Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Capital One Hall

The North American Tour of Fiddler on the Roof Comes to Tysons, VA.

By: Mar. 13, 2022
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Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Capital One Hall
Ali Arian Molaei (The Fiddler) and the Company of the North American Tour of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.
Photo by Joan Marcus

One cannot think about Fiddler on the Roof without the thought of tradition. Traditionally, this renowned musical about a Jewish community in Anatevka is often known for its joyous moments: dancing, young love, and catchy tunes. The suffering and struggle become lost within the joy. But just like a fiddler on a rooftop, this production, with direction by Sari Ketter and Shelley Butler, strikes up a delicate balance with these emotions.

Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of Tevye (Danny Arnold), a proud Jewish patriarch, living in poverty in the village of Anatevka with his wife, Golde (Maite Uzal), and five daughters. Tevye wants the best for his daughters (so he thinks). When his eldest daughter, Tzeitel (Kelly Gabrielle Murphy), expresses her desire to marry her childhood friend, Motel, (Daniel Kushner), Tevye must determine if he is okay with breaking traditions set by the Matchmaker (Brooke Wetterhahn) and his fellow villagers' expectations of arranged marriages. While Tevye and his family are dealing with the upheaval of tradition, including the "rebellion" of Hodel (Ruthy Froch) and Chava (Noa Luz Barenblat), there are undercurrents of the displacement of this Jewish community, forced by the Czar's hand, and the upcoming spark of revolution as hinted by the radical student Perchik (Solomon Reynolds).

The cast of Fiddler on the Roof beautifully brings this tight-knit Jewish community to life. If the rest of the cast are the strings, then Danny Arnold's Tevye is the bridge of the violin. His talent shines in his delivery of Tevye's quick-witted remarks and inner monologues that brilliantly display his internal conflict. He brings out a richness and quiet sarcasm with his rendition of "If I Were a Rich Man." The women of Fiddler on the Roof are forces to be reckoned with. Murphy, Froch, and Barenblat portray Tevye's daughters beyond the constraints of their traditional roles of mother, daughter, and/or wife. It's refreshing to see them thinking out loud about their hopes and fears for the future, which is why "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" is such a bittersweet song, despite its levity. Yes, the classic Fiddler on the Roof songs and scenes are outstanding, especially "The Wedding" and "Sunrise, Sunset," but there are two unappreciated songs that deserve to be mentioned-"Tevye's Dream" and "Anatevka."

Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Capital One Hall
Noa Luz Barenblat (Chava) and Kelly Gabrielle Murphy (Tzeitel) and Ruthy Froch (Hodel) in the
North American Tour of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Photo by Joan Marcus

In "Tevye's Dream," featuring a solo from Rosie Webber's Fruma-Sarah, there is a surreal dream sequence with villagers dressed like they are in a Carnival parade. The stunning visuals alongside its operatic quality are fantastic. "Anatevka" carries the opposite energy of "Tevye's Dream," which sets the tone for the musical's heart wrenching conclusion. In this song, cast's voices ring with uncertainty as they reflect on what life would be like without their home.

The production's set designed by Michael Yeargan creates an atmosphere fit for the village and creates depth to scenes that involve movement or transition. The costumes, designed by Catherine Zuber, start off as vibrant shades and striking blacks and move onto dismal grays as the story progresses in the second act. Christopher Evans recreates the energy of Hofesh Shechter's original choreography and the dance arrangements by Oran Eldor complement this style.

This touring production of Fiddler on the Roof shouldn't be missed. Its story and music resonate strongly like the haunting melodies from the Fiddler's violin.

Running Time: 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission

Note: In certain performances, the role of Tevye is played by Jonathan Hashmonay.

Fiddler on the Roof runs from Friday, March 11, 2022 until Sunday, March 13, 2022 at Capital One Hall - 7750 Capital One Tower Rd, Tysons, VA 22102 . Click here for tickets.