Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Orpheum Theater

Broadway in Omaha has found a perfect match in "Fiddler on the Roof"

By: Feb. 11, 2022
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Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Orpheum Theater

Broadway in Omaha's resident matchmaker found the perfect fit for Omaha audiences in the current hit Broadway tour of "Fiddler on the Roof." Featuring music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein, "Fiddler on the Roof" is based on a series of short stories written by Sohlem Aleichem and follows family man Tevye as he navigates his three eldest daughter's search for true love in a time when matchmakers arranged the marriages and marrying for love was unheard of. This story of love, loss, and the most beautiful of traditions has found wild success not only on stage but on the big screen. It first opened on Broadway in 1964 and swept the Tonys with nine awards including one for best musical. It was followed shortly thereafter by a movie adaptation in 1971, which received eight Academy Award nominations. It's a family favorite for many, and it's become a musical standard for most of those in the musical theatre community.

Leading the way for his family and the audience is Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye. An award winning director, actor, and choreographer, there is no denying the showmanship of this talented performer. This is his third season with Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye, which is evident in his comfortability in the role. His comedic abilities are undeniable, but I found myself missing the warmth I expected to feel from family man Tevye. He is an undoubtedly talented artist, but without that warmth, I sometimes felt as though I was at a one-man cabaret performance and did not feel the connection with him that I had hoped or experienced in other performances. With that being said, the thunderous applause and audible accolades I overheard on my way out of the theater show that not everyone feels the same way. And honestly, that's one of my favorite things about theater.

Tevye's pride and joy, his daughters, are all solid choices for their roles. Kelly Gabrielle Murphy (Tzeitel) is sincere in her delivery, and her voice is soft and pleasant to listen to. Her gentle approach to Tzeitel makes her a perfect match for the almost-too-timid Motel, played by Daniel Kushner. While the direction for Kushner's Motel almost feels at times as though it approaches too timid or mousy, Kushner had the best vocal performance of the night with his performance of Miracles of Miracles. Ruthy Froch (Hodel) is strong not only in her approach to her character choices, but vocally. She presents a more mature Hodel than I've previously experienced, and it works in her dynamic with the equally strong Perchik, played by Solomon Reynolds. Rounding out the trio of Tevye's eldest is Noa Luz Barenblat, who plays bookworm and kindhearted Chava. Barenblat's performance is layered and easily enjoyable, and her chemistry with Jack O'Brien (Fyedka) is undeniable and sweet.

Other strong performances include Maite Uzal (Golde), Brooke Wetterhahn (Yente), and Alex Stone (Sasha). Uzal and Wetterhahn both are talented performers with a flair for perfect comedic timing, and Stone's vocals are a true show highlight, with a range that shocked me and a tone that made me wish he only had more vocal features in the show.

While you could easily find something wonderful about all the individual performers on stage, the true showstoppers in this production of Fiddler on the Roof are the dancers. The choreography in Fiddler on the Roof is iconic, with most people being familiar with the athletic and demanding bottle dance even if they haven't seen the production live, and the ensemble of gifted dancers were up to the task. I don't remember the last time I saw a cast as full out in dance as this one, and it is joy (and almost a workout) just to watch.

I did struggle to hear for a majority of the show, which is a combination of general sound equipment and balance issues and a chorus of candy wrappers and beeping electronic devices. While this is a wonderful show to bring your family to, please consider theater etiquette and open wrappers before the show starts and mute all electronic devices.

If you find yourself with an itch to experience beautiful live theatre, I highly suggest making this production a part of your own family tradition. "Fiddler on the Roof" is playing at the Orpheum Theater now through February 13. Tickets can be purchased at https://ticketomaha.com/Productions/fiddler-on-the-roof_2022?gclid=Cj0KCQiAr5iQBhCsARIsAPcwROPMK9Qw6bQCt4vLdYb-MJSV25z76AKq4hfHULg8ZXah7c6Qn1DYm9EaArCcEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

*Please Note: COVID protocols are in place and masks are required while inside the Orpheum Theater.



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