Bishop Hendricken's spring musical is "Fiddler on the Roof." The show takes place in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and is about the milkman, Tevye, his wife, Golde and their five daughters. He attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love. Each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts Jews from the village. The original Broadway show opened in 1964, was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine including Best musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It remains Broadway's sixteenth longest running show in history and was made into a very successful 1971 film adaptation. Director Richie Sylvia gives the show the necessary energy and mixes the comic and dramatic moments together beautifully. He also provides the musical direction to bring out the vocal quality of his 44 member cast while choreographer David Weeks creates some splendid dances to entertain the audience. The talent of this cast wins them a thunderous standing ovation at the close of the show.
From the comic "If I Were A Rich Man" and the Dream sequence to the touching "Sabbath Prayer", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka", Richie knows how to mix the comedy and the pathos to make you laugh heartily and tug on your heartstrings. He also taught the cast the beautiful harmonies especially in "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka." David's dance numbers are magnificent especially "Tradition", "Matchmaker", the Dream, "The Wedding dance" and "To Life" dance. Leading this huge cast is Michael Villanueva as Tevye. He brings the comic timing as well as the warmth it needs, too. His relationship with his wife and daughters are topnotch in both the comic and dramatic moments. Mike's vocal prowess shines in the delivery of his songs. His rendition of "If I Were a Rich Man" stops the show. His "Tradition" and his duets with Golde including "Sabbath Prayer", "The Dream", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Do I Love You?" are topnotch, too. The poignant moments are during Hodel's solo and with Chava in "Little Bird" will bring tears to your eyes like they did to mine while the comic "To Life" and "The Dream" will have you rolling in the aisles.
Jacklyn Wilson as Golde, has a lot of chemistry with Mike. Tevye and Golde's adversarial relationship comes across and her admittance of love becomes more touching because of it. Jacklyn displays her voice in her duets with Mike. One of her funniest lines is when she yells at Tevye for wanting to look at Motel's new sewing machine, saying she will faint later. She displays Golde's dramatic side when she discovers Tevye has disowned Chava after marrying outside her faith. The performers playing the younger couples act and sing beautifully, too. Alisha Ciunci as Tzeitel and Peter Mancuso as Motel shine in their roles as eldest daughter and her true love. Her strong singing voice comes through in "Matchmaker" and her interactions with her sisters are wonderful. Peter is hilarious as the timid Motel who finally stands up for himself in his solo "Miracle of Miracles" displaying his strong baritone voice. Michaela Vieira as Hodel and Kevin Madoian as Perchik do an awesome job with their roles. Michaela's soprano voice sounds gorgeous in "Matchmaker" and in her solo "Far From the Home I Love" one of the prettiest songs in the show. Kevin's tenor voice soars in "Now I Have Everything" one of the most difficult songs in the show. They display their dancing skills in the wedding scene. Sophie Gregory as Chava and Jordan Carvalhal as Fyedka are wonderful in their roles. Joseph Burdick displays his tenor voice in "To Life" Russian section and his dancing skills in the Russian dance. Sophie sings with Alisha and Michaela in "Matchmaker" and gets to tug at your heartstrings in "Little Bird" where Molly Murphy does a brilliant ballet and also delivers the pathos in the confrontation scene with Tevye.
Two comic performers in this show are Julianna Fielding as Fruma Sarah and Delia Sosa as Grandma Tzeitel. They are a hoot in the Dream scene where they convince Golde to let Tzeitel marry Motel. Mike and the two of them are rewarded with much laughter during this scene. Another comic performer is Marcella Mazzenga as Yente, the matchmaker. She has many one liners and funny speeches. Her stooped over posture as this older character is fabulous. She leads the comic "Rumor" song in Act 2. Joseph Iannucelli plays Lazar Wolf who Yente matches with Tzeitel. He and Mike sing "To Life". Dylan Sylveira plays the elderly Rabbi while Stephen Lee plays Mendel, his son. Giancarlo Gentili plays the villain of the show, the Constable who throws Tevye and his family out of Anatevka. So for a topnotch version of this well known show, be sure to catch "Fiddler on the Roof" at Hendricken before time runs out. You will definitely cry buckets of tears at their emotion packed rendition.