Friday, December 9, 2016

Classic "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" Depresses, Inspires in NEW REPERTORY

It doesn’t take a genius to opine that “Hamilton” is the new hotness when it comes to musicals, with how it’s been utterly racking up the rave reviews on and off Broadway, and turned its principal creator and initial lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda into a theater household word, even getting him into soundtrack song duties for the recently-released Disney hit “Moana”. That’s all fine dandy yes, but sometimes one needs to make time to appreciate the more oldie but goodie musicals of the past that have already transcended time to be considered classics. Case in point: “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Originating as part of a series of short stories published in 1894 by Yiddish author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, it was the concerted teamwork of composer Jerry Bock, lyricist Sheldon Harnick and writer Joseph Stein that brought to vibrant life the story of Russian Jews and their life in the late 19 th to early 20 th Centuries at the outset of the Jewish pogroms and forced expulsion from their homes, as seen in the eyes of the simple and tradition-bound milkman Tevye, his wife and their many daughters who strive to either maintain the tenets of their faith in the face of a slowly-changing world, or throw off the restrictions of tradition to fit in with the larger community.

“Fiddler on the Roof” has captivated its audiences with poignant storytelling along with some musical pieces and numbers that have since attained legendary status like the haunting “Sunrise, Sunset”. It’s this perfect crafting that made it a major hit in its time, both in Broadway and the UK West End, enjoying several revivals in both, as well as touring performances in both countries and a 1971 film depicting an actual production of the musical. Small wonder then that “Fiddler” is already earning a new set of accolades ever since the start of its newest production engagement at Watertown’s New Repertory Theater, in the Greater Boston area.

From its initial performance Friday December 2, there can be no doubt that being able to sit down for the New Rep run would be a most rewarding experience not just for theater aficionados but also to newbies for stage plays. Its cast, Jeremiah Kissel as Tivye, Amelia Broome as wife Golde, Abby Goldfarbe as eldest daughter Tzeitel, Sarah Oakes Muirhead and Victoria Britt respectively as her sisters Hodel and Chava, all pull some very amazing performances as their characters that are very respectful of their role predecessors, thanks to a masterful and knowledgeable direction from Austin Pendleton (himself part of the original 1964 Broadway cast) and choreography by Kelli Edwards. Accentuating all stage action is the eponymous fiddler played by Dashiell Evett who watches the happenings unfolding while he plays on.

The New Rep run of “Fiddler on the Roof” is up till January 1, 2017. on-the- roof-new- rep-theatre_79212.html new-rep- that-rich-


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