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Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF brings 'Tradition' to the Saenger Theatre

Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF brings 'Tradition' to the Saenger Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof is playing at the Saenger Theatre until Sunday, March 5th.

As much as I love musical theater, I am ashamed to admit that I have never seen Fiddler on the Roof until last night. I went into the production with an open mind and few expectations, and as the story unfolded, it drew me in more and more. Fiddler on the Roof is a classic for a reason. The music is incredible, the story is gripping, and the characters feel like family by the end. But unless you have the right staging, cast, costumes, and musicians, this show could easily fall flat.

I'm happy to report that the NETworks Presentations production of Fiddler on the Roof brings the show to life in a masterful way. From the first scene, when the audience is staring at a large, empty stage, save for a chair, a hat, and a sign that reads Anatevka, the show draws you into the world of this small, Jewish community. There are quiet moments like these, but also, large, booming dance numbers that bring a rousing energy to the stage. You'll want to drink alongside the men of Anatevka, cry alongside Tevya and Golde in their loss, and dance in the throes of Tzeital's wedding.

While the show has an incredible cast of characters, were it not for the performance of Jonathan Hashmonay as Teyve, it simply would not be the same production. Not only does he portray a doting father excellently, but he also brings a terrific sense of humor to the role. A personal favorite of mine was "Tevye's Monologue" as well as its reprise. Maite Uzal in the role of his wife, Golde, is a wonderful foil to him, and she brings a great dimension to the role. One of my favorite musical moments was "Far From the Home I Love," which Graceann Kontak performed perfectly.

I would be remiss if I did not mention how incredibly poignant this show is for today, with a message that, as Jonathan Hashmonay reads aloud at the end of the show, feels more and more relevant. After the bows, the cast offers up their last dance to the Jewish community, particularly those in Ukraine and those who are still experiencing anti-semitism today. It was a beautiful tribute that I hope will spark many conversations among theatergoers and their families and makes Fiddler on the Roof a must-see in my book.

Fiddler on the Roof is playing at the Saenger Theatre until Sunday, March 5th. You can purchase your tickets here.

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