Quote of the Day: “A rousing celebration that raises its cup to joy, love and life, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is a remarkably timeless classic,” said Ordway Producing Artistic Director Rod Kaats. “It offers us a tale about community, faith and resilience – a story we need so much right now. We’re beyond thrilled to welcome our touring company friends with open arms, ready to create new holiday memories at the Ordway.” from the press release from The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN.
Celebrated Israeli theater and film star Yehezkel Lazarov will reprise his role as Tevye. This production is directed by Tony Award®-winner Bartlett Sher (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I”) and choreographed by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter. The tour is produced by NETworks Presentations.
The original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened in 1964 and featured choreography by Jerome Robbins, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won nine Tony Awards® in 1965, including for Best Musical. This acclaimed revival proudly introduces a new generation to the iconic musical adored across the globe.
This touring production of Fiddler on the Roof is absolutely gorgeous. Starting from the top – Yehezkel Lazarov is phenomenal as Tevye, a Jewish father of five strong-willed daughters in Russia in 1905. As he tries to keep traditions of his faith and family, the world is spiraling into darkness. Antisemitism is increasing, threatening to destroy the way of life in their tiny village of Anatevka. Lazarov takes on the role of Tevye with heart and enthusiasm. His delivery of each line, whether a humorous quip towards God, or a tender word towards his daughters, is impeccable. With a nod, or a wink, or a shrug of his shoulders, he conveys so much emotion. And, of course, his voice, whether singing or speaking, is deep and rich and draws you in. What a treat to see him perform.
The entire cast is polished and perfect. Maite Uzal as Golde has all the charm and wit we know and love about this hard-working woman, who eventually admits, “I love you, too.” Their daughters are beautiful, charming, and spirited. Their voices blend so well together, you’d think they were biological sisters. Some of those harmonies, especially during Matchmaker and Sabbath Prayer, sent goosebumps from my head to my toes.
The live orchestra, directed by Jonathan Marro, was flawless. The dancers are strong, athletic, and so expressive. (Tour choreography by Christopher Evans.) We sat mesmerized during the bottle dance, barely breathing. The entire wedding scene was a highlight of the performance. Also, the scene during “Tevye’s Dream” was the most stunning I’ve ever seen. They used Russian puppet style costuming, and one character was up on a tall platform turned costume, towering over the scene in a mystical circus-like dream. Splendid design! (Costume Design by Catherine Zuber, Set Design by Michael Yeargan)
The original creators of this beautiful and heart-wrenching story – Book by Joseph Stein, Music by Jerry Bock, and Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick – created a masterpiece. “I can see why it was so popular,” commented my friend as we walked out of the theater. It has all the elements that entertain and evoke emotion, set to gorgeous music. A somber theme mixed with humor and love. With characters like the matchmaker Yente (Brooke Wetterhahn, who has excellent comedic delivery), and nervous Motel (a charming Daniel Kushner) and a sweet Rabbi (David Scott Curtis) who steps in with wit and wisdom. We laugh, cry, tap our toes, sing along (very softly), and connect to these characters and their story. And, all along the Fiddler (Ali Arian Molaei) wanders through the scenes, evoking memory and storytelling, with a melody that haunts us, reminding us that the world is full of challenges, but we persevere with family, love, and tradition. What a beautiful return to live theater at the Ordway. I’m feeling so grateful.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What are some of your holiday traditions?