Michael Bourne Interviews Theodore Bikel
November 18, 2009. Posted by Michael Bourne.
A Jewish boy looked out the window of his family's home. He saw a parade of Nazis rolling into his city. And there in an open car was Hitler. Theodore Bikel was that boy in Vienna.
Theodore Bikel is an actor I've always enjoyed in the movies -- The African Queen, The Defiant Ones, The Enemy Below, The Russians Are Coming, Zappa's 200 Motels, and more than 150 other movies and TV shows. He's best remembered on Broadway for playing the Captain in the 1959 Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music. He's also played more than 2000 performances as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, the musical adapted from the stories of Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem. Theo is starring now in Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears, a play Theo adapted from Aleichem's writings, presented by the National Yiddish Theater at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in Manhattan through December 13th. He plays the author himself and also Aleichem's characters, including Tevye. He also gets to sing, something he's been doing wonderfully around the world for decades.
Theo at 85 is delightfully ageless. When he came to WBGO recently, we talked about the new show, about Yiddish, about acting, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, working with Frank Zappa, and much more.
© 2009 WBGO
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