Broadway in Chicago Presents FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Review – Classic Musical Given New Resonance

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As the orchestra swells, a man in a red jacket crosses the empty stage—save for a solitary, wooden chair. He sits, opens a book, and begins to read: “A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But, here, in our little village of Anatevka, every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck.” As he removes his jacket and closes the book, he transforms into the character of Tevye, a poor dairyman, eager to provide a better life for each of his five daughters through arranged marriages that allow them to increase their status.

While Fiddler on the Roof begins with a nod to the short stories by prominent Jewish author Sholem Aleichem that served as its source material, it will end with a heartbreaking, historical moment given new resonance in 2022.

Charming Tevye the Heart and Soul of Fiddler on the Roof

Over the course of Fiddler on the Roof’s two-hour and twenty-minute running time, Tevye, the central character of the musical serves as the protagonist, narrator, and tour guide of Anatevka. His comical asides and introductions help to orient audiences not just to the events and characters of the show, but also to Jewish customs and religious significance. Tevye and his family stand out against the dull, muted colors of backdrops that fly in and out to delineate various village settings, ensuring that the focus remains on Tevye and his family rather than any technical wizardry or fancy stagecraft.

It is hard to imagine what an actor stepping into the shoes of a role made famous by Zero Mostel might feel, but in the capable hands of performer Yehezkel Lazarov, you might just forget there was ever another notable performance. Brimming with warmth, wit, and broad facial expressions, Lazarov crafts a lovable character that audiences just can’t help but root for. At the same time, it’s these very characteristics—and the way they vanish under duress—that makes the story’s dramatic second act turn all the more impactful.

Broadway in Chicago Production Given New Resonance During this Historical Moment

Although the muted, sepia-toned costumes and scenic elements transport you to the early 1900s, Fiddler on the Roof, presented by Broadway in Chicago, offers insight into current talking points around family, tradition, progress, and Russian imperialism. These connections were underscored on opening night when Yehezkel Lazarov, quieted the audience at the curtain call to dedicate the performance to the refugees of Ukraine fighting for sovereignty against Russia. While a classic musical known for such popular songs as Matchmaker and If I Was a Rich Man,  Fiddler on the Roof is as much a drama on enduring themes as it is an evening of musical theatre escapism.

 

WHEN:

May 17 - May 22, 202

Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, May 18 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm
Thursday, May 189 at 7:30 pm
Friday, May 20 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 21 at 2 pm and 8 pm
Sunday, May 22 at 2 pm

WHERE:

Broadway In Chicago
151 W. Randolph St.
Chicago

TICKETS:

$31+

For more information and tickets visit the Broadway In Chicago website.

CAST:

star Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye joined by Maite Uzal as Golde, Andrew Hendrick as Lazar Wolf, Brooke Wetterhahn as Yente, Kelly Gabrielle Murphy as Tzeitel, Ruthy Froch as Hodel, Noa Luz Barenblat as Chava, Daniel Kushner as Motel, Solomon Reynolds as Perchik, Jack O’Brien as Fyedka and Jason Thomas Sofge as Constable.

CREATIVE TEAM:

Musical supervision by Tony Award®-winner Ted Sperling, scenic design by Tony Award®-winner Michael Yeargan, costume design by Tony Award®-winner Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Donald Holder, sound design by Tony Award®-winner Scott Lehrer and Alex Neumann and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Jason Styres, CSA.

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Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

Photos: Joan Marcus

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Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

About the Author: Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

Brent fell in love with storytelling as a 2nd grader, making a movie about wizards in his backyard with his mother's borrowed camcorder. Since then, he has worked on countless creative projects as a filmmaker, writer, and stage director. In all of his work, Brent's goal is to foster creative experiences that offer others a deeper understanding of the impact their choices have on the world around them.

When he isn't working on a creative project, Brent enjoys trying out new recipes, attending live concerts, and playing Ultimate Frisbee. While he wouldn't claim to be particularly athletic, competing in pick-up games where "spirit of the game" is just as important as skill is right up his alley.

Read more about him and other Picture this Post writers on the Picture this Post Masthead.

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