Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Album: Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

Songfacts®:

  • In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, lead character Tevye is a strict Jewish man who expects his family to follow the cultural and religious traditions of their faith, including using a matchmaker to arrange marriages. In "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," his daughters are mocking this tradition as the eldest, Tzeitel, wants to marry her childhood friend rather than the wealthy widower the matchmaker has chosen for her.

    Written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, it's an important number in the musical as outside influences continue to shake up the traditional life Tevye and the rest of the villagers have built within their community, and even their own children are being swayed by modern ideas.
  • Robin Williams sang part of this with co-stars Harvey Fierstein, and Scott Capurro during his transformation into Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). It was also featured in the 1999 comedy Election, starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.
  • The original 1964 production cast a singer (Julia Migenes), a dancer (Tanya Everett), and an actress (Joanna Merlin) in the roles of Tevye's daughters (Hodel, Chava, and Tzeitel, respectively). Harnick and Bock wrote a song that proved to be too difficult for the actress and dancer, so they came up with a simpler number: "Matchmaker, Matchmaker."
  • Bette Midler, who replaced Merlin in the role of Tzeitel, performed this at the 1968 Tony Awards with Tanya Everett as Chava and Mimi Turque as Hodel.
  • This borrows its music from a song called "We've Never Missed A Sabbath Yet," which was originally written as the intro number but was cut in favor of "Tradition." Harnick said of collaborator Bock: "He was very economical. He never wasted anything. He changed that being into the theme for 'Matchmaker.'"

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