Review: Hale Centre Theatre's FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is Artfully, Attentively Staged

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF plays through March 30, 2024.

By: Feb. 02, 2024
Review: Hale Centre Theatre's FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is Artfully, Attentively Staged

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on Hale Centre Theatre’s Centre Stage in Sandy resists the urge to simply replicate what has been done before, yet still celebrates what is so beloved about the piece. The artful presentation feels intimate and emotionally resonant, which is unexpected for such a large-scale production. 

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (based on the Sholem Aleichem stories by special permission of Arnold Perl, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) is a classic musical that needs no introduction. With many well-known songs that are pervasive in popular culture, this story of Tevye and his Jewish community transcends boundaries with its universal themes of intolerance and familial love. Tevye's expectations of life are entrenched in tradition, including the pairing of his three daughters with suitable husbands by a matchmaker. But when fate leads them to make their own matches, it is only the beginning of the changes in store.

The cast performs with nuance and skill, including Josh Richardson as Tevye (double cast with Daniel Hess), Claire Kenny as Golde (double cast with Dianna Graham), Hailey Bennett Sundwall as Tzeitel (double cast with Lauren Pope), Rachel Martorana as Hodel (double cast with Haley Mendez Wawro), Mackenzie Turner as Chava (double cast with Erica Schoebinger), Austin Dorman as Motel (double cast with Alex DeBirk), Abram Yarbro as Perchik (double cast with Kelton Davis), Hyrum Smith as Fyedka (double cast with Scott Hendrickson), and Jake Ben Suazo as Lazar Wolf (double cast with Jared Lesa). The Fiddler, Julie Beistline (double cast with Aaron Ashton), plays resplendently.

Director Ryan Simmons casts an enthralling spell over the audience from the first moments of the production, as the displaced people of Anatevka share their stories and pass along their traditions.  (It would be a meaningful full circle moment if they were to return to the stage to witness the finale.) The choices made for the opening number set the bar high, and the show perhaps never again reaches quite the same heights, but it is clear that Simmons is not content to rest on his laurels, as each scene is attentively staged.  

Just one example: the crowd-pleasing “Tevye's Dream” is mesmerizing in its combination of direction, design, and technical wizardry.

The main element of Madeline Ashton’s scenic design is an ever-present ring of antique trunks, chairs, and lanterns that wonderfully enwraps and embodies the staging and lush wooden flooring.  The somber period costumes by Dennis Wright incorporate similar earth tones, and the rich lighting by Marianne Ohran adds golden hues and deep red highlights.

Hale Centre Theatre’s creative teams always present impressive productions, but it is nice to take in the work of a group that doesn’t usually work together on the Centre Stage. In this case, it has resulted in a show that is unique and altogether refreshing. 

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF plays through March 30, 2024. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.

Photo Credit: Hale Centre Theatre




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