As someone who usually tries to steer clear of “classical” musicals, I was excited to have the opportunity to check out the national tour of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF that is taking the stage at the Old National Centre.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, written by Broadway legends Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiorello!, The Apple Tree, She Loves Me), tells the story of Tevye and his family in a Tsarist Russia in the early part of the 1900’s. Audience members experience a gamut of emotions through Tevye’s experience in his small (mostly) Jewish village.
Even though the musical was written in 1964 and is considered “dated” by many, one can still find many relevant moments throughout the piece. Though set in a very specific time and place in history, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is an absolute must-see for anyone who calls themselves a lover of the theatre.
This touring production left me with many positive things to say, so I’ll be brief. As FIDDLER ON THE ROOF tells the story of Tevye AND a community, a large cast is necessary. This cast of more than thirty performers left me awestruck with their huge ensemble numbers. The vocal quality I was hearing was so rich, full, and beautiful. As a performer myself, obviously the vocal direction for this show gets two thumbs up from me. I was also very impressed by the sound of the three sisters. Normally, when I hear someone singing music from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, they sing it as classically as possible. Not these three ladies. The three sisters (played by Brooke Hills, Sarah Sesler, and Chelsey LeBel), brought a more modern color and “ping” to their famous trio, “Matchmaker.” My favorite musical number in the whole show, “The Dream,” definitely does not disappoint. I will not give it all away, but when dead relatives (Fruma Sarah and Grandma Tzeitel) come back in a musical number, you know it is worth watching. And last but not least, I was definitely impressed with the fluidity of this set. The set seamlessly went from home to tailor shop, etc. and back again.