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Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center

Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center

FIDDLER makes its way to Robinson Center in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center Thanks to 'Rona it took a Miracle of Miracles for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF to make it to Robinson Center, 426 W. Markam St., in Little Rock, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 25-27, but it was definitely worth the wait. Celebrity Attractions brought a powerhouse production that handled this classic delicately, yet fiery at the same time. With original direction by Bartlett Sher and recreated by Sari Ketter, time passed without notice from beginning to end of the musical- It was pure magic.

Book by Joseph Stein, Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and Inspired by the works of Jerome Robbins, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF follows Tevye (Jonathan Hashmonay), his family and village as they cope with upending change while trying to cling to their Jewish Tradition(s). With five daughters, three of age for marriage, Tevye has to contend with loveReview: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center interests versus going the traditional route of using a Matchmaker, Matchmaker. Tzeitel (Randa Meierhenry) is matched, with the help of Yente (Mary Beth Webber), the matchmaker, with Lazar Wolf (Andrew Hendrick), the well-off butcher, but she is in love with Motel (Daniel Kushner), the poor tailor. After saying yes to Lazar Wolf, Tevye has to make up a story to his wife Golde Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center (Maite Uzal), so he can back out of the arrangement. Meanwhile, daughter Hodel (Graceann Kontak) falls in love with the student Perchik (Austin J. Gresham) that Tevye brought into the house to help teach the girls.

Act II takes a serious turn when the Russians have a stronger hold on the Jewish community. Then, to upset things even more, Chava (Yarden Barr) and Fyedka (Carson Robinette), a Russian soldier, become and couple, and though Tevye gave in to the two older girls, he does not support the marriage between his third daughter and husband. By the end of the musical, the Jews are kicked out of their land, and everyone has to decide where they are going and if they are staying together as a unit.

To understand the prominence of this production, I turned to Pastor Wes Brown of the Plumerville First Baptist Church who happened to be sitting right behind me. Why is FIDDLER ON THE ROOF so fascinating 58 years later?

"It deals with change, and it deals with your family growing up and dealing with that," Pastor Brown said. "It's so relatable." He goes further into how important the role of Tevye is to the story. "Tevye's relationship with God is fascinating, you know. It's interesting inReview: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center how he used Him, talks to Him, and praise to Him. It's also interesting to see his relationship to each one of his daughters and how he bends a little more with the first two, but then he finds the line with the third that he can't bend. "If I try to bend that far, I'll break" is the line that he says. So dealing with how much can you change, you know, what can be altered without completely altering who you are, that's what's fascinating about it. That's what's universal about his journey, about his story, is that we're all dealing with-- change and what gets us through that, and what helps us scratch out a little tune, while we try to keep our balance up on the roof." Well said, Pastor Brown.

The cast was amazing! Hashmonay's control with his monologues and talks with God was Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center very understandable and moving, even from the back of the auditorium. The whole audience was rooting for things to work out. If I Were a Rich Man was a super fun number to watch, and also, the duet Do You Love Me with Uzal was touching. Most of the scenes with Motel were amusing. Kushner had wonderful comedic timing. He had us giggling a lot. The chemistry with the sisterly bond the daughters had is worth mentioning as well.

The aggressive dancing was a favorite amongst the crowd. With original choreography by Hofesh Shechter and recreated by Christopher Evans, the group numbers had the cast using the whole stage and was so entertaining, I didn't know who toReview: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center watch. I didn't want to miss any of it. There were so many tricks and tempo changes, that it was a visual delight.

For more great entertainment in this fabulous venue, visit their website at https://www.robinsoncenter.com, or https://www.celebrityattractions.com. To check out where FIDDLER is headed to next, you can follow them at fiddlermusical.com. Photo credit to Joan Marcus.

Review: Central Arkansas is Toasting To Life with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Robinson Center



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