Review: Fiddler on the Roof @ Playhouse Square 6/15/10

In the recent Playhouse Square production of the American theatre classic that is Fiddler on the Roof, the fiddler comes off the roof and Tevye comes out of the closet (so to speak). Gravel-voiced Harvey Fierstein, faced with the task of making the role his own, succeeded brilliantly–at least for fans of Fierstein (count me in). Yes, he did channel Edna Turnblad (a la his Tony-award winning “Hairspray” performance) with a few indulgent muggings, but he also showed how humor and grit combined in the dirt-poor village of 1905 Anatevka to make survival possible.

The tuneful supporting cast and orchestra did justice to old favorites such as “Sabbath Prayer” and “To Life.” The dancers, including the fiddler who joined in at times, seemed inexhaustible, livening up the stage with dances from Jewish and Cossack tradition. One local note: Baldwin-Wallace College graduate Hannah Delmonte did double duty as one of Tevye’s younger daughters and as a comically spectral dream Grandma Tzeitel. This unique production of “Fiddler” brought new life to an old favorite.

Laura Kennelly is a freelance arts journalist, a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, and an associate editor of BACH, a scholarly journal devoted to J. S. Bach and his circle.

Listening to and learning more about music has been a life-long passion. She knows there’s no better place to do that than the Cleveland area.

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