Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Broward Center; Fiddler on the Roof (2 reviews)

Topol is making his farewell tour after decades of playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.Broadway Across America brings Troika Entertainment's production of Topol's 'farewell tour' of Fiddler On the Roof to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
In what is a huge theatrical feat, audiences will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Chaim Topol, star of the original motion picture, in his farewell performance of the award winning role that made him legendary in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.
Sammy Dallas Bayes directed and re-created Jerome Robbin's original choreography for a cast led by Chaim Topol, and includes Susan Cella, Rena Strober, Jamie Davis, Deborah Grausman, Kerry Alexander, Julie Brooks, Mary Stout, Erik Liberman, Colby Foytik, David Brummel, Larry Block, Joel Bernstein, Gary Brintz, Michael J. Farina, Julie Brooks, Sean Patrick Doyle, Stephen Lee Andeson, Eric Van Tielen, Matthew Marks, David W. Gilleo, Robbie Roby, Trevor Illingworth Arthur A. Atkinson, Matthew Rosoff, and John Preece. (There are more; go the tour's website, I'm done typing names)

The Palm Beach newspapers reviewed this tour last spring, when it was at the Kravis Center.

The Miami Herald has declined to review this production.*

Beau Higgins reviewed for
This Fiddler blew me away...
Thank the theatrical Gods that this production is a recreation of the Jerome Robbins original. I can not think of any production of any musical anywhere that comes close to what Mr. Robbins accomplished here around forty five years ago.
Topol delivered ... a performance nothing short of mesmerizing. The man is apparently ageless. He had the audience riveted to every move he made. His singing voice is so gorgeous that once heard it will not soon be forgotten. You will not believe the passion and humor Topol mixes with that voice from God. His is beyond an award winning performance. This is one for the ages.
Sadly, Rod Stafford Hagwood (the man who makes Sara Palin look like a literary giant) went to the show for the Sun-Sentinel:
You don't really want the latest tour of Fiddler on the Roof to crack open that ol' chestnut-of-a-musical and reveal something new.
It seems to me that in fact, yes, we DO want to see something new and fresh revealed, otherwise we'd just rent the damned video. I take back every harsh thing I've ever said about other reviewers, so I can throw them at Hagwood.
Luckily, the production at Broward Center for the Performing Arts does the next best thing: It burnishes that tough nut, giving it a nice hue-enhancing matte finish.

And then there's Topol, who has over the many years come to inhabit every nook, every cranny of the character Tevye from the movie version in 1971 to the 2,500 (and counting) performances onstage. The show rests on his shoulders, his triumphant shoulders.
Fiddler, with its wistful folkloric samplings, has one of the most satisfying and hummable scores in theater. But oh goodness what Topol has learned to do with it. His sweet vamping of If I Were a Rich Man is so delicious you wish it would never end -- as his chesty voice curls through the cavernous hall like tobacco smoke from an after-dinner pipe.
I'm torn between wondering where Hagwood found this simile and noting that tobacco smoke causes cancer.
The rest of the cast is rudimentary at times, strangely cautious during Tradition, Matchmaker, Matchmaker and The Dream. But they stoke the embers and warm up considerably for Sabbath Prayer and To Life, giving Fiddler some lusty fire at long last, roasting the ol' chestnuts just right.
Topol's 'farewell tour' of Fiddler On the Roof plays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through October 18th.


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