A number of the most famous Tevya stories have been adapted by Mr. Perl into a highly amusing, warm-hearted play. First, the scene in which Tevya, a poor drayman, happens to do a favor to a rich family. In gratitude they give him money and a milk cow—and Tevya the drayman becomes Tevya the dairyman. Most of the play, however, is concerned with the marrying off of Tevya's two eldest daughters. Each time Tevya and his wife Golde have begun to arrange advantageous matches for the girls and each time their well-meaning plans are foiled by the daughters' falling in love and taking matters into their own hands. Tzeitl, the eldest, has attracted the interest of Lazar Wolf, a prosperous butcher, and Golde is enchanted at the thought that her daughter will have pretty clothes to wear and always enough to eat. But Tzeitl has fallen in love with a poor tailor, and of course, love wins out. Then Hodel falls in love with a poor student; they marry, and on their wedding day Hodel's husband is exiled to Siberia. With her parents' blessing, Hodel goes to join her husband in his exile, and Tevya is left contemplating the future of his remaining five daughters, "fair of form and beautiful to look upon…[The] little ones too young to be problems; but they'll grow into it."
The phenomenally successful musical Fiddler on the Roof was also based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem by special permission of Arnold Perl. "I would advise Jewish communities throughout the country interested in promoting Jewish culture among English-speaking Jews to look into the possibility of producing locally the play TEVYA…" —Jewish Telegraphic Agency.