Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Fiddler on The Roof"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2008 by Tony Annicone

"Fiddler on The Roof"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The last show of the Players 99th season is "Fiddler on the Roof". Director Alma Fontana breathes new life into this version of the show by playing up the comic elements to the overwhelming tragic ones giving the show the needed energy and power to display how a successful musical should be done. The show takes place in 1905 and is about the milkman, Tevye, his wife Golde and their five daughters. The expert musical direction is by Ron Procopio who brings out the best vocal quality of the cast while choreographer Diana Luchka Ricci creates some splendid dance numbers to entertain the audience. The multitalented performers shine in their roles, making this one of the better productions of this well known show.

From the comic Dream sequence to the touching "Sabbath Prayer", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka", Alma knows how to tug on your heartstrings. Ron not only musically directed the show but plays the keyboards with his son, Buddy on percussion. Ron obtains some splendid harmonies in the songs The Fiddler is expertly played by Sandra Martineau whose violin soars throughout the show. Diana's dance numbers are splendid especially the bottle dance, the Russian dance and "Matchmaker". Leading the cast is Dennis Bouchard as Tevye. He brings perfect comic timing to this role as well as the warmth it needs, too. His relationship with his wife and daughters are excellent with the comic and dramatic moments. Dennis' vocal prowess shines through in his strong delivery of his songs. His rendition of "If I Were a Rich Man" stops the show and his "Tradition", duets with Golde including "Sabbath Prayer", "The Dream", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Do You Love Me?" are wonderful, too. The poignant moments with Hodel in her solo and Chava in "Little Bird" will bring tears to your eyes while the comic "To Life" and "The Dream" will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Elizabeth Messier as Golde, has a lot of chemistry with Dennis. Their adversarial relationship comes across and her admittance of love after 25 years becomes more poignant because of it. She gets to show off her voice in the duets with Dennis while one of her funniest lines is that he frightens her so much that she'll faint when she gets home. Liz shows off her dramatic side when she finds Chava has been disowned by Tevye for marrying outside the faith. The young couples act and sing beautifully. Krista Weller Burns as Tzeitel and Jonathan Garven as Motel shine in their roles as the eldest daughter and her true love. Her acting prowess and strong voice comes through all night long as does Jonathan's. His rendition of "Miracle of Miracle's is fabulous. Hannah Spacone as Hodel and Dan Tracy as Perchik do an awesome job in their roles. Hannah's voice sors in "Matchmaker" and especially in her solo "Far From The Home I Love" one of the prettiest songs in the show. Dan's tenor voice sounds gorgeous in "Now I Have Everything" one of the most difficult vocal numbers in the show. Kelcy Dolan as Chava and Eli Sullivan as Fyedka are wonderful in their roles. He gets to show off during the Russian dance while Kelcy sings with Krista and Hannah during "Matchmaker" and gets to tug at your heartstrings in the "Little Bird" and confrontation scene with Dennis.

Two of the biggest scene stealers in this show are Roberta Anderson as Grandma Tzeital and Joan Dillenback as Fruma Sarah. They perform in the Dream scene to convince Golde to let Motel marry Tzeital. Another scene stealer is Angie Margiotta as Yente who constantly meddles in the villagers lives. Her one liners and long speeches are very comical. Stephen Kay plays the butcher, Lazar Wolf who Yente matches up with Tzeital. Ted Gavriluk plays the elderly Rabbi while Sam Hood plays his son, Mendel. Ron Mutton as the Constable, plays the villain of the show beautifully. (Boo, hiss) Rounding out the talented cast is Sandy Remington as the Innkeeper, Ryan Hanley as Avram the Bookseller, Richard Nardella as Nacham, the beggar, Bonnie DerManelian as Shaindel, Motel's mother and villagers, Eva-Marie Coffey, J. Bradford Kleyla, Roberta Remington and Patrick Saunders. The youngest daughter in the show are played by Sarah Pothier and Brooke Friday who played Annie last season. Kudos to the cast and crew who make this a show to be very proud of. To become a member of this theatre club for their 100th season, give hard working stage manager, Lydia Matteson a call. Special praise to lighting designer, Ruth Fagan and set designer, Dan Clement and the multitude of costumes by Sue Bergeron.

"Fiddler on The Roof" ( 30 May - 8 June)
THE PLAYERS
Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, Providence, RI
1 (401) 273-0590

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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