Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 12, 2012

Fiddler on the Roof

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through April 15, 2012
by Walter Haggerty

“Fiddler on the Roof,” considered by many to be the last production deserving of inclusion in “The Golden Age of Broadway Musicals,” is an especially enjoyable revival at the Bushnell. Opening night’s near-capacity audience, many of whom were clearly familiar with the show, demonstrated their appreciation with generous applause and a standing ovation at the conclusion.

John Peerce, on his tenth national tour of “Fiddler,” with more than 1,780 performances as Tevye behind him, delivers an excellent performance – humorous, heartfelt, touching when appropriate, but never over the top. Gerri Weagraff, a youngish Golde, has her best moments with Peerce in the Act II duet, “Do You Love Me?”

From “Tradition,” the opening number of the production, all the way to the final strains of “Anatevka,” the score reflects the genius of the composers in their ability to create songs that match the spirit of each character and yet could stand alone independent of the award-winning, Joseph Stein book. Following “Tradition,” the other favorite selections flow as a lush, melodic bounty with “If I Were A Rich Man,” “To Life,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Now I Have Everything,” and “Far From the Home I Love.”

As the daughters, Brooke Hills as Tzeitel, Sara Sesler as Hodel, and Chelsey LeBel as Chava are each excellent in their distinctive characterizations that allow their love for their parents to shine through their desire for independence.

Asndrew Boza as Motel, the Tailor, gives a standout performance, especially in his delivery of “Miracle of Miracles.” Also impressive is Joshua Phan-Gruber’s  perceptive interpretation of the role of Perchik, the Student.

The choreography, credited to Director/Choreographer, Sammy Dallas Bayes and Assistant Director and Choreographer, Ken Daigle, as reproduced from Jerome Robbins original, is outstanding and a tribute to its originator.

For an introduction to “Fiddler,” as one of the great iconic Broadway musicals, or to relive treasured theatre-going memories of the past, this is a production well worth visiting