"Fiddler on the Roof"
Book by Joseph Stein; music by Jerry Bock; lyrics by Sheldon Harnick; directed by Sammy Dallas Bayes; original choreography by Jerome Robbins reproduced by Sammy Dallas Bayles; lighting design by Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz; costume design by Tony Ray Hicks; scenic design by Steve Gilliam; sound design by Duncan Robert Edwards; orchestrations by Larry Blank; music director, David Andrews Rogers; assistant director/choreographer, Ken Daigle
Tevye, Topol; Golde, Susan Cella; Tzeitel, Rena Strober; Hodel, Jamie Davis; Chava, Deborah Grausman; Shprintze, Kerry Alexander; Beilke, Hannah DelMonte; Yente, The Matchmaker, Mary Stout; Motel, The Tailor, Erik Liberman; Perchik, The Student, Colby Foytik; Lazar Wolf, The Butcher, David Brummel; Mordcha, The Innkeeper, Larry Block; Rabbi, Joel Bernstein; Mendel, The Rabbi's Son, Gary Brintz; Avram, The Bookseller, Michael J. Farina; Nachum, The Beggar, Rick Pessagno; Grandma Tzeitel, Hannah DelMonte; Fruma-Sarah, Sean Patrick Doyle; Constable, Stephen Lee Anderson; Fyedka, Eric Van Tielen; Sasha, Matthew Marks; Boris, David W. Gilleo; Vladimir, Scott Leiendecker; Misha, Trevor Illingworth; The Fiddler, Arthur A. Atkinson
Performances: Now through November 15, Opera House, 539 Washington Street, Boston, Mass.
Tickets: Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787, BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com/Boston, or The Colonial Theatre Box Office, 106 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass.
Acclaimed international actor Topol may not be as robust a Tevye as he once was when he starred in the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof some 37 years ago. But that didn't stop an adoring audience from leaping to its feet and cheering when the 74-year-old legend took his solo bow on opening night at the Opera House in Boston last week. Starring in a "farewell tour" of the beloved musical that made the Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee famous, Topol has replaced his former peacock swagger with rueful winks and gestures, his younger irreverent bluster with reluctantly accepting sighs. But what he may lack in vigor he now makes up for with hard-won wisdom. Less clownish and more deeply feeling than in his earlier days, Topol's current Tevye exudes a palpable world-weary humanity. Visibly tired and deliberately slow moving, he now seems to be carrying the weight of Anatevka on his shoulders.
For the most part this sadder, more somber Fiddler makes Joseph Stein's book, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, even more touching and timeless than ever. We feel and see the effects of the crushing oppression of Tsarist Russia in the hunched backs and fretted brows of work-a-day turn-of-the-20th-century Jews whose faith keeps them optimistic as they scratch out a living in their Little Village on The Edge of extinction. We ache for both the elders and the youths as they each struggle to balance the onslaught of change with the importance of tradition. We also marvel at the power of love as it flourishes amidst war, poverty and revolution, bridging generations, politics, and even steadfast religious beliefs.