Sunday, December 23, 2018

Review: Fiddler On The Roof

We saw the touring production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (now through January 6, 2019) and it is really great.

When seeing a classic show like this, the quality of the story and the songs are already a known item.  It's the execution of it that makes all the difference, and in this case, the music is strong, the actors are great, and the choreography is outstanding.  The video below says it's fresh and exciting, and this is truth in advertising.  It's well worth seeing.

The opening of the show was particularly exciting for me.

Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye
photo by Joan Marcus
Israeli actor Yehezkel Lazarov plays Tevye, and he appears on the stage wearing what appears to be a hoodie.  He starts by reading a few lines from a book, and as he reads I'm wondering what's going on.  This isn't part of the play.  He's reading what appears to be  the first few lines of the book on which Fiddler is based Tevye the Dairyman by Sholom Aleichem  (well worth reading if you haven't).

As he finishes reading, the song Tradition starts up, and he pulls down his hoodie and it turns into a prayer shawl.  And we are onto the musical!  But the stage is completely blank, and the characters (the mommas, the poppas, the sons, the daughters, etc.) all appear from behind these door panels that are quickly carried on and off via choreography. The dancing is all very physical and kind of quirky, and there's almost no set, and I am entranced!  It's a completely non-traditional way to do this song, which is ironic because the song is Tradition.  The empty stage and the panels appearing remind of Peter Brook, and the dancing is like Merce Cunningham, and I am super excited.  I wonder if the whole production is going to be like this.  And how daring that would be!

The song ends, there's rousing applause, and then the sets fly in, and to my slight disappointment they are pretty traditional-- a house and a tree.  And they look like a house and a tree.  I am not disappointed for long, as the production values are high, and the production itself is great.  The dancing throughout is exceptional, and all of the cast members do a fantastic job of making the play memorable.

A traditional bottle dance as part of the Wedding.  Photo by Joan Marcus.
Photo via Instagram
The show is full of classic comedy moments and great songs.  I particularly loved all of Tevye's asides to God, or asides to the audience. SPOILER ALERT (but really, you don't know the story?  It's been since 1964!)   In the first act, Tevye convinces his wife that he dreamed a bad omen, and his daughter can't marry the butcher.  The dream is fantastic, with weird stilt people dancing around, and with lights, sound and dance they create a very realistic nightmare. His wife is convinced.  Later, his second daughter wants to marry a poor student, and Tevye finally agrees, saying that he will convince his wife Goldie somehow.  He then turns to the audience and says, "Another dream?"  It got a huge response.

In this rendition of If I Were A Rich Man,  you can see how well they get the feeling of a daydream which really got the daydream feeling "What would I do if I won the lottery!"  (video via Instagram)
There's also a lot of sadness in the show.  The Jewish community is eventually forced out of the little town of Anatevka, and the family gets ready to move to America.  I realized that this might have very well been my ancestor's story.  My great great grandparents came to America in the 1870's fleeing the Russian pogroms.  It touched me in a way that I hadn't realized, despite the fact that I have seen different productions of the show three or four times.

 The music and acting are great, the dancing is phenomenal,  and the story is a classic.  You should definitely not miss this production!

Here's another montage of the show through the FiddlerBroadway Instagram. (Which by the way, has a lot of great behind the scenes content.)

The show runs at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) through January 6, 2019.


Tuesdays at 7:30PM (no performance on Dec. 25)
Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM (no matinee performance on Dec. 19)
Thursdays at 7:30PM
Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM (no evening performance on Jan. 6)


Tickets are currently on-sale to the public and range in price from $25-$98.  Discounts for the show ($39-$79) are available on Goldstar. (affiliate link)

For more information, visit or

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