Fiddler On The Roof at Light Opera Works

Based on Sholem Aleichem storieslight opera works

Book by Joseph Stein

Music by Jerry Bock

Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

Directed & Choreographed by Rudy Hogenmiller

Conducted by Roger L. Bingaman

Produced by Light Opera Works

At Cahn Auditorium, Evanston

Traditions upheld in tightly produced remount of Fiddler

It is refreshing to witness a classical musical presented without any cuts, either musically or scenes. Light Opera Works’ trademark is their use of a full, 28 person orchestra to garner a full homage to the original score. Conductor Roger L. Bingaman has his musicians in fine tune. Director/Choreographer Rudy Hogenmiller meticulously keeps every detail true to the original. Thus the tradition of the story basically about tradition is upheld. How fitting!

Fiddler on the Roof, based on the short story Tevye and His Daughters” by Sholom Aleichem, was one of the first musicals to defy Broadway’s established rules of commercial success. It dealt with serious issues such as persecution, poverty, and the struggle to hold on to one’s beliefs in the midst of a hostile and chaotic environment.

Fiddler on the Roof light opera works

Criticized at first for its “limited appeal”, Fiddler on the Roof struck such a universal chord in audiences that it became, for a time, the longest running production (3,767 performances) in the history of Broadway.

Fiddler on the Roof light opera works
Set in 1905, Fiddler on the Roof takes place in Anatevka, a small Jewish village in Russia. The story revolves around the dairyman Tevye  (Alex Honzen) and his attempts to preserve his family’s traditions in the face of a changing world. When his eldest daughter, Tzeitel (Yael Wartens), begs him to let her marry a poor tailor, Mortel (Neil Stratman) rather than the middle-aged butcher that he has already chosen for her, Tevye must choose between his own daughter’s happiness and those beloved traditions that keep the outside world at bay. Meanwhile, there are other forces at work in Anatevka, dangerous forces, which threaten to destroy the very life, he is trying to preserve.

With emotional songs like “To Life,” “Miracle of Miracle,” “Now I Have Everything,” and “Do You Love Me?,” Fiddler on the Roof races to our hearts and souls allowing us to empathize with Tevye and the folks of Anatevka. The stirring score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick is hauntingly memorable.

Fiddler on the Roof

Alex Honzen, in fine rich bass baritone voice,  gave the milkman a quiet dignity and genuine honesty seldom seen in those who portray Tevye. His sparkling eyes and wide smile were winning and his powerful vocals delivered his numbers with grace. Marian Kaderbeck as Yente, the matchmaker had feisty energy as she flawlessly delivered the raw Jewish humor throughout.

Fiddler on the Roof loght opera works

From Jenny Lamb as Golde to Yael Wartensx as Tzeitel to Katelin Spencer as Hodel to Meredith Kochan as Chava, these women deliver wonderful singing and fine acting to the show. Neil Stratman as Motel and Tim Rebers as Perchik sold their songs with all the joy and energy of smitten lovers. Rudy Hogenmiller’s Choreography rendered the Cossack dance in the “To Life” with verve, the bottle dance number at the wedding was polished and well executed.

Fiddler on the Roof light opera works
Fiddler on the Roof is a classic Broadway musical with a special look and feel that is irresistible to audiences. The melodic songs resonate in the soul and the fate of the Jews of Anatevka foreshadows the Holocaust to come forty years later. The lessons in tolerance still apply today and the strength of tradition is still a vital part of the social order. Fiddler on the Roof gave humanity to these noble ideals. I can enjoy Fiddler every few years; it never fails to move me. Alex Honzen’s empathetic Tevye anchored this brilliant production. The tradition is, indeed, upheld.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson, Evanston, IL, call 847-920-5360, www.musictheaterworks.com, tickets $34 – $94, Wed. Aug. 13 at 2 pm, Friday, Aug 15 at 8 pm, Saturday, Aug 16 at 8 pm,  Sunday, Aug 17 at 2 pm, Wed Aug 20 at 2 pm, Saturday Aug 23 at 8 pm, Sunday, Aug 24 at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 55 minutes with intermission, through August 24, 2104

Here is are clips from the film of Fiddler On The Roof:

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