Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Tevye, a respected man in the small village of Anatevka, explains the role of God's Law in providing balance and meaning in the Villagers' lives. Tevye and his fellow Anatevkans extol the virtues of their Jewish heritage ("Tradition"). Tevye's family then prepares for the Sabbath while Yente, the matchmaker, brings the news that she has found in Lazar Wolf, the butcher, a match for Tzeitel, Tevye's eldest daughter. Motel, the tailor, visits briefly before 
being sent away by Tevye's wife, Golde. Tevye's youngest daughters, Shprintze 
and Bielke, go outside to play while older daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chave, wonder if the matchmaker will find them the men of their dreams ("Matchmaker").

Tevye reflects on how he wishes he 
had a small fortune ("If I Were a Rich Man"). He then meets a stranger, Perchik,
who brings news of trouble in the world beyond Anatevka. Tevye invites the young revolutionary student to his home for Sabbath dinner in exchange for lessons for his daughters. Before Sabbath begins, Motel attempts to ask for Tzeitel's hand, but gets tongue-tied. The family and their Guests welcome the Sabbath ("Sabbath Prayer").

The next evening, Tevye goes to meet Lazar Wolf and agrees to the match with Tzeitel. A boisterous celebration ensues ("To Life"). As Tevye walks home, he meets the Constable, who warns him that a demonstration is planned against the Jews of Anatevka.

The next day, Perchik and Hodel discuss news of the changing world and begin 
to develop a fondness for one another. Meanwhile, Tevye tells Tzeitel about her engagement to Lazar Wolf as Golde rejoices. Motel reveals to Tevye that he and Tzeitel gave each other a pledge to marry. After a struggle with himself, Tevye agrees to their marriage. The Villagers gossip in the street about the mix-up in Tzeitel s marriage plans. As Chava enters Motel's tailor shop, a group of young Russian Soldiers taunt her. Fyedk, one of the young soldiers, stops them. Fyedka follows Chava into the shop, and they strike up a friendship. At the shop, Motel enters and puts on his wedding hat.

The village gathers for Motel and Tzeitel's wedding, and the traditional Jewish ceremony takes place ("Sunrise, Sunset"). After the ceremony, Motel treads on his wedding glass, and a celebration ensues ("Wedding Dance"). The Constable and his men enter and break up the party with a decisive show of force. Afterwards, Tevye chats with God about these recent events.

Perchik proposes to Hodel, and she accepts, but he must leave for Kiev. He promises to send for her as soon as he can. Tevye approves despite his misgivings. Tevye then asks Golde if their own arranged marriage has somehow turned to love ("Do You Love Me?") Tevye takes Hodel to the train station. She is going to Siberia, where Perchik has been sent after his arrest ("Far from the Home I Love").

Fyedka and Chava have decided to marry. Chava tries to speak to Tevye about the situation, but he refuses to listen to her and forbids her to ever speak of Fyedka again. Tevye returns home to learn from Golde that Chava and Fyedka have been married by the Priest. Tevye ignores Chava's plea for acceptance and turns her away.

The Constable brings the news that all the Jews of Anatevka must sell their homes and leave in three days' time. As Tevye's family packs their wagon to leave, the other Villagers reflect on their lives in "Anatevka." Tzeitel and Motel are staying in Warsaw until they have enough money to
 go to America. Hodel and Perchik are still
 in Siberia. Chava appears with Fyedka, but Tevye still refuses to acknowledge her. Chava explains that they are leaving because they cannot stay among people who can do such things to others. As they leave, Tzeitel says goodbye to them, with Tevye prompting her to add, "God be with you!" Chava and Fyedka leave as Tevye begins to pull the wagon. Other Villagers join the circle, including the Fiddler, whom Tevye beckons to follow. The Fiddler tucks his fiddle under his arm and follows the group as they all begin their journey.