Entertainment :: Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof

by Will Demers
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 27, 2012
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The cast of ’Fiddler’ at PPAC
The cast of ’Fiddler’ at PPAC  

There was a time when tradition and custom ruled our lives and those of our neighbors, it simply was that you followed what all of your ancestors did before you as well as your current family. It’s hard to believe in this day and age, but if you can transport yourself back to a time long ago where such things were commonplace you might visit a small town in Tsarist Russia called Anatevka.

It is here that we are introduced to our main characters, Tevya, his wife Golde, and his three daughters. Tevya is a humble milkman, which means he is quite poor and in arranging marriage for his girls, he’d prefer all the suitors to be quite rich. If tradition is the center of the story, this is where everything goes wrong and each rule of simple life for Anatevka is broken.

Prather Entertainment Group’s production of "Fiddler on the Roof" brings the classic musical back to Providence. This production is full of bright, if not uneven moments. Jimmy Ferraro’s Tevya is appropriately portly and loud; his voice is clearly up to the challenge of his numbers ("Tradition" "If I Were a Rich Man") but seems quite young to portray the world weary patriarch.

Jimmy Ferraro’s Tevya is appropriately portly and loud; his voice is clearly up to the challenge of his numbers ("Tradition" "If I Were a Rich Man") but seems quite young to portray the world weary patriarch.

Dee Etta Rowe’s Golde is better; her portrayal of the poor man’s wife clinging to old ways is full of comic moments. The three daughters, Tzeitel (Colleen E. Johnson) Hodel (Elizabeth McMonagle) and Chava (Tina Marie Connell) are all delightful; McMonagle’s voice is one of the strongest in the cast.

Patrick Heffernan’s Perchick is competent in the role but his voice lacks the range needed for such an important character. The rest of the production is fairly solid in pace, Dean Sobon’s direction keeps the action moving quickly, most notable is the fact that Lauren Loercher-Sobon has reproduced Jerome Robbins’ original choreography and for this show, it works flawlessly (Robbins was the director and choreographer of the original New York stage production in 1965).

If there is anything lacking here, it is the final scenes. The heartbreaking casting out of the townspeople by the constable and his minions as well as the closing song (Finale) are a bit of an anticlimax.

But tradition and custom are the main themes here, and we get the message just fine.

"Fiddler on the Roof" ran through Nov. 25 at Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street #2 in Providence. For info or tickets call 401-421-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ppac.org.

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