Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Theatre Harrisburg

Presented by Theatre Harrisburg through November 19th

By: Nov. 04, 2023
Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Theatre Harrisburg

The 1964 award winning musical Fiddler on the Roof, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, strikes a chord as much today as it did during its record-setting run on Broadway. Based on Tevya and His Daughters, a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem, Fiddler on the Roof is set in the small Russian village of Anatevka in 1905. The musical gives the audience a glimpse into the life of a Jewish family during the start of the Russian Revolutionary Period. It explores themes of family, love, faith, tradition, and change. Theatre Harrisburg presents Fiddler on the Roof at the Whitaker Center under the direction of Kevin Biddle, with Marina Cherepinsky as Music Director, November 3-19.

Every aspect of this production is beautifully designed. The lighting, costumes, and set transport the audience to Anatevka. The sound balance is perfect, highlighting the beautiful voices and the outstanding orchestra. The orchestra features Janeanne Wantz, Dave Godshall, Vic Wertz, Marinda Herring, Megan Carraher, Bill Perbetsky, P.C. King, Silvia Perbetsky, Jim Janderchick, Caleb Stelle, Beth Darowish, Hope Bowling, Tim Crane, Ben Carraher, Adrienne Connaghan, Alison Williams, and Andrew Vinton. Vinton also takes the stage as the Fiddler and the Russian Soloist in “To Life”, which highlights his powerful, smooth vocals. Kelly Strange’s choreography is stunning.

The large cast includes Pam Eusi (Ensemble), Samantha Campbell (Ensemble), Katelynn Wilt (Ensemble), Kaitlyn Perbetsky (Ensemble), Jill Miller (Ensemble), Lane McCabe (Ensemble), Kevin Cole (Ensemble), Matthew Irani (Ensemble), Kyle Hallam (Ensemble), Lauren Kutz (Nachum), Jayda Segal (Shprintze), Sam McCarty (Sasha), Vincent Graeff (Ensemble Boy 2), Ellie Yinger (Ensemble Boy 1), Caroline Griffo (Bielke), Joel Sattazahn (Lazar Wolf), Anthony Ariano (Constable), Aiden Storm (Avram), Darlene Hein (Yente), Darren Riddle (Rabbi), Sean Morrison (Mendel), Heather Hollenberg (Yussel), Ann Ariano (Shaindel), AJ Rhodes (Fyedka), Becky Mease (Fruma Sarah), Roberta Silver (Grandma Tzeitel), Robb Papapietro (Mordcha), Laney Dixon (Chava), Zachariah Roush (Perchik), Joel Colvin (Motel), Hannah Paymer (Hodel), Rebekah Woods (Tzeitel), Bryden McCurdy (Golde), and Marc Lubbers (Tevye).

This cast brings the people of Anatevka to life. Their harmonies are gorgeous, and they execute the choreography with precision and grace. Their performances of “Sabbath Prayer”, “The Dream”, and “Anatevka” illustrate the versatility of the cast as they move from the sacredness of “Sabbath Prayer” to the spectacle of “The Dream” to the heartbreak of “Anatevka”. Darlene Hein is delightful as the gossipy matchmaker Yente, flitting from villager to villager with the latest news. Joel Sattazahn’s Lazar Wolf is perfectly larger than life. Laney Dixon and AJ Rhodes are adorable as Chava and Fyedka, and Dixon’s performance during Chava’s appeal to her father is heart-wrenching. Zachariah Roush and Hannah Paymer take the stage as Perchik and Hodel. Their performance of “Now I Have Everything” highlights their lovely voices, and their interactions are completely believable. Rebekah Woods puts on a wonderful performance as Tzeitel, the oldest of Tevya’s daughters, and the first to convince him that his daughters’ happiness is more important than tradition. Her interactions with Joel Colvin’s Motel are heartfelt. Colvin’s clear, lovely voice is perfect for “Miracle of Miracles”. Bryden McCurdy plays Golde with the perfect combination of humor, strength, and practicality. Her facial expressions and line delivery are outstanding, and the emotion in her voice during “Sunrise, Sunset” and “Do You Love Me” is touching. Marc Lubbers was born to play Tevye. From his facial expressions to his movements and gestures to his vocal inflections and beautiful voice, he gives an emotional performance that captures the audience’s attention.

Theater Harrisburg’s Fiddler on the Roof is a production you do not want to miss. It is filled not only with talent, but with heart. Get your tickets today to see this classic musical come to life to remind us that change is inevitable but that love and faith can endure. Visit the link below for more information.

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