The original Broadway production opened on September 22, 1964, at the Imperial Theatre, transferred in 1967 to the Majestic Theatre and in 1970 to The Broadway Theatre, and ran for a record-setting total of 3,242 performances. The production was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins – his last original Broadway staging. The set, designed in the style of Marc Chagall's paintings, was by Boris Aronson. A colorful logo for the production, also inspired by Chagall's work, was designed by Tom Morrow.
The cast included Zero Mostel as Tevye the milkman, Maria Karnilova as his wife Golde (each of whom won a Tony for their performances), Beatrice Arthur and later Florence Stanley as Yente the matchmaker, Austin Pendleton as Motel, Bert Convy as Perchik the student revolutionary, Gino Conforti as the fiddler, and Julia Migenes as Hodel. Joanna Merlin originated the role of Tzeitel, which was later assumed by Bette Midler during the original run. Carol Sawyer was Fruma Sarah, Adrienne Barbeau took a turn as Hodel, and Pia Zadora played the youngest daughter, Bielke. Both Peg Murray and Dolores Wilson made extended appearances as Golde, while other stage actors who have played Tevye include Herschel Bernardi (in the original Broadway run), Theodore Bikel and Leonard Nimoy. Mostel's understudy in the original production, Paul Lipson, went on to appear as Tevye in more performances than any other actor, clocking over 2,000 performances in the role in the original run as well as several revivals. The production earned $1,574 for every dollar invested in it.
The original West End production opened on February 16, 1967, at Her Majesty's Theatre and played for 2,030 performances. It starred Chaim Topol, who would also play Tevye in the 1971 film adaptation and the 1990 Broadway revival, and Miriam Karlin as Golde. Alfie Bass, Lex Goudsmit and Barry Martin eventually took over as Tevye. The show was revived in London in for short seasons in 1983 at The Apollo Victoria Theatre and in 1994 at The London Palladium.
The first Broadway revival opened on December 28, 1976, and ran for 176 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre. Zero Mostel starred as Tevye. Robbins directed and choreographed. A second Broadway revival opened on July 9, 1981, and played for a limited run (53 performances) at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater. It starred Herschel Bernardi as Tevye and Karnilova as Golde. Other cast members included Liz Larsen, Fyvush Finkel, Lawrence Leritz and Paul Lipson. Robbins directed and choreographed. The third Broadway revival opened on November 18, 1990, and ran for 241 performances at the George Gershwin Theatre. Topol starred as Tevye, and Marcia Lewis was Golde. Robbins' production was reproduced by Ruth Mitchell and choreographer Sammy Dallas Bayes. The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival.
A fourth Broadway revival opened on February 26, 2004, and ran for 36 previews and 781 performances at the Minskoff Theatre. Alfred Molina, and later Harvey Fierstein, starred as Tevye, and Randy Graff, and later Andrea Martin and Rosie O'Donnell, was Golde. This production replaced Yente's song "The Rumor" with a song for Yente and two other women called "Topsy-Turvy". It was directed by David Leveaux. The production was nominated for six Tonys but did not win any.
Fiddler was first revived in London in 1983 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (a four-month season starring Topol) and again in 1994 at the London Palladium for two months and then on tour, again starring Topol, and directed and choreographed by Sammy Dallas Bayes, recreating the Robbins production.
After a two-month tryout at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, a London revival opened on May 19, 2007, at the Savoy Theatre starring Henry Goodman as Tevye, Beverley Klein as Golde, Alexandra Silber as Hodel, Damian Humbley as Perchik and Victor McGuire as Lazar Wolf. The production was directed by Lindsay Posner. Robbins' choreography was recreated by Sammy Dallas Bayes (who did the same for the 1990 Broadway revival), with additional choreography by Kate Flatt.