Successful Sold-Out Performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” at NTC
Novato Theater Company brings Tevye’s Russian village, Anatevka, to life with an outstanding cast, great choreography by Kate Kenyon, and excellent directing by award-winning Director Pat Nims and Musical Director, Carl Oser. The cast includes 24 actors and 5 musicians.
One of the most popular musicals in history, Fiddler on the Roof was written in 1964 with Book by Joseph Stein, Music by Jerry Bock, and Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.
Fiddler on the Roof is the story of family, love, change and tradition. Its defining statement is spoken by the philosophizing milkman Tevye at the end of the first song “Tradition”: “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!” Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem, who himself had to flee the tumultuous times of early 20th century Imperial Russia, Fiddler captures the heart of a people seemingly forced to be on the move. Set in 1905, Fiddler brings Aleichem’s tales to life.
Michael Walraven stars as Tevye the milkman and carries the show with an outstanding performance. He is given able assistance by wife Golde (Paula Gianetti). Both must cope with the strong-willed actions of their three older daughters and each of their miss-choice for a husband. Tevye tries to arrange a marriage for his first daughter Tzeitel (Bouket Fingerhut) to the wealthy butcher Lazar Wolf (Patrick Barr) which he must undo when Tzeitel professes her love for the poor tailor Motel (James Gregory). When Tevye’s second daughter Hodel (Gina Madory), falls in love with the poor student revolutionary Perchik (Ben Knoll), Tevye loses his dream again. As each of his daughters depart from their culture’s long-time traditions, with the mild Tzeitel marrying for love to the severe Chava (played by Bessie Zolno) falling in love with a non-Jewish Russian Fyedka (Nicholas Moore), Tevye loses his dream yet again. Michael Walraven has some wonderful scenes as he talks to G-d about his dilemma.
From the first sweet notes of “Tradition” through the hearty “To Life To Life LeChaim” to the poignant spirit of “Anatevka,” Musical Director Carl Oser handles these famous songs with pleasing finesse. Director Pat Nims and Choreographer Kate Kenyon recreate the rough grace and exciting energy with gliding circles and boisterous folk dances.
Amy Dietz is a capable, bothersome Yente – the matchmaker – and Patrick Barr is a reasonably solid Lazar Wolf, but it’s the daughters who challenge and erode Tevye’s treasured traditions and who provide the chief dramatic and musical joys, edging the shtetl’s inhabitants into a new world.
The daughters’ “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” is a delight; “To Life To Life…” and “Wedding Dance” explode with energy, and the swell of “Tradition” and “Sabbath Prayer” and “Sunrise and Sunset” work with unusual charm.
Fiddler on the Roof will run at the Novato Theater Company Playhouse from March 27th through April 26th. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with Sunday Matinees at 2pm. There will be one Thursday show on April 23rd at 8pm.
For tickets, call 415-883-4498 or go online at www.novatotheatercompany.org
Coming up next at Novato Theater Company will be Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith, with Director Billie Cox, from May 21 through June 14, 2015.
FLORA LYNN ISAACSON
Photos by Mark Clark