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Fierstein Shines in Fiddler on the Roof
Harvey Fierstein is filling huge shoes in the lead role of Tevye in the touring production of Fiddler on the Roof, at National Theatre in Washington DC.
Fierstein, a four-time Tony Award winner, brings to the stage the perfect balance of physical comedy, his signature raspy voice, a confident strut and some blustering that intimidates everyone except his wife. His performance breathes new life into this story first produced on Broadway in 1964.
This classic production tells the story of a Russian Jewish family in 1905, the father (Fierstein) believes in religious and cultural traditions, and that includes using a matchmaker to find husbands for his daughters. Unfortunately, his five daughters want to break with tradition and find loving husbands on their own terms, not to mention breaking many of their cultural norms which forces Tevye to face an ever-changing world.
Fierstein’s renditions of If I Were a Rich Man set the stage in Act 1. With continual humorous interaction with not just his fellow cast members, but also playing heavily to the audience, his character becomes instantly adorable.
The show features traditional costumes, an imaginative set, and good choreography, that at times is lacking and seems a bit low energy, but all is forgiven with the energetic and powerful wedding dance in Act II. The live orchestra adds much to the show as well.
One of the more poignant moments is the singing of “Do You Love Me?” as Tevye and his wife of many years, Golde, effectively played by Susan Cella, ask each other if love does exist between them.
Kaitlin Stilwell is passionate in portraying the eldest daughter, Tzeitel, as she hides her love for the poor local tailor, despite her father’s previous agreement to marry her off to an older man. Her version of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” is sweet and lyrical.
The classic “Sunrise, Sunset” is also one that might have bring a few tears to the audience.
Bottom line, the production is solid, Fierstein is the perfect “match” in the lead role and lastly, how can you not love these classic songs?
Dates & Times – Through Sunday, May 2, 2010.
Tickets - $51.50 and are available online or by phone at 800-447-7400. The theater does not allow children under the age of 4 years.
Parking – Limited metered street parking and area paid garage parking is available.
Images - The Tony® Award-winning musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF plays April 13 through May 9 at The National Theatre, staring Broadway’s Harvey Fierstein as Tevye. For tickets and information, visit www.nationaltheatre.org. Top – Harvey Fierstein (Tevye) and the Company of Fiddler on the Roof. Bottom, Harvey Fierstein (Tevye) and Susan Cella (Golde). Images courtesy of National Theatre – © 2009, Joan Marcus