BWW Previews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at The Playhouse

June 9- 12 at The Playhouse in Wilmington DE

By: Jun. 06, 2022
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BWW Previews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at The Playhouse

Aisle Say has seen probably 600 shows in 65 years. Some he's been in, some he produced and directed. The vast majority are those he's reviewed over 35+ years. However, next week at The Playhouse with a 4-day run of a national tour of FIDDLER beginning June 9, Aisle Say announces a first! Never before has he seen or much less heard a Samoan tenor.

Yes, Solomon Reynolds as Perchik is both Samoan AND a tenor. His character and the other citizens of Anatevka will bring their impoverished, world weary, forlorn desperation and despair to The Playhouse. The actors will make us laugh, make us cry and ultimately leave us with a sense of the majesty of the human spirit and the power of family love.

Solomon had recently graduated from Indiana University with a Masters in Vocal Performance, opera being his forte. One of the unforeseen "advantages" of the pandemic was that casting directors accepted "reels" of aspirants. Over a year and a half, he sent out 80 tapes. The director for now the third tour of Fiddler was impressed and asked him to send Perchik's song, "Now I Have Everything", the duet with Hodel. The decision was made and this is our Samoan tenor's first professional gig!

The cast is made up of 50% Jews and a like percentage of veterans and rookies. Solomon explains, "the veterans have a mature understanding of the story. The new people, like myself, bring a fresh look and new characterizations. A few have ancestors who experienced the Holocaust, adding fascinating gravitas to the production".

The national tour began in October and ends in mid June in NJ. It has 33 cast members, a full orchestra, 3 buses for the cast and crew and 3 semis for sets and tech. (It's a major tour that all Delawareans have been longing for). Solomon effuses over the choreography and dancers. "The Bottle Dance", which closes Act I generates the greatest response from our audiences. And, yes, we've sold out 90% of the tour in cities similar to the size of Wilmington".

FIDDLER has been part of our musical canon since 1964. It's heartrending story, it's music and lyrics give us goosebumps and touch our souls. "Tradition" is one of the most rousing opening numbers created. "Far From The Home I Love"...(I'm choking up even thinking of it). "Sunrise, Sunset" speaks to a world of the villagers that is soon to end. "If I Were a Rich Man" ranks 21 in the greatest Broadway tunes. The show is certainly not the traditional "musical comedy". As in all great stories, there are highs and lows, scenes of hilarity and scenes of solemnity. The final scene of exodus dredges the bottom of the latter.

The finale "Anatevka" has more relevance today than ever before. I am quite serious. Why? One needs to provide background.

The story is based on "Teyve and His Daughters", a tale created by Sholem Aleichem. It centers around Tevye, a milkman in the fictional village of Anatevka, a "Pale of Settlement" in Imperial Russia in 1905. The lead character attempts to maintain Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon his families lives and those of the villagers. An edict from Tsar Nicolas II evicts them from their homes. Leave...or their fall victim to a pogrom.

So...he relevance to today. Let's speak on this.

The author based his village in what is now Ukraine. Is there any difference from what the autocrat Nicholas II did to what war criminal Putin is doing as we speak? 100 years later the world is experiencing the very same situation. Nicholas was a fervid anti-Semite. His Cossacks killed and drove 100's of 1000's of Jews from their homeland. Putin is a similar mass murderer - who like Nicolas, thought he was descended from God. It did not work out well for the 300 year Romanov dynasty. Nicholas and his family were assassinated by Lenin in a bloodbath. How do I know? In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I wrote a book about it...Alexei and Rasputin...available on GreerFirestone.com and Amazon. The Russian peoples rose up against the Romanovs and Lenin took advantage. Many experts have said that the only way Putin will be forced from power is by these same Russian citizens rising up. (Vladimir, having fun adjusting to the sanctions and hardships that your people must deal with daily? Your day will come.)

This subject did not come up in our conversation until Solomon commented on the "Pale of Settlement". In fact, after the ovations at final curtain of this production, the entire cast comes out and speaks to Ukraine and the eerie parallels.

Finally, a major touring show in town. Huzzah!

Note: The Grand/The Playhouse/The baby grand has suspended COVID protocols. No vax card required. Masks are optional.




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