The CUE Reviews "Fiddler On The Roof" at Westchester Broadway Theatre

The CUE Review

Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 7:00 am By: DAVID PENTZ Source: CUE

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 FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is based on the short stories by Sholem Aleichem, with its main character of Tevye, the Milkman running through most of his stories.  It ran on Broadway from 1964 to 1972 accumulating over 3000 performances and winning 9 Tony awards. The show starred Zero Mostel as Tevye who had just come off the 1962 smash hit, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. FIDDLER was Jerome Robbins’ last musical theatre directorial effort on Broadway – after FIDDLER he returned to the Ballet world from which he began his career.

 FIDDLER is considered by many as one of the best musicals to grace Broadway, in the same league as WEST SIDE STORY and GYPSY and the production at the Westchester Broadway Theatre only enhances its reputation as a great musical. Their production is splendid and the entire cast is marvelous!

 The story of Tevye and his daughters takes place in 1905 pre-revolutionaryRussiain the small town ofAnatevka– where “tradition” is life’s cornerstone.  It is where everyone knows his place in this small Jewish community. It starts with Tevye explaining each group’s responsibility and place in society – either it be the daughters, the papas, the mamas, the sons and all the other members of the town. Tevye is performed and sung beautifully by Bill Nolte, who explains to us and God the trials and tribulations of his hard life and the ever-changing traditions put forth by his own family. Changing in front of his own eyes is his daughters, taking on their own lives’ responsibilities and decisions on who they will love and marry. It’s how he deals with these changes and how he deals with his wife Golde (a wonderful and consistent performance by Emily Zacharias) that makes this musical so wonderful.  It is the intelligence of the book and music that makes this journey with Tevye so wonderful and the universality of a family, regardless of religion and nationality, that will always engulf the audience with its warmth and humanity.

 The production at the WBT is sparse but simple with its rooftop cut-out silhouettes accommodated with set pieces that result in a very elegant stage picture, all designed by John Farrell. Beautifully lit by Andrew Gmoser and costumed by Michael Bottari and Ronald Case. All the daughters, performed respectfully by Dana Glaus as Chava; Rachel Prather as Tzeitel; Sarah Rolleston as Hodel and the two younger daughters Bielke and Shprintze played by four local girls – Gianna Florio, Julia Grace, Samantha Robins and Shannon Stout – all achieve great performances accommodated by beautiful voices.  One of the stand-outs on an otherwise equally talented cast is Andrew Boza who achieves a spot-on Motel, the schleppy tailor of the town and who’s affections for Tevye’s daughter Tzeitel, creates great comic moments