Fiddler On The Roof ...You'll Hug This Show!

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:00 am By: Eugene Paul Source: TheaterScene.net

The Company performs “To Life” in a scene from Fiddler on the Roof
(Photo credit: John Vecchiolla)

Director Richard Stafford brings to his very large cast their brightest gift for us: sincerity. They mean every word they say, every note they sing, every dance they dance, giving 110 percent all the time and that is what turns beer into champagne. What could have been just another revival of a show beloved by everyone turns into a renewal of pleasures unexpected, memories brought alive. As much as director Stafford’s firm adherence and reliance on the original Jerome Robbins choreography and direction, Stafford lends an enchanting touch in his mystic deployment of the antic Fiddler in the show who we first discover in the very beginning, sitting on a roof, playing his violin. We meet him again and again. He’s delightful, mysterious, a bit scary, a bit enchanting, a bit sad. Andrew Mayer is a charmer as the Fiddler, symbol of survival in an uncertain world. He’s the impossibility Tevye sees. Bill Nolte as Tevye is the best singer I’ve ever heard in the role, either here or in Europe, and he gives a full, rounded, warm performance that carries this production.

There are so many delights. The lighting of the Sabbath candles brings a lump to your throat. The nightmare scene, usually a bumbly mess, turns into a frolic. The bottle dancers, Jeremy Bensussan, Jason Moody, Lucas Thompson, Paul Sabala keep you on tenterhooks. I applaud Rachel Prather, Sarah Rolleston and especially Dana Glaus as the marriageable daughters, Andrew Boza as Motel the tailor, Drew Martin, as the fence sitter Rabbi, and so many others. The musicality of Bock’s and Harnick’s prize-winning score by the entire company is splendid, under Leo P. Carusone’s direction. And Michael Bottari and Ronald Case have dressed this lovely cast most appropriately. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll hug this show. Can’t have too many hugs.