Note from Ken K: I am lucky enough to be working in this production at Beef and Boards, so I invited my good friend, Adam Crowe to attend our Media Night and offer up a review. He wrote down his impressions and sent them along to me, so here they are:
Growing up in North Central Indiana, I probably saw at least one movie per week at our local movie theater. But I only remember going to see a movie with both of my parents one time – “Fiddler on the Roof”. 40 plus years later, I realized that I had never seen the actual stage version. My thanks to Ken for the chance to correct that deficiency and to Beef & Boards for celebrating this 50th Anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof!
If you are reading this blog, it is unlikely that you aren’t familiar with Fiddler on the Roof. Written by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein, Fiddler opened on Broadway in 1964 and became the first Broadway musical to surpass 3000 performances. Through film, and professional, community and school theaters, Fiddler has become ingrained in American popular culture. In fact, Fiddler is such a part of American culture, it has adapted even as our culture has changed. The song “Sunrise, Sunset”, often played at weddings, was slightly re-written by Harnick in 2011, so as to supply two new versions of the song, suitable for same-sex weddings.
Regular readers of ASOTA are already familiar with Beef & Boards, and I can only echo what has often been said about their fantastic service – from the minute you enter the building! Once everyone had finished their delicious dinners and the show began, Saturday night’s audience was transported to Anatevka – a small 19th Century village populated by an array of delightful characters – brought to life by an assortment of terrific actors.
Beef & Boards owner Douglas E. Stark has said that Tevye is his favorite role – and his enthusiasm shines through in his performance. It also infects the cast around him, who breathe life into the daily toils and joys of Anatevka. Beef & Boards has assembled a talented group of performers, with special mention going to Mark Goetzinger’s lonely Lazar Wolf, Lynne Perkins’ loving but practical Golde, and Licia Watson’s fast talking Yenta. Ms. Watson also doubles in the gravity defying role of Fruma-Sarah, and the audience gasped as she wheeled around the stage in Tevye’s Nightmare.
Tradition is not just a part of the story, but part of the musical’s structure as well. Fiddler presents several stories of young love, as Tevye’s daughters come of age and meet their spouses-to-be. All three of Tevye’s daughters (Joanna Krupnik, Mariana Weisler and Mary-Elizabeth Milton) turn in beautifully sung performances, while their three suitors, played by Josh Levinson, Justin Colombo, and Ivan Jordan Subsara, were equally engaging.
The remainder of the ensemble is great fun, with Michael Davis, Keith Potts, Jordan Moody and Carrie Neal (and Carrie’s daughters Lucy and Mallory) adding verve and character to the village. Ken Klingenmeier brings the menace as the local Constable and Lew Hackleman gets some fun zingers as the village Rabbi. Both help keep the show’s feet planted firmly in Czarist Russia.
Directed by Eddie Curry, with musical direction by Terry Woods, Fiddler’s technical aspects are as seamless as one would expect from Beef & Boards. Jill Kelly’s costumes integrate beautifully with Ryan Koharchik’s lighting design and Michael Layton’s scenic design.
I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate, whether it be your own family occasion or to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of an American Musical Theater classic. Beef & Boards’ Fiddler on the Roof provides a warm and sometimes bittersweet remembrance of family, love and yes, Tradition.
Fiddler on the Roof continues its run through November 23rd. You can find out more about the schedule and reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at (317) 872-9664, or by going to the website at http://www.beefandboards.com.
* – Photos by Julie Curry