Acting and scenery do justice to the classical musical “Fiddler on the Roof”

Chris Young, Staff Reporter

The spring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” was good in many aspects, but was best when its actors seemed not just to be acting, but living their parts.

One of those times occurred midway through the musical, during the wedding scene. The actors seemed in this scene to legitimately love each other. When Hodel (Kayann Botana) and Perchik (Ben Johnston) were falling in love with each other as they danced around the ballroom, they looked at each other in a way that really seemed to show love. When the constable (Daniel Zea) and his men barged in and ruined the wedding, one of the men slugged Perchik to the ground. Hodel ran to his side, a picture of real urgency, as if she already knew this was the man she would marry. And when Tevye (David Neese) and the constable got into a shouting match, their screams were angrily lifelike, like those of an old married couple that wanted a divorce.

The singing and acting of Tevye was amazingly real. Tevye is forced to pull his cart because his horst lost its shoe. He moans about his back and drops the cart and stretches his back like he has thrown it out, making me imagine how it felt to pull a heavy cart. And in the scenes when he became angry – at the constable for ruining the wedding, or at his daughters for going against tradition – his deep voice really roared in anger. A few times it caught me off guard, and I jumped. Neese also showed Tevye’s compassion convincingly. He wants Tzeitel (Holly Helmer) to marry a butler named Lazar Wolf (Arthur Johnson). She cried because she didn’t want to marry him; she wanted to marry Motel Kamzoil (Ian Johanson). Tevye is moved, and Neese portrayed this well, becoming like any father who sees his child unhappy and cried with her.

Clarissa Resis did an excellent job playing the story’s mother, Golde. Golde is always telling her kids to set the table and milk the cows and do other chores, and Resis did this by pointing people off stage to where she wanted them to go in a very authoritative way. Likewise, in the scene in which she and Tevye sang their duet “Do you love me?” she really seemed in love.

Others whose acting really shone were the rest of the daughters (Tzeitel, Brittany Beckmann as Chava, Ruby Jesion as Bielke, and Alexandra Mitchler as Shprintze) who sang fantastically, and Zea as the constable, who projected his deep voice so well I don’t think he needed a microphone. The scenery was also very creative (a background of orange and yellow like sunrise and sunset that might have represented the story’s beginning and ending, and logs as the Star of David). It was one of the greatest musicals I’ve seen.

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