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Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Alhambra Theatre and Dining

The production runs now through September 17th.

By: Aug. 06, 2023
Fiddler on the Roof (Non-Equity) Show Information
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Fiddler on the Roof premiered at Alhambra Theatre and Dining on August 4th, “ya ba diba diba diba diba diba diba dum!” The musical, which first premiered in 1964, takes place in Anatevka in 1905 just before the Russian Revolution. The main character, Tevye (Tod Booth), battles with his desire to follow “Tradition” and allowing his five daughters to grow and change. The musical is beautiful and a great experience for Jacksonville audiences.

It is always a treat to have the real-life Booth couple on stage. However, a major power shift was made during Fiddler on the Roof. Mr. Tod Booth has done an incredible job directing so many amazing shows at Alhambra Theatre and Dining. For Fiddler, Jessica Booth, Tod Booth’s daughter stepped into the director’s role and would be directing not one but both parents! I personally loved that both Tod and Lisa mentioned how honored they were to be directed by their daughter for this show. I must say, she did an incredible job.

The main character, Tevye (Tod Booth), was exceptional. Tod Booth played Tevye as a sarcastic and dedicated family-man. Tevye (Booth) can roll with the punches of life. As the audiences observe his monologues with God, he knows his lot in life, but will continue to obey the Lord’s direction. Booth’s outstanding numbers include “If I Were a Rich Man”, “The Dream”, and “The Wedding.”

Tod Booth’s real-life wife, Lisa Valdini Booth, played Tod Booth’s musical wife, Golde. Golde (Lisa Valdini Booth), is very concerned with following tradition. In the beginning, Golde speaks with Yente the Matchmaker (Patti Eyler), as she attempts to match the couple’s oldest daughter, Tzeitel (Sarah Warshavsky). It is obvious that Golde has succumbed to tradition. She is not concerned that her daughter would be matched with someone who is not a good match for her. Due to the stress of being a poor family, she has never considered whether she has fallen in love with her husband who was matched with her 25 years ago, seen in the splendid scene “Do You Love Me?”

The five daughters also showed so much growth and love for one another. The three oldest sisters, Tzeitel (Sarah Washavsky), Hodel (Natalie Drake), and Chava (Sofia Smith) had a cute scene together in the well-known song “Matchmaker.” Drake and Smith’s voices were absolutely stunning in this scene! While Warshavsky becomes realistic on what it means to be matched and brings them back to reality.

I was also impressed with every dance number in this musical. Audiences went crazy for “The Wedding.” During 1905, in this very traditional village, men and women did not dance together. However, audiences observed the “rope” removed and everyone having a party that looks like the weddings we know and love in modern day. Audiences also gasped at the “bottle dance.” Another interesting dance scene was during “The Dream” as Tevye (Tod Booth) explains to Golde (Lisa Valdini Booth) why they should not follow the advice of the matchmaker. It was pure chaos and provided the audience reaction intended. I am always in awe of how the choreographer (Shain Stroff) can utilize a small space with so much dance and merriment.  

Overall, Fiddler on the Roof was an incredible production at Alhambra this season. Audiences will be thoroughly entertained during the whole musical. Fiddler on the Roof will be at the Alhambra Theatre and Dining now through September 17th.


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