Why see it:
- Exceptional storytelling and entertainment value
Fiddler played its way onto the stage in the DPAC Suntrust Broadway Series as the show following Hamilton, after which “the world will never be the same.” This entrant couldn’t and needn’t be the next great thing. It was the old great story, somewhat re-imagined, fairly familiar, vigorously entertaining, and more than worthy of its place.
The most important element of Fiddler was unambiguous telling of story. The bonuses were that it did so with a terrific orchestra, quite excellent dance, and familiar songs. It was quality entertainment.
The acting effort from the touring production was good. Tevye had to carry the show, and Yehezkel Lazarov did that very well. The tailor Motel delivered an upside surprise from Jesse Weil. Tops in voice was the ghost of Grandma Tzeitel via Carolyn Keller, who towered above the cast in her featured number.
Most others are adequate for the task. Age-considerate casting filled roles with young actors who brought enthusiasm and excitement as they gain experience.
I could have wished for more in a few ways …
- For the ensemble, more numbers to feature their strength in number, as demonstrated out of the gate with “Tradition.”
- The vast energy and budding talent of the mostly-male dancers were too seldom spun across the stage.
- There was generally a bare minimum in sets and props, though some backdrops and lighting captivated.
- The distracting sheer curtain that shaded an ethereal dance by Tevye’s daughters should be eliminated (“less is more”).
The first act seemed to hold two-thirds of the time, eighty percent of the entertainment, and the totality of hit songs. The second act hurried to finish, but contained dramatic elements that tried to jerk tears out of their little ducts; it “might have” succeeded.
If you have younger children and worry about the lateness of the hour, one could leave at intermission feeling fully enriched. I’m not saying it is ‘kosher’ to do so, but consider your circumstances.
Viewed January 10, 2019
Durham Performing Arts Center, NC