Timeless musical 'Fiddler on the Roof' still finds new ways to impress

Saturday, February 23, 2019 | by: Mat DeKinder

It’s tough to get more iconic than “Fiddler on the Roof” when it comes to musicals. This bittersweet depiction of Jewish life in Russia at the dawn of the 20th century has been performed everywhere from the lights of Broadway to countless high school auditoriums.

The show is timeless and, even so, it can still find new ways to impress, like the touring production, playing now through Feb. 10, at the Fox Theatre, proves.

The dancing and choreography steal the show here as acrobatic skill meets traditional folk dancing, especially in the numbers “To Life” and “The Wedding.”

Of course, no matter how good the dancing or set design or anything else is, any production of “Fiddler on the Roof” lives and dies with its Tevye, the good-natured milkman “blessed” with five daughters and our guide through this quaint and turbulent village.

Score another one for this production, as Israeli actor Yehezkel Lazarov is excellent as he plays both the comedy and heartbreak of the role with equal levels of success.

The rest of the cast fills in nicely with solid performances throughout.

“Fiddler on the Roof” has always been a front-loaded musical with all of the iconic songs (“Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Miracle of Miracles” and “Sunrise, Sunset”) and dance numbers coming in the first act.

The second act swirls with drama as the tension mounts between Russian officials and the Jewish citizens of the village of Annatevka. What makes this musical so compelling is how it deftly portrays the cruelty and discrimination Jews faced in Europe in the first part of the 20th century while simultaneously showcasing the joys and dramas of village life of a persecuted people.

At its heart, “Fiddler on the Roof” is about change (for better or worse) and how we can choose to adapt to it or let it flatten us in our tracks. To be able to handle it all with a laugh, a drink and a tear is something we all should aspire to.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is playing now through Feb. 10, at the Fox Theatre. For tickets, call 314-534-1111 or go to metrotix.com.

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Filed Under: theater reviews