Village Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof” opens to a beautiful Chagall-inspired set by scenic designer Bill Forrester and a charming Tevye who will send chills down your back when he utters for the first time that word “tradition.”
“Fiddler” takes off from there with a stage full of stunning talent, wonderful music (music director Bruce Monroe) and dancing (choreographer Kathryn Van Meter) and the deliverance of a transcendent story line that leaves us at peace with the notions of tradition, family and faith (director David Ira Goldstein).
This Tevye, this poor milkman trying to keep tradition and care for his wife and five daughters, is one you will like instantly. Eric Polani Jensen plays Tevye in a big wide sweeping way that takes in all the nuances of a poor father, steeped in a loving relationship with his Lord who he playfully cajoles such as in this exchange:
“Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
But it’s no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”
And then Jensen launches into “If I were a Rich Man” which is just a giddy pleasure to watch. OK. Jensen was a giddy pleasure to watch in all of his scenes.
Though Jensen pretty much carried the show what with his bodacious voice and acting talent, the rest of the cast were as solid as a righteous man’s faith. Some standouts included Aaron C. Finley as Perchick doing the lovely duet “Now I Have Everything,” with Hodel, played by Emily Cawley; Joshua Carter played a perfect Motel alongside Jennifer Weingarten’s perfect Tzeitel; matchmaker Yente was riotously played by Laura Kenny and Bobbi Kotula produced a hilarious blend of sarcasm and wit as Tevye’s wife Golde.
Some scenes that just challenge for an adequate description are The Dream scene which was simply surreal and the spectacular Wedding Dance that closed up Act One.
In Act Two, as we know, traditions continue to break down, marriages are no longer pre-arranged and everyone can dance at a wedding.
Perhaps this change is discouraging. But as Tevye and his family leave their little town or shtetl of Anatevka, we are uplifted by knowing that the family’s faith and their love for each other will never be left behind.
“Fiddler on the Roof” runs through Jan. 27 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett. General tickets start at $38. Call 425-257-8600 or go to The Village Theatre