Based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed and Choreographed by David H. Bell
Musical Director Doug Peck
At the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire
Fiddler still celebrates the human spirit
Director David H. Bell’s curious decisions and provocative casting choices made his production of the classic Fiddler on the Roof a strange affair. Granted accommodations must be made for Marriott Theatre’s in-the-round stage, the cluttered opening scene and some casting choices muddled an other wise solid production.
The strength of this production comes from musical arrangements by Doug Peck has been sculpted to stress the soulful, Klezmer qualities of Bock and Harnick’s sumptuous score. The ensemble work was excellent. Paula Scrofano’s Golde and the three daughters: Dara Cameron (Hodel), Jessie Mueller (Tzeitel) and Laura Scheinbaum (Chaava) each did yeomen work. David Girolmo (Lazar Wolf) and Justin Berkobien (Perchik) gave strong performances.
My main problem with this solid production was the miscast Ross Lehman as Tevye. While I love Lehman’s body of work, I do believe he is one of the finest, funniest comic actors working on stage, he is not appropriate to play Tevye. Try as he might, Lehamn can’t help but play the devout religious defender of his traditions without the bittersweet, sharp-edged Jewish humor. Lehman’s tendency to milk bits to mind all their humor tends to make Tevye more of a clown than a troubled man trying to maintain a balance in a changing world. I just couldn’t believe Lehman’s interpretation of Tevye. Yet, I must say that the opening night audience seemed to love the funny spin Lehman put on the milk man as he struggles with his three daughters strong wills.
Taken as a complete musical, this Fiddler does contain enough of the essence Sholem Aleichem’ s stories of the Jews living in 1905 Russia to satisfy most audiences.
Fiddler on the Roof will continue through April 25, 2010 at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. The show runs 2 hours 40 minutes with intermission. Performances are Wednesday at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 and there are student and senior discounts available, but not on Friday and Saturday nights. Dinner packages are available, so call the box office at 847-634-0200 or visit www.Marriotttheatre.com.