If I were a rich man, I would pay the many kopecks needed for front row tickets to Fiddler on the Roof. Still, I was able to scrape together enough coin for a pair of seats. This was the second Russia themed show of the season, after Anastasia. Do I detect collusion? Theater tickets coincident with the SOTU was a blessing.
Fiddler debuted in 1964. I’d seen it before, both the movie and live at the Muny. This musical tells the story of Russian-Jewish shtetl life at the dawn of the 20th-century, through everyman protagonist, Tevye, a dairy man. Blessed with five daughters, their marriage prospects are a central theme. A good-natured man, he finds himself on the cusp of change and trapped between tradition and the new ideas. His conversations with God punctuate his daily travails.
I enjoyed hearing all of the old songs again (Matchmaker, If I were a Rich Man and Sunrise, Sunset) and the dance numbers were well performed. The one where the dancers balanced bottles on their heads was amazing. Everything about this show was well done. Still, unlike other recent revivals, this one did not break any new ground. Other revivals have cranked up their production values, adding a new measure of gilt. Fiddler fitting its often somber tableau was more muted, especially its lighting, which was too dark.
Accompanying this post is a video created by Justin Barr. This movie shows a drone fly through of the Fox theater. It highlights this theater’s gorgeous faux Siamese-Byzantine décor, especially the glowing orb at the auditorium’s apex. The Fabulous Fox theater is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, with among other things, ninety cent candy bars at the concession stand.