BWW Reviews: Music Circus Follows Tradition With New FIDDLER
Mozel Tov to Sacramento Music Circus on another strong production of a classic musical. Playing through August 19 at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, the current production of "Fiddler on the Roof" follows tradition while creating a laid back, down-to-earth staging. That staging sometimes takes away from the humor of the show, but also manages to create a unique interpretation of an often-performed show.
The plot follows a little Jewish village as its residents deal with a changing world, the loss of tradition and newfound hatred and racism in the world. In the midst of the chaos, they try to maintain composure like a fiddler on the roof. And protagonist, Tevye (played by Bob Amaral), must deal with reality as his daughters find suitors that don't line up with tradition.
The production speeds through key songs like "Sabbath Prayer," and it has Tevye slowly perform various chores in a bit too ordinary way during an unmemorable "If I Were A Rich Man." But the cast comes to life in major dance portions of songs like "To Life" and "Bottle Dance." A strong ensemble and fantastic choreography carry the show along.
Although Amaral talks a bit in a minor Mel Brooks accent and although his singing voice doesn't always sound pleasant, he delivers a tender, albeit far too short, "Chava Sequence" and performs a touching "Do You Love Me?" duet with Adrienne Barbeau as his controlling, but adorable wife, Golde. Helen Geller offers a fun Yente the Matchmaker, and audiences are also treated to a fabulously sung dream sequence. But aside from some original and creative puppetry, the number lacks dramatics.
The youth of the cast highlight the show, however, with outstanding performances from Lauren T. Mack, Keah Horowitz, and, Kristen J. Smith as Tevye's eldest daughters, Allen E. Read, Jordan Bondurant, and Will Taylor as their boyfriends, and Michael McGurk as a whimsical Fiddler. Horowitz does a beautiful job with the moving "Far From the Home I Love." Smith is full of life as Chava. And Mack brings a loving sternness to the eldest of the daughters. Read makes a fun Motel the Tailor. Taylor has a wonderful voice. Bondurant boasts one of the greatest and most memorable talents of the production as Perchik, the radical student. And audiences will enjoy Noa Solorio, Bella Bagatelos, Salem Macias and Ben Ainley-Zoll as the youngest members of the cast, though their appearances are short.
Music Circus does not offer a consistently impressive show with this "Fiddler," but those with nothing to compare it to will love it, while the rest will appreciate the talent on display and simply have a good time with a traditional classic.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Through August 19