Mary Martin
Theodore Bikel and Tevye, the perfect match
Theodore Bikel and Tevye, the perfect match

Sweeping statements are risky, but one can be made confidently about Theodore Bikel: No living actor's connection to a fictional character has been more lasting or deeply personal than his lifelong walk with Tevye the Dairyman. Bikel is 89. Three years ago, he bade an unceremonious and unsentimental farewell to the mainly lighthearted Tevye who drives "Fiddler on the Roof" — a part he played more than 2,100 times over 42 years. But leaving behind the musical was not the same as saying adieu to Tevye. "Tevye light" is how Bikel summarizes the leading figure of "Fiddler." He now is occupied with full-strength Tevye, the tragicomical character developed in the series of increasingly...