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Starsky and Hutch icon to star in Fiddler on the Roof

By Kathryn Tye
Paul Michael Glaser as Tevye
Paul Michael Glaser as Tevye

Fans of Starsky and Hutch may not recognise Paul Michael Glaser in his latest role in Fiddler on the Roof. He chatted to Kathryn Tye about his new venture.

Donning a threadbare suit and cap, his beard grown long and grey, Paul Michael Glaser’s latest role as the star of Fiddler on the Roof is anything but glamorous.

It couldn’t be further from the part the American actor is best known for – suave detective David Starsky in the iconic 1970s TV series Starsky And Hutch.

David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky and Hutch
David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky and Hutch

Yet it is in fact a complete full circle, as Paul made his movie debut in the 1971 film version of the musical, starring as revolutionary student Perchik, who falls in love with one of the daughters of lead character Tevye, played by Topol.

Paul, 70, said: “They asked if I would be interested in taking on the role, and I said absolutely! I very much like the story, which has a very universal theme. Tevye is an Everyman trying to deal with the changing times. It speaks to everybody’s journey through life trying to deal with change and loss with some humour and pathos.”

Paul Michael Glaser
Paul Michael Glaser

Written in 1964, the musical is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, and follows the trials of Jewish milkman Tevye, the father of five daughters who are eager to marry for love rather than adhere to the traditional practice of match making.

It features well-known songs including If I Were a Rich Man, Matchmaker Matchmaker, Sunrise Sunset and To Life, the majority of which are sung by the lead character.

Paul said: “Tevye is fascinating, one of the better characters in musical theatre. And I get to sing some wonderful songs.”

This production, directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, is on an 18-date tour of the UK, arriving at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre this week.

It is not Paul’s first time in the county, as he played Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre a couple of years ago.

He said: “I love live performance, particularly panto, as you get to have fun interacting with the audience, and I loved that show.

“But I didn’t get to see Kent as we had such a hectic schedule, so I’m looking forward to doing that this time.

“I’m very excited and very happy to be doing the show – it’s another adventure in my life.”

The cast of Fiddler on the Roof
The cast of Fiddler on the Roof

But Paul admits that whatever new project he undertakes, he will always be best known for his role in Starsky and Hutch, alongside David Soul, aka detective Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson.

“And I absolutely have fond memories of making the show. David and I still speak regularly, and I would have to say it was the relationship between us, how well we related to each other and cared about each other, that made people love it so much.”

He said: “It’s not something I look forward to talking about but I try to be as accommodating as possible. It is a bit of ancient history to me, as it was such a long time ago, but I recognise that the celebrity that came from that show has to do with an awful lot of things I have been able to do since then."

The Gran Torino
The Gran Torino

Since those manic days, however, when Paul was mobbed by screaming fans wherever he went, his world has become much more civilised.

Currently living alone in Southern California, he said: “When I’m not working I play golf, I go flyfishing, I walk my dog, I love to paint. But I haven’t got any plans to retire. I’m going to go until I drop. It’s the only time you go around – you might as well make it a good trip.”

Fiddler On The Roof is at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre from Tuesday, November 5 to Saturday, November 9. Tickets from £15. Call 01227 787787.

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