(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/10; via Pam Green.)

It has been a long journey from “Tradition” to “Tradición.”

A half-century ago, “Fiddler on the Roof” barreled onto Broadway with a now-famous opening song, “Tradition,” that helped theatergoing audiences relate to a story of particular significance to Jewish Americans.

This fall a new musical, “On Your Feet!,” arrives on Broadway with a parallel first act number, “Tradición,” that seeks to universalize the hardships and hopes of Latin American immigrants.

In the intervening years, America has become steadily more multiethnic, while Broadway, generally lagging behind both film and television, has followed suit in fits and starts. But the theatrical season now getting underway is noteworthy not just for the diversity of its casts — a dramatic change from the largely monochromatic season just ended — but also for the ambitious, and risky, effort by producers and writers to make big commercial musicals out of uncomfortable chapters of history.


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