Michael C. Bernardi makes his Broadway debut as Mordcha the innkeeper and understudying Tevye in Bart Sher's Tony-nominated revival of Fiddler on the Roof. The musical is especially meaningful for Bernadi because his father, Herschel Bernardi, was a longtime Tevye in the original production and 1981 revival.
Below, BroadwayBox talks with Michael about all things Fiddler, the best bagels in NYC, and growing up in the spotlight.
1. Moment in Fiddler that moves me most:
During the final circle as we leave Anatevka, the Fiddler plays the final notes and Tevye gestures for him to join. It always reminds me that despite loss, culture survives.
2. The most memorable day of rehearsals for Fiddler:
The first time we entered the Broadway Theatre. I stepped on the stage and quickly found myself outstretched on the boards. Felt like a homecoming after a very long and arduous journey. It actually didn't "feel" like that, it literally was that.
3. Hashtag to describe my first time on as Tevye:
4. My first memory of Fiddler on the Roof in my life:
Would have to be seeing a portrait of my father dressed as Tevye painted by a family friend that was hung in my home growing up. It now hangs in my apartment. He's alone on stage with a faint smile and his shadow, glowing in stage light is behind him.
5. Three things I have to have backstage are:
Coffee, my coloring book, and a copy of The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell.
6. The Fiddler moment I most associate with my dad:
Every time I hear the part in "Rich Man", "That would be the sweetest thing of all" I get happy. There's several videos of him singing that song and when he gets to that part it just feels like he was in pure bliss and that's how I always want to think of him.
7. The best and worst part of being a child performer:
The best part was hanging with the grown ups; the worst part was feeling a little alienated from the kids, but I wouldn't change it.
8. The TV show I can’t get enough of right now:
The Americans on FX is pure genius.
9. My favorite thing to do after a show:
Is going to the Russian Vodka Room with Al Silber (Tzeitel), Ben Rappaport (Perchik), Meghan Kane (Ben's incredibly talented fiance) and Marla Phelan (our brilliant Dance Cap) for a quick Polish Bull cocktail with some latkes and gravlox.
10. I have been known to totally geek out over:
Election politics, making ridiculous Instagram videos and finding the best bagel & lox in town. (Russ & Daughters btw).
See Michael C. Bernardi in the Tony-nominated revival of 'Fiddler on the Roof' at the Broadway Theatre.