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Fiddler on the Roof

August 2, 2019

 

This past Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the opening night of the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof at the Orpheum theater in Minneapolis. It had been years since I had seen the show but I was a fan of the music and story and I was looking forward to visiting Anatevka once again. 

After leaving the show I didn't know how to answer the question, "what did you think?" I liked it but I had complaints that lead me feeling torn about the show. As a couple of days have passed my complaints about the show have dwindled and I am largely left with the memory of the parts of the show that awed me, but I would be dishonest if I said that in the moment of watching the show I felt entirely captured by the story on stage. 

Because I continually felt myself flip flopping on my thought on the show, I decided to create a Pros and Cons list which I will share with you below. Starting with the pros of course, because I do like to be positive.

 

Pros: 

  • The amazing dancing - The amazing choreography by Hofesh Shechter is one of the major highlights of the show. It is high energy and makes the celebration scenes in "To Life" and the Wedding feel entirely present and real. 

  • The Beautiful Love Songs - I truly believe that Fiddler on the Roof has some of the most beautiful songs in the musical theater canon. I enjoy listening to them in a recording but it is always a pleasure to see them live and the cast of this tour of Fiddler on the Roof sung them beautifully. 

  • The Tender Relationships - Fiddler on the Roof is at its core a show about community and family relationship. These relationships are so carefully written and beautifully played out. Although it is a show with many young couples at its heart it is a show about a family. It is not often on stage that you get to see loving relationships between fathers and daughters portrayed. Also the beautiful relationship between Tevye and his wife Golde, who did not meet until the day they got married but 25 years later have a deep and loving relationship. 

  • The Power of Golde - Speaking of Golde, in this latest version of Fiddler on the Roof directed by Bartlett Sher, Golde played by Maite Uzal is a demanding presence on stage and has a sharp tongue. She was a major stand out of the show for me.

 

Cons:

  • Stiff performances - there were times when the performances felt very stiff. It seemed if I could see them thinking about "this is when I move my arm...now I walk across the stage". This felt unnatural and I found myself disengaging from the show during these moments. 

  • Bookending the show. - In this version of Fiddler on the Roof we start and end the show with the actor playing Tevye (Yehezkel Lazarov) coming on stage in modern clothing, indicated by a jacket reading a story out loud before transforming into Tevye. Although I like the idea of this framing of the show. In reality watching it felt very awkward.

In total the pros greatly out weight the cons of the show, and the tour of Fiddler on the Roof is definitely worth seeing. It is going to be playing at the Orpheum Theater until August 4th. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets. 

 

*Photos by Joan Marcus

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