Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA
through July 14, 2012
by Walt Haggerty
Once again Barrington Stage Company, that shining star in the Berkshires, has breathed new life into one of Broadway’s “Golden Age” classic musicals, and the results are incredible. This “Fiddler on the Roof” is not just another revival. Under the astute direction and inventive choreography of Gary John La Rosa, the company has found the true heart within the story of Tevye, his wife Golde, and their daughters.
The wonderful music of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick is all here – “Tradition,” the perfect opening, becomes the theme of the evening, followed by “Matchmaker,” performed with warmth and humor by the daughters. Next comes, “If I Were a Rich Man,” impeccably delivered by Brad Oscar as Tevye. An exuberant “Miracle of Miracles” becomes a joyous anthem through Colin Israel’s Motel the tailor. Tevye and Golde capture every nuance of tender memories in “Sunrise, Sunset” and Stephanie Lynne Mason’s “Far From the Home I Love” elicits tears as she bids her father farewell in one of the most touching moments of this memorable production.
Performances by the large cast are uniformly award-worthy. Oscar’s Tevye doesn’t miss a laugh, but behind the humor his love and caring shine through. Joanna Glushak resists turning Golde into simply a shrewish wife with a moving portrayal of a loving and caring soul mate and mother who knows, loves, and understands her family.
Rebecca Kuznick as Tzeitel and Dawn Rother as Chava create unique personalities as they grow in independence. Rother’s goodbye, as her family leaves Anatevka, is especially touching. Alexander Levin’s Perchick is every inch the committed revolutionary. Rachel Coloff’s Yente the Matchmaker, gives her character broad strokes of humor, but never exceeds believability.
The term “summer theatre” has a casual tone that suggests productions that are quickly assembled for a week or two and not necessarily first class. That is definitely not the case at Barrington Stage. There, professionalism is evident in every aspect of this production from colorful sets and costumes to an excellent orchestra directed by Darren Cohen.
For a rewarding evening of professional musical theatre, with a top-drawer company, don’t miss “Fiddler” at Barrington Stage.