February 2004 Archives

Fiddler: The 2004 Revival

Cheap Fiddler Tickets:$25 Student Rush
Before you read the Fiddler Abridged script, I should point out something.

I'm actually not against revisions in a show. I don't particularly think that just because a show was done one way the first time means that the revival has to be done the same. I do applaud improvements on a show. But things that are added in just for the sake of making them different and not really better, why would you do that? Why would you take a dream sequence that is normally such a perfect scene and re-imagine it just to say it's different? Why would you add a new song to a show that obviously was doing pretty fine without it for the past forty years?

I should point out that "Fiddler on the Roof" is still a fantastic show in its own right and probably my favorite. Maybe it's because my Grandfather would constantly play the Zero Mostel tape in the car a good decade before I understood what a musical was. So even with many of the directorial choices I disagree with, this production is still worth seeing because the show is just inherently that good. The cast is phenomenal (except Nancy Opel, who was thrown into the cast so late I wonder if she'll ever get the comedic part of Yente down). I was only mildly impressed by Alfred Molina, who pulled off Tevye well for someone who's not Jewish (but hey, I suppose Italian is pretty close).

I also particularly liked John Cariani's portrayal of Motel which, although over-the-top at a point or two, really set this secondary character out to be such a dorky "meeskite" that it's absolutely endearing. Not only do you feel for him, but at a moment's notice you know exactly why Tzeitel has fallen in love with him. There was also the interpretation of "Do you love me" being a song not of a serious question but more as a married couple entirely joking. When Golde says "I suppose I do" to Tevye, it's filled with such sarcasm that you really do believe that they love each other. It's these two points that exemplify the sort of improvements I was referring to. Just for a Broadway production, I was hoping for a bit more.

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