Just in time for the holiday season, the Village Theatre in Issaquah has given audiences the gift of superlative musical theater. The timeless classic, Fiddler on the Roof, with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, is one of the best productions I have ever seen at the Village. The casting was absolutely perfect, and each actor and actress was at the top of his or her game. The Marc Chagall inspired sets by Bill Forrester and Julia Franz were the perfect backdrop for the little town of Anatevka where the action takes place. Filled with beloved songs such as â€˜Matchmaker,’ â€˜Sunrise, Sunset’ â€˜If I Were a Rich Man,’ and â€˜Do You Love Me?’ Fiddler on the Roof is sure to delight everyone.
Fiddler focuses on Tevye (Eric Polani Jensen), a milkman in Tsarist Russia, whose Jewish faith and traditions are being tested by outside modern and political influences and even from within his own house as his daughters are resisting traditional matrimonial matchmaking. I have seen Jensen, a Seattle stage veteran, in many, many productions, and in my opinion, he gives the performance of his career as Tevye. His portrayal is humorous and sympathetic, and you cannot help but root for him in all his travails. Bobbi Kotula as Golde, Tevye’s wife, is the perfect foil. She is the best comedic actress in the Seattle area, and I am glad she is back on the west coast after appearing as Hildret Heinz in Iron Curtain Off Broadway (a role she also played at the Village).
Tevye’s three oldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava, played by Jennifer Weingarten, Emily Cawley and Mara Solar, find their own suitors in complete defiance of the tradition of using a matchmaker. Tzeitel wants to marry her childhood friend, Motel (Joshua Carter), spirited Hodel falls in love with the strident academic activist Perchick (Aaron Finley), and bookish Chava is pursued by the equally deepâ€‘thinking Fyedka (Mike Spee). The actors and actresses are as perfectly suited for their roles as their characters are for each other.
Fiddler on the Roof plays at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington through December 30, 2012, before moving to the Everett Performing Arts Center where it will run from January 4-27, 2013. Don’t miss it!