Broadway Beyond Louisville Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Aronoff Center
There are a plethora of classic musicals that have always and will always find their way back to the main stage. Fiddler on the Roof is no exception. Since opening in 1964, it was an immediate audience favorite, and after a successful 1971 film adaption, the show's story, music, and characters became household favorites. The show was somewhat progressive for its time, as it examines societal norms, gender roles, and religious friction between cultures. The show has been revived on broadway many times in its 50+ year existence, most recently in a 2016 production helmed by Tony Winner Bartlett Sher that is now making its way across America on a non-equity tour.
The show focuses on Tevye and his wife Golde, along with their five daughters. Throughout the course of the show, the three oldest each find their match, however they find them on their own without the help of local matchmaker Yente, which at the time is how marriages were expected to be arranged. All the while the Tsar is slowly but surely forcing villages out of their homes one by one, until they're finally knocking on Anatevka's door, forcing all Jewish citizens to depart the home they know and love.
Our show is lead by Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye. He is very charismatic and easy to like. He has a great voice, and easily brings comedic chops and dramatic chops when they're required. He is matched by Maite Uzal as Golde. Uzal plays the role very stubborn and strong willed, but as the show and the character progresses Uzal found ways to layer Golde's emotions, bringing more of a softness and melancholy to some of her final scenes. The rest of the company is well suited for their roles. The vocals are fantastic and the sheer mass of people effectively set the atmosphere.
Bartlett Sher's production is simplistic and beautiful. He relies on very little flash or spectacle, and instead chooses to focus on the characters and the story, with emphasis on community, relationships, and the family dynamic. Throughout the show Sher creates many beautiful stage pictures using only his actors and some beautiful lighting design. The fact he can do so much with so little, is a testament to why he is one of the most consistently working directors today (this season he will opened the new adaption of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird").
Probably anywhere in the continental US, you could find a good production of Fiddler, hell I'd argue you could find many great productions of Fiddler. However the stripped down nature of this specific production is cause to make a special trip to see this show. With innately human performances and the gravitas of Sher's direction I would say this is one Fiddler you shouldn't miss.
Fiddler on the Roof is running Now - February 27th
Procter & Gamble Hall - Aronoff Center For The Arts
650 Walnut Street Cincinnati, OH 45202.