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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?

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Skip23
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#1
Posted: 7/18/19 at 10:58am

Finally got to see it.

Wish I liked it more. Its a very efficient production. That first act just goes on and on. Second act really works, tho.

Skybell is so hearty and modern that his portrayal threw me off. I'm kinda used to a more downtrodden, world weary Tevye.

Jennifer Babiak's Golde was perfect. And their understated "Do You Love Me" was a high point.

Jackie Hoffman is playing REAL low energy. I was worried that maybe she's sick.  She was even walking on and off practically shuffling.

Singing is, again, efficient. And those tight fitting skinny jeans on some of the men are a bit much. Fyedke's gymmed-out body is a bit distracting for the time period.

Guess this is being picky, but I couldn't warm up to much of this. The Yiddish angle is admirable, but I really missed the clever lines and poetry in the lyrics.


 

Updated On: 7/18/19 at 10:58 AM
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#2
Posted: 7/18/19 at 11:08am

Hoffman has been lowkey from the beginning. I assume she was directed as such...none of her usual schtick.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#3
Posted: 7/18/19 at 12:37pm

Of course Ms. Hoffman was directed “as such”, as well as her own decisions on how to play this role. She has been interviewed and asked about this many times.

Her portrayal of Yente is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Her last scene with Golde saying goodbye is almost impossible to watch it’s so emotional and private. I think Ms. Hoffman is giving her best work to date here.

As Ms. Hoffman said in an interview, “he’s the best Tevye- evye”. And he is. Mr. Steven Skybell is incredible in this part. I could go on...

I’ve seen it 19 times, so far. I told that to someone yesterday and he said to me, “oh, you’re one of them!”. I guess I am.

Happy 1st Anniversary.

 

 

 

 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#4
Posted: 7/18/19 at 2:08pm

I don't think I'd ever describe Tevye as world-weary or downtrodden. His life isn't perfect, but he seems utterly content with it. 

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#5
Posted: 7/18/19 at 2:26pm

This production is everything the Sher production should've been and wasn't.  I saw this downtown and then again uptown and I was devastated from Do You Love Me until the very end.  Skybell is giving a definitive performance as Teyve and had he been eligible, would've walked away hands down with the Tony for Best Actor.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#6
Posted: 7/18/19 at 2:41pm

I think this Fiddler was a miracle.  I was virtually sobbing the minute the curtain went up.  The entire production was flawless.  And I so totally agree with the poster who wrote about Jackie Hoffman's monologues.  She blew me away, especially at the end telling Golde how she was moving to Israel.  This show is a life altering experience.  In a perfect world it would have been on Broadway and I think it would have won best revival for sure.  I wish I could have seen it 19 times like another poster.  I would see it every week if I could.  Theatrical brilliance. 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#7
Posted: 7/18/19 at 3:35pm

Kad said: "I don't think I'd ever describe Tevye as world-weary or downtrodden. His life isn't perfect, but he seems utterly content with it."

 

Huh?  He sings a song called "If I Were A Rothschild".  Complaining how his life would be so much better if he were rich instead of poor.  Content?

 

He's a milkman pushing a milk cart by hand and complaining throughout the whole show how things are hard for him and how he has 5 daughters to be looked after and a nagging wife.  What would you call that?

 

 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#8
Posted: 7/18/19 at 3:51pm

FranklinDickson2018 said: "I think this Fiddler was a miracle. I was virtually sobbing the minute the curtain went up. The entire production was flawless. And I so totally agree with the poster who wrote about Jackie Hoffman's monologues. She blew me away, especially at the end telling Golde how she was moving to Israel. This show is a life altering experience. In a perfect world it would have been on Broadway and I think it would have won best revival for sure. I wish I could have seen it 19 times like another poster. I would see it every week if I could. Theatrical brilliance."

This is where I'm at too, and I'm eagerly awaiting the cast album since I've only been able to see the show twice; would that I could see it every week as well!

As for Jackie Hoffman's performance, I thought it was fantastic. The deadpan way she delivers her first scene with Golde reminded me so much of my grandmother and other Jewish women of a certain age in my family, and the final scene was heartbreaking--but with this subtle optimistic hint that this character was not yet ready to give up. I think it perfectly fit the mold of the production and of the original material.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#9
Posted: 7/18/19 at 4:27pm
Hoping for an easier life isnt necessarily the same as downtrodden. Even content people have dreams.

Ill add my love if this production here...in fact, cant wait to go back later this month, nor can my teen son.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#10
Posted: 7/18/19 at 4:38pm

Thinking it'd be great to be rich or complaining about your loved ones isn't the same as being downtrodden or even dissatisfied. I don't think the show can support a Tevye who is genuinely unhappy with his lot or worn down by life. He's a wily, joyful character who so clearly loves his family, his beliefs, and his community, imperfect though they all are.  

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#11
Posted: 7/18/19 at 6:33pm

Skip23 said: "Finally got to see it.

Singing is, again, efficient. And those tight fitting skinny jeans on some of the men are a bit much. Fyedke's gymmed-out body is a bit distracting for the time period.

Guess this is being picky, but I couldn't warm up to much of this. The Yiddish angle is admirable, but I really missed the clever lines and poetry in the lyrics.
"

 

The gymmed-out body has become a major issue for Broadway casting in recent years. I began to notice it in How to Succeed with Radcliffe. The office workers of the 1960's were no where near as muscle bound and seam busting as that revival portrayed. 

I don't want to see a Tommy Djilas in Music Man next season who looks like he spends all his time down at the Madison YMCA getting swole. 

Then there was Nick Adams in the Falsettos tour. Whizzer needs to plausibly go from healthy and strapping to skinny and sickly by the end of the show, I never once believed pumped up Adams as an AIDS ravaged dying man. 

So hearing that Fyedka has been cast in the same vein makes me similarly frustrated that casting directors are continuing to not taking body size and shape into consideration when it comes to casting period roles these days. 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#12
Posted: 7/18/19 at 8:12pm

The actor portraying Fyedke, Mr. Cameron Johnson, obviously has a great body, BUT he is also a student of the Manhattan School of Music. He has an amazing tenor voice that is needed for his role in the show. He is also a fine dancer and plays his scenes beautifully. I think those qualities were why he was cast in this role.

Slow curtain. The end.

Updated On: 7/18/19 at 08:12 PM
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#13
Posted: 7/18/19 at 8:57pm

Ok as someone with NO knowledge of Yiddish ... can I enjoy this production? When I mean NO knowledge I mean the only Yiddish words I know are the ones I learned from Seinfeld and from hearing my Jewish ex-bf who taught me how to make potato latkes.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#14
Posted: 7/18/19 at 8:59pm

poisonivy2 said: "Ok as someone with NO knowledge of Yiddish ... can I enjoy this production? When I mean NO knowledge I mean the only Yiddish words I know are the ones I learned from Seinfeld and from hearing my Jewish ex-bf who taught me how to make potato latkes."

There are English subtitles projected on either side of the stage, with the full text of the libretto (so songs and book scenes alike) using the version I think would be most familiar to anyone who knows Fiddler. I don't speak more than a spattering of Yiddish and I found it absolutely inspired and powerful.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#15
Posted: 7/18/19 at 9:09pm

poisonivy2 said: "Ok as someone with NO knowledge of Yiddish ... can I enjoy this production? When I mean NO knowledge I mean the only Yiddish words I know are the ones I learned from Seinfeld and from hearing my Jewish ex-bf who taught me how to make potato latkes."

Yes. There are subtitles on either side of the stage that doesn't detract from watching what's happening on stage. And frankly, the acting transcends any language. I don't understand any Yiddish and I thoroughly enjoyed this production. You should be fine.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#16
Posted: 7/18/19 at 9:37pm

As others have noted here, there are English Supertitles on either side of the stage. So, please don’t let the fact that you don’t know the Yiddish language stop you from seeing this amazing production! Besides the usual phone going off or the never ending talkers and rustle candy wrappers that always come to the theatre these days, there is usually a hush in the audience as you realize most everyone is reading the text and wants to stay with the story. Even if you think you know Fiddler, you will find that you do have to follow the text. The show has a lot of book scenes between the famous songs. 

You will also find your eyes going from left to right and vice versa reading the titles. You will find your own rhythm as to where to read the text as the actors play their scenes. 

I always liked Fiddler in the past but have never felt about the show as I do with this production. In fact, I don’t feel like I’m watching Fiddler on the Roof. It feels like a new play with music. 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#17
Posted: 7/19/19 at 1:45am

EthelMae said: "As others have noted here, there are English Supertitles on either side of the stage. So, please don’t let the fact that you don’t know the Yiddish language stop you from seeing this amazing production!Besides the usual phone going off or the never ending talkers and rustle candy wrappers that always come to the theatre these days, there is usually a hush in the audience as you realize most everyone is reading the text and wants to stay with the story. Even if you think you know Fiddler, you will find that you do have to follow the text. The show has a lot of book scenes between the famous songs.

You will also find your eyes going from left to right and vice versa reading the titles. You will find your own rhythm as to where to read the text as the actors play their scenes.

I always liked Fiddler in the past but have never felt about the show as I do withthis production. In fact, I don’t feel like I’m watching Fiddler on the Roof. It feels like a new play with music.
"

 

Nice that you had such a good time, EthelMae, but I had the opposite experience.  I started to get annoyed that I had to keep moving from side panels to read the dialogue to the actor's faces and bodies to see what they were actually doing and how they were responding.  After awhile I gave up and started zoning out on what the story was actually doing. 

 

So...buyer beware.

 

 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#18
Posted: 7/19/19 at 8:14am

Anshel2 said: "This production is everything the Sher production should've been and wasn't. I saw this downtown and then again uptown and I was devastated from Do You Love Me until the very end. Skybell is giving a definitive performance as Teyve and had he been eligible, would've walked away hands down with the Tony for Best Actor."

I agree 100 percent with every word of this post. And I’d add that the Yiddish gave the show an authenticity rarely seen in any musical theater. 

CZJ at opening night party for A Little Night Music, Dec 13, 2009.
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#19
Posted: 7/19/19 at 9:00am

Sorry, Skip 23, I must disagree with you. Have you never seen a foreign film where your eyes go down a moment to read the subtitles and then back up to see the actors? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of classic brilliant films.

And if you miss this production of Fiddler because of the subtitles, you’ll miss a very special experince.

 

 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#20
Posted: 7/19/19 at 9:18am
Re: the supertitles, I would advise not sitting too close to the stage, as it is much easier to concurrently see the supertitles and action from further back.
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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#21
Posted: 7/19/19 at 9:33am

Yes, you are right, bwaylvsong, sitting further back gives you a much better perspective of the supertitles.

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#22
Posted: 7/19/19 at 10:22am

We saw it downtown from the 1st row and didn't mind the supertitles, even though for us they were waaay over to the side.

 

Some of the different translations make this version even stronger than the prior English ones we've gotten used to.  Most moving thing I've ever seen on stage

 

 
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Such as when Tsaytl says she is going to "Warsaw", not "Poland".  You know what's going to happen to them for certain in Warsaw

 

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FIDDLER - Lean and Mean?#23
Posted: 7/19/19 at 10:45am

bwaylvsong said: "Re: the supertitles, I would advise not sitting too close to the stage, as it is much easier to concurrently see the supertitles and action from further back."

I agree with this. We won the lottery and were in the first row, orch left, but the way the supertitles were positioned, I had a neck cramp after I left the theater lol But it was totally worth it. Also, I watch everything with subtitles these days so going back and forth was not an issue for me, personally.

The production is so delightful and the Yiddish only adds nuance to this timeless score. The brown paper in the back with "Torah" (edit: these boards don't like Hebrew letters, oh well) ... well, we know what happens (those who have seen the production), I actually started crying, it was so shocking. Yeah, I'm going to have to go back and see this before it closes.

Updated On: 7/19/19 at 10:45 AM