I didn’t see it this way at the time, but, in retrospect, Fiddler on the Roof changed my life. My mom used to take my sisters and me to the musicals at Painters Mill Music Fair, or the Mechanic. Because there are so many Jews in Baltimore, some production of Fiddler on the Roof would come through every year. So I saw Herschel Bernardi, Topol, and other people who didn’t become quite as famous. I might have even seen Zero Mostel in it. The aesthetics of Fiddler on the Roof are really powerful. It's not rarified at all, and it’s designed so that anybody could like it. It’s a character-based drama, with characters you care about. It’s funny at the beginning, but then it feels like it’s about something big, grand, and sad. It totally hooks you in, so you’re kind of stuck, and you’re there for the whole ride.
Looking at the work I’ve done, I've been trying to make stories that have the same feelings I got from Fiddler on the Roof at Painters Mill Music Fair. Until I figured out how to do that, I wasn't happy. It just had an enormous impact on me, in making me understand just how good something could be.
By the way, if you haven't heard the recent This American Life episode about the manufacturing of Apple products in China, you can go here and see what all the fuss is about.
And Ira's uncle Philip celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday.