Garland Summer Musicals
(in Partnership with Eastfield College)
Director – Michael Serrecchia
Musical Director—Mark Mullino
Scenic Designer – Rodney Dobbs
Lighting Designer—Susan A. White
Sound Designer – Tyler Payne
Costume Designer – Michael A. Robinson, Suzi Cranford, Dallas Costume Shoppe
The Fiddler—Edward Treminio
Golde, his wife – Noelle Mason
Tzeitel– Natalie Willingham
Shprintze—Lily Kate Forbes
Lazar Wolf-Neil Rogers
Rabbi—Steven E. Beene
Nachum—Joel M. Earley
Grandma Tzeitel—Linda Frank
Two Young Boys—Nate Ferguson, Ethan James Long
Solo Tenor—Jonathan McInnis
Bottle Dancers—Nick Chabot, Kyle Fleig, Adam Henley, Ivan Jones, Mark Quach, Kenny Questell, Sammy Swim, Brad Weatherford
Russians—Nick Chabot, Chris Clark, Adam Henley, Kyle Fleig, Jonathan McInnis
Ensemble—Chloe Bonner, Stephanie Butler, Christia Caudle, Kally Duncan, Elizabeth Drake, Skylar Duvall, Ellen Eberhardt, Emily-Kate Ivey, Nancy Lopez, Jackie Malish, Brooklyn McDaris, Kelsey Oudshoorn, Heather Willingham, Kimberley Yoxall
Reviewed Performance 6/18/2016
Reviewed by Genevieve Croft , Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Based on a series of short stories of Sholem Aleichem, Tevye and his Daughters was the inspiration of the popular Broadway staple, Fiddler on the Roof. Fiddler on the Roof has lovingly worked its way into the hearts of audiences since its Broadway premiere in 1964. Not only are audiences familiar with the story but, audiences have also been exposed to the music for many years. From Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man” on the 1966 album “What Now My Love,” to hearing “Sunrise, Sunset” at many wedding ceremonies (I danced to this song with my Dad at my own wedding). Fiddler on the Roof still remains a popular musical theatre standard-from high school theatre programs, to the most recent revival on Broadway starring Tony nominated actor Danny Burstein as Tevye, and nominated for a 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. No matter what the venue, Fiddler continues to be as in-demand as it was when in premiered in 1964 on Broadway.
Fiddler on the Roof is told from the perspective of Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters. He explains the customs of the Jews in the Russian village of Anatevka in 1905, where without their traditions, their lives would be as “shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof.” Customs, religion and traditions are very important and symbolic in the villagers’ lives. When things start to change, slowly the image and symbolism of the Fiddler dissipates, allowing the audience to anticipate the forthcoming changes in the lives of the people of Anatevka. As an avid theatre-goer, Fiddler on the Roof is one of my all-time favorite musicals. Not only does it tell a wonderful story (with characters that audiences can feel for and relate to) but, the music is so extraordinarily catchy. No matter how many times I see this show, whenever I hear the opening violin notes, and Tevye begins to weave the narrative of how his little village thrives upon “tradition,” I get goose bumps. Because of this, I often have high expectations of any production of Fiddler on the Roof. The Garland Summer Musicals production of Fiddler does not disappoint.
Director Michael Serrecchia brought together an ensemble cast which worked well together, and collaborated with a crew who clearly took their jobs seriously and knit together scenery, lighting and costumes that enhanced the story being told by these familiar characters, which have etched their way into musical theatre history, and into the cast of characters often referenced in popular culture. Mr.Serrecchia wonderfully delivers in the role of director for this production.
Set Designer Rodney Dobbs took us into the heart of the small village of Anatevka, a wonderfully picturesque depiction of Russia in 1905. There were many surprises that came along with the set and overall design. I was most impressed with the overall first impression of simplicity (the exterior and interior of Tevye’s home) and the scenes in the village. Then, as the story progressed, the set transformed into many other locations such as the tavern, Motel’s tailor shop, and the train station. The transitions were seamless and kept the tempo and energy of the plot moving. I was impressed with his attention to detail in creating the details of Anatevka, and by allowing simple changes to take place within the set- and create many locations within the village.
Lighting was designed by Susan A. White. Lighting, like the scenic design, was also very intricate, and executed in a very professional manner. The mood was clearly established as the audience was drawn into the world of the play. It is apparent that there was quite a bit of time and talent devoted to creating the lighting of this production. Often times, I feel that lighting can sometimes be an afterthought, especially in a production as straight-forward as this one. There was a representation of night and day, and time progression, however it was visually pleasing and satisfying to see such lovely colors come to life in the background-specifically the subtle transitions between morning and evening sky during the notable number “Sunrise, Sunset,” and during “Sabbath Prayer.” It was a treat to see some lovely silhouettes of the villagers of Anatevka appear one family at a time with their Sabbath tables, and prayer candles surrounding the stage, while the main focus was on the Sabbath table in Tevye’s home center stage. It was a nice contrast to see something very simple project such a dramatic and symbolic moment-especially when suddenly materialized on stage. It was a very nice touch that certainly added magic to the production. In addition, I also enjoyed seeing consistency within the lighting design-especially during the moments when Tevye would directly communicate some of these thoughts with himself, the audience or when speaking with God. Lighting was well-executed, and was certainly as dramatic as the action on stage.
Costumes were designed by Michael A Robinson and Suzi Cranford of the Dallas Costume Shoppe. Each period costume had a fine attention to detail. As I have come to expect, anytime Michael Robinson, Suzi Cranford or the Dallas Costume Shoppe is involved artistically, audiences are guaranteed to see visually appealing, stunning, and character-appropriate wardrobe that intensifies the allusion of the production, while enhancing the realism of the characters in the story. Each costume gave an honest and accurate depiction of the time period. Even with a large ensemble, I never felt that the costumes were the “same.” There were unique and interesting details that set each one apart from another, and gave depth and importance to each villager in the town-no matter how big or small the character in the story.
Randy Pearlman was very remarkable in the role of Tevye. Through facial expressions, an impressive and powerful voice, and a strong presence on stage, Pearlman convincingly portrayed the father and hard-working dairyman who longed to hold on to traditions, and to the customs that have shaped his life. Slowly, as these traditions and customs start to slip away, Tevye begins to adapt and change-I felt this was depicted very well by Mr. Pearlman. Tevye can be a very complex character to portray. Not only does he directly address the audience with his powerful narration, but, he also communicates on a very personal level with God, and with his family and the friends in his life. I felt that Mr. Pearlman was very convincing in this role, and was the epitome of what audiences should expect from an actor portraying this role. His presence on stage is nearly constant, and his performance was impressive and dynamic. I guarantee you will feel pressed to sing along with “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Tradition”-specifically when led by Mr. Pearlman.
Another standout performance was Noelle Mason in the role of Golde, Tevye’s wife. Ms. Mason provided the appropriate touch of humor to the story, while also displaying some excellent chemistry with her husband, and with local matchmaker, Yente. There were some genuinely honest moments on stage, as Ms. Mason provided feminine representation of traditional life, as the wife and mother of the home.
Fiddler on the Roof is definitely worth seeing. The meticulous and care for detail is evident in all aspects of the production, and makes for a wonderful experience at the theater. It is a production to be enjoyed for audience of all ages. I highly recommend seeing Fiddler on the Roof at the Granville Arts Center, not only will you be able to see (what I consider) the quintessential Broadway musical, but, you will also be privy to a story with an important message that reigns as true today, as it did in 1905 Russia-life can change at a moment’s notice, and can sometimes be “as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof.”
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
The Garland Summer Musicals
Granville Arts Center
300 N. 5th Street
Garland, TX 75040
Plays through June 26th.
June 24 and 25 at 8 pm
June 26 at 2:30 pm
Ticket prices range from $26.00-$36.00, based on seating.
Reservations required. All tickets reserved.
For information and to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.GarlandSummerMusicals.org