Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Fiddler on The Roof"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"Fidler on The Roof"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Star Players of Bristol's summer show is "Fiddler on the Roof". Directors Joel Thayer and Karl Pellitier breathe new life into this show by mixing the comic and tragic elements together giving it the needed energy and power to show how a successful musical should be done. The show takes place in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and is about the milkman Tevye, his wife, Golde and their five daughters, his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. The original Broadway show opened in 1964 and was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It remains Broadway's fourteenth longest running show in history. The expert musical direction is by Eli Bigelow and Nancy Norton who bring out the best vocal quality of this huge cast while choreographer Pam Sheiber creates some splendid dance numbers to entertain the audience. The talented performers shine in their roles, making this one of the better productions of this well known show, winning them a standing ovation at the close of the show.

From the comic "If I Were a Rich Man" and Dream sequence to the touching "Sabbath Prayer", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Antevka, Joel and Karl know how to mix the comedy and pathos to make you laugh out loud one moments and tug at your heartstrings the next. They not only direct the show wonderfully but block it beautifully and create many picture postcard moments. Eli conducts a splendid 5 piece orchestra. He and Nancy taught the cast some gorgeous harmonies that soar in their execution of them especially "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka". Eli always does a splendid job and this show is no exception. Joel and Karl cast Kathryn DePaola as the Fiddler. Pam Sheiber's dance numbers are splendid especially "Tradition", "Matchmaker", the wedding dance, the exquisite bottle dance and the "To Life" dance. Leading this huge cast is Jim Quinn as Tevye. He brings wonderful comic timing to this role as well as the warmth it needs, too. Jim's relationship with his wife and daughters are excellent comically and dramatically.His vocal prowess shines through in his strong 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 You Love Me?" are topnotch, too. The poignant moments are with Hodel in her solo and with Chava in "Little Bird". They will bring tears to your eyes while his antics in "To Life" and "The Dream" will leave you rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Pam Sheiber as Golde, has a lot of chemistry with Jim and shines in this role with her strong acting prowess. Pam does double duty as Golde and the choreographer. Tevye and Golde's adversarial relationship comes across and her admittance of love after 25 years becomes more touching because of it. Pam displays her voice with Jim in their duets. One of her funniest moments come when she yells at Tevye after his drunken spree. Pam shows the dramatic side of Golde when she finds out Tevye has disowned Chava for marrying outside their faith, this scene rips out your heart.. It is even more touching because Julia who plays Chava is Pam's real life daughter. The young couples act and sing beautifully, too. Katie Beckvold as Tzeitel and Josh Wise as Motel are topnotch in their roles as the eldest daughter and her true love. Her strong singing voice comes through in "Matchmaker" and the chorus numbers. Katie's interactions with her sisters are wonderful, too. Josh is hilarious as the timid Motel who finally stands up for himself in his solo "Miracle of Miracles" displaying his baritone voice. Allyson Duarte as Hodel and Zack Gregus as Perchik shine in their roles. Allyson's soprano voice sounds gorgeous in "Matchmaker" and especially in her solo "Far From the Home I Love" one of the prettiest songs in the show. Zack's tenor voice soars in "Now I Have Everything" one of the most difficult songs in the show. They both show off their dancing ability in the wedding scene. Julia Shapiro as Chava and James Sawyer as Fyedka are terrific in their roles. She displays her voice with Katie and Allyson in "Matchmaker" and gets to tug at your heartstrings in "Little Bird" and the confrontation scene with Jim while he shows off his acting skills and vocal ability in "To Life".

Two funny performers in this show are Katia Greene as Fruma Sarah and Sarah Elizabeth Reed as Grandma Tzeitel. They perform in the "Dream" number where they convince Golde to let Motel marry Tzeitel. They are rewarded with much laughter. Flying by Foy flies Fruma Sarah across the stage in this song which is stunning to behold. Another comic performer is Lisa Troy as Yente, the matchmaker. Her one liners and speeches are very funny. She leads the comic song "The Rumor" in Act 2. Ed Valadao plays Lazar Wolf who Yente matches up with Tzeitel. He sings "To Life" duet with Tevye showing off his strong baritone voice. Ed is very comical as the town curmudgeon. Omer Courcy plays the elderly Rabbi while Danny Griffen plays his son, Mendell. Matt Greene as Constable plays the villain of the show. So for superb version of this classic tale, be sure to catch "Fiddler on the Roof" by Star Players.

"Fiddler on The Roof" (17 - 26 August)
@ Croteau Theatre, 500 Norton Avenue, TAUNTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide