Fiddler on the Roof at Bass
Road show on through Sunday
By Katherine Gregor,
3:08PM, Thu. Mar. 4, 2010
The road show of “Fiddler on the Roof,” in Austin through Sunday, is a thoroughly enjoyable production of the classic play. Veteran actor Harvey Fierstein plays Tevye, reprising his lead role in the record-breaking Broadway revival. It’s a great play - if you go, mazel tov.
Set in a Jewish village in the Russian Ukraine in the early 1900s, “Fiddler” is a funny, affecting and thoughtful story about a family with five daughters, three of whom get married in its course, set against the backdrop of political and religious tensions that culminate in a pogrom. The songs (especially in the first half) are terrific, “Tradition,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Sunrise, Sunset” among them.
Also returning capably to her role is Susan Cella, as Tevya’s wife Golde; Broadway veteran Mary Stout plays the matchmaker, Yente. Fierstein plays Tevye for humor, rather than the role’s more tender, poignant side; he hams it up with physical and vocal bits of business that had the house roaring. (His raspy growl of a voice was a distraction, but he sounded less duck-like as the evening wore on.)
The musical numbers were all a pleasure, and the production was free of technical flaws. At times the actors’ delivery was a tad rote, missing the full emotional range of the material - a weakness common to road shows. Noticeably fresh was Katie Babb, an understudy who on Tuesday night stepped into the role of second daughter Hodel; she shone brighter than the more practiced actors on the stage. The show is suitable for children; there's a 2pm matinee on Saturday.
Bass Concert Hall; Tickets $20-$64; information at www.texasperformingarts.org or 471-1444.