The last time I saw Fiddler on the Roof was when I was in sixth grade. And really, I was in the play, so I didn’t have a choice. This time around, I was excited to see Runaway Stage Production’s Fiddler on the Roof because I was sure, having matured slightly since then, that I would appreciate it on a higher level. Watching it again, this time from the audience, I found it to be strikingly relevant, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and still very much entertaining.
Fiddler on the Roof is a play about the small Russian town of Anatevka grappling with modernity in a culture where tradition is of upmost importance. The story follows a Jewish milkman named Tevye, his wife Golde, and their five daughters. Though arranged marriages are traditional in their community, Tevye’s daughters long to make matches of their own. One by one, his eldest daughters fall in love with increasingly “unfit” matches in the eyes of the community: a poor tailor, a wide-eyed revolutionary and, worst of all, a gentile. Fiddler on the Roof explores the meaning of love in a changing social climate not dissimilar from our own, where racial and religious prejudice is still very much alive.
Runaway Stage produced a lovely staging of Fiddler on the Roof–the set, costumes, and live orchestra were achieved at an impressive professional level. For me, the outstanding performances were from Tevye (Bob Baxter, also Producing Director), Hodel (Jessilee Windhaus), and Perchek (Matt Surges). The ensemble cast gave especially powerful performances in “Sabbath Prayer,” “To Life (L’Chaim),” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”
It was my first time seeing a Runaway Stage production, and I know it won’t be my last, especially because a few of my favorites are next on the roster for their 2013 Broadway season: Avenue Q (March 8-March 31), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Sept 6-Sept 29), and Monty Python’s Spamalot (Nov 8-Dec 1).
You can see Fiddler on the Roof at 24th Street Theatre (at the Sierra 2 Center) through September 30, playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. For tickets, purchase online or call (916) 207-1266. Also, you can catch Annie at 24th Street Theatre from Nov 9 through Dec 2.
Allison Baker is a guest writer for Sacramento365.com.