Sept. 26--Change -- it's not something most of us embrace.
Families with traditional ties find it even more difficult to adapt and conform to societal demands.
"Fiddler on the Roof" tackles the emotional and spiritual struggles a Jewish family experiences in Tsarist Russia. Based on Sholem Aleichem's story "Tevye and his Daughters," the beloved Broadway musical is the latest offering by Alamance County's Gallery Players community theater group.
This powerful production is packed with musical numbers that will have you humming along hours after the show has ended. It proves yet again why the Gallery Players has been a staple in the theater community here for 42 years.
David Anthony Wright, managing and artistic director of the Paramount Theater, reprises his role as Tevye for the third time. His first performance was in the Gallery Players' production 10 years ago, followed by shows at the Kirby Theater in Roxboro.
While Wright has joked that "he can't sing or dance," that's not evident at all when he is on stage. The joy he eludes in this role is simply contagious. As a father of two daughters, he can identify with Tevye's concern for his girls. There are moments in the show where Wright struggles with the emotions conveyed, and the audience will as well.
This isn't a light show by any means, yet there are lighthearted moments that will have the audience smiling, laughing and tapping its toes to the infectious music provided by Marilyn Fox and the talented orchestra. Songs like "Tradition," "If I Were A Rich Man" and "Matchmaker" are classics that stand the test of time. Veronica Allen, an orchestra teacher at Williams High School, is "the fiddler." The silhouetted image of Allen playing is one audiences will remember long after the curtain lowers.
Director John Collier has assembled a talented cast of veteran performers, as well as newcomers, including a number of families. Colleen Walsh, a music teacher at Alexander Wilson Elementary School, does an exquisite job of balancing Golde's strong, yet vulnerable personality while flexing her vocal muscles. The duet "Do You Love Me?" with Wright was a lovely rendition of a well-loved song.
Hannah Strickland as Chava has a childlike quality and under the choreography direction of her mom, Ginger, she steals the show in an emotional scene.
Another standout is Meredith Matchen as the feisty Hodel. Collier's wife, Kathy, stood in for Kathryn Hatcher as Tzeitel during Tuesday night's rehearsal since Hatcher was ill. This was a role Kathy was familiar with and the show in which the couple met, so it has special meaning for them.
Don't be surprised when the cast dances (and sings) up and down the aisles; this is an interactive version of the classic show. The Fruma Sarah dream sequence is amazing and just in time for Halloween. Terry Kroliczak is almost unrecognizable underneath all of the makeup and costuming. Younger members of the audience might get a little spooked during that number as the costumes and dancing are hauntingly appropriate.
Whether this is your first or your 50th time seeing "Fiddler," the rousing musical numbers and engaging emotional drama make for a great night out with the whole family.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. Oct 4-5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 6, Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington. Tickets are $15 and $12, with group rates available. Tickets can be purchased at the box office between noon and 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and credit card reservations can be made by calling (336) 222-TIXS.
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