By Mary Boyle
Even if you've never seen a production of Fiddler on the Roof, it's highly likely that you've heard the music: "Tradition," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and, of course, the quintessential "If I Were A Rich Man." Opening on Broadway in 1964, Fiddler was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won 9 of them, including one for Best Musical. It was the first musical to surpass 3,000 performances, held the title of Longest Running Broadway Musical for nearly a decade, has seen numerous revivals, and is often seen on high school and community theatre stages. Clearly there's a reason this production has become a Broadway classic, and now you can see why for yourself, as the Broadway at the Marcus Center series presents Fiddler on the Roof through February 17th.
Based on the turn-of-the-twentieth-century stories of the Jewish settlements in Imperial Russia by Sholom Aleichem, Fiddler is the tale of Tevye (Yehezkel Lazarov), a poor dairyman struggling to keep his wife, Golde (Maite Uzal), and his five daughters fed, clothed, and raised according to their tradition. Their life, Tevye says, is "as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof." Tevye's oldest daughter, Tzeitel (Mel Weyn), is ready to wed and, according to tradition, she must accept whoever the Matchmaker Yente (Carol Beaugard), chooses for her, but the matchmaker is not known for her good choices. In her mind, "A bad husband, God forbid, is worse than no husband, God forbid." Torn between his faith and what his daughters truly want, Tevya seems to be pushed further and further from the tradition that binds their community together, while the community, itself, is being pushed by the Russians.
With book by the Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and choreography inspired by the original Broadway Director and Choreographer, Jerome Robbins, this 2015 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Bartlett Sher and choreographed by Hofesh Shechter, is steeped in a tradition of its own. The cast is unbelievably talented, led by Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye, who delivers a brilliant performance. Though the music of Fiddler is familiar to most, the dancing in the production is equally impressive and inspiring. From set design to costumes and orchestra to cast, this production has that "larger than life" feel to it that a true Broadway production should have. If seeing a "real" Broadway show is on your bucket list, don't miss this one.
Fiddler on the Roof runs through Sunday, February 17th at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Uihlein Hall, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased by calling 414.273.7206 or online at: https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/fiddler-on-roof
The 2018/19 Broadway at the Marcus Center series has more great shows coming up this season! Join them for Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Come From Away, and Anastasia. The 2019/20 Broadway at the Marcus Center series has just been announced, and includes Hamilton, My Fair Lady, The Lion King, and Dear Evan Hansen!