Fiddler On The Roof Review

Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 7:00 am By: James Cotter Source: Times Herald Record

ELMSFORD "Fiddler on the Roof" opened on Broadway in 1964 and won nine Tony Awards. With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, the story of Tevye, a dairyman in a Russian village in 1905, has captured musical lovers with songs such as "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Tradition."

The revival at Westchester Broadway Theatre, directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford, has plenty of appeal with an all-star cast of 25 that acts, sings and dances with color, energy and grace.

Tevye is played by Bill Nolte as a force of nature. His exuberant personality, his devotion to family and community, and his faith in God come across as genuinely from the heart. He has a rich voice that does full justice to his solos and ensemble numbers. His wife, Golde, is portrayed by Emily Zacharias as a solid support for her struggling husband and for her children. Their duet, "Do You Love Me?," offers a delightful insight into changing social attitudes toward marriage.

The three marriageable daughters among Tevye's five girls are Rachel Prather as Tzeitel, Sarah Rolleston as Hodel and Dana Glaus as Chava. They sing a catchy "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" to introduce the theme that governs the plot.

The girls' suitors are Andrew Boza as Motel the tailor, Eric Johnson as Lazar Wolfe the butcher, Joe Longthorne as Perchik the student revolutionary, and Chris Giordano as Fyedka the Russian Cossack. As the first pair to marry, Tzeitel and Motel set the stage for the wonderful wedding scene with the beautiful ballad "Sunrise, Sunset" led by their parents celebrating the union. Boza as Motel sings "Miracle of Miracles" with joy and newfound confidence.

Longthorne as Perchick plays a key role as a man of the future and he shares a lovely duet with Rolleston in "Now I Have Everything." She later sings a tender solo, "Far From the Home I Love," as she leaves for Siberia to join him. Glaus and Giordano are perfectly cast as the final couple, Jew and Gentile, to test Tevye's "Tradition." Johnson as the rejected older suitor joins Tevye and company in the spirit "To Life."

Terry Palasz is the busybody Matchmaker, Yente whose business is rapidly going out of fashion. She has an assertive, engaging presence, leading the townspeople in a comical "Rumor" as an example of how misinformation spreads like wildfire.

Stephen Tewksbury plays the Constable, who befriends Tevye but does nothing to prevent the pogrom that will finally send the Jews into exile. Several company sequences, "Sabbath Prayer," "The Dream" and "Bottle Dance," are imaginatively visualized and staged.

The seven-piece orchestra, directed by Leo P. Carusone at the keyboards, plays the tuneful score with skill and sonority. Finally, Andrew Mayer is the ever-present Fiddler who perched on a roof or scampering across stage accompanies Tevye's thoughts and the people's village life. John Farrell's surreal set suggests the village with floating rooftops and blue and scarlet skies created by Andrew Gmoser's lighting design.