving rain storm, the orchestra pit flooded and the musicians abandoned their instruments, yet the audience stayed …
Mr. Bikel favored Theater J with several appearances. It was his 2005 performance as Reb Moses ben Nachman in Hyam Maccoby’s The Disputation, which inspired me to join this website. He returned in Shylock, during the 2007 Shakespeare in Washington Festival, and again in 2009 for Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears.
Here, he speaks again with Joel Markowitz about those performances.
In an interview with Dan Epstein last year, Mr. Bikel reflected on his life, remembering his family’s narrow escape from the Holocaust and his amazement of now being a newly wed (to his fourth wife Aimee).
He was here in Washington for a celebration of his 90th birthday, a fundraiser for Moment Magazine at Washington Hebrew Congregation which drew 250 guests, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We thought you would enjoy this birthday tribute which was shared with the guests that evening.