Wow. This is all I can say when it comes to Fiddler on the Roof at the Orpheum: Wow. Fiddler at the Orpheum was amazing.
Fiddler is the story of a poor milkman, Tevye, and his family–his wife Golde and their five daughters. Five daughters. As his three oldest girls find men in their lives and fall in love, Tevye must decide whether he will let his daughters marry the men of their choice, or fall back on the tradition of their Jewish community in Anatevka. Throughout the musical, the basis of tradition is met with new ideas, such as radicalism, and love. Fiddler is clever, funny, and heartfelt. Since I know the story, I was very excited to see the play. I wasn’t disappointed.
My parents, a friend of my mom’s, and I saw Fiddler on opening night. I was blown away by the emotion presented in the play throughout–humor, heartache, and the abiding love that Tevye has for his children.
I cannot get several scenes out of my head: the Sabbath prayer, where Tevye and Golde bless their daughters; the amazing bottle dance, and the beginning and ending, where Tevye is dressed first as someone in 20th century clothes, then changes to more modern 21st century clothing.
The ending of the musical has stuck with me–and I actually prefer it to the ending in the 1971 film–where the townspeople of Anatevka are forced to leave their homes. During this scene, Tevye, his wife, and his children (with his two youngest daughters) carry their loaded cart past trees, to eventually take place among other members of their hometown. As the cast slowly moves in a circle, to represent their long journey ahead of them, they pause, then raise their arms and stamp their feet. In the center of it all, is the symbolic fiddler. Dressed in a fastidious purple coat, he stands with fiddle in hand. Tevye leaves the stage briefly, then comes back dressed in 21st century clothes, the fiddler on the other end of the stage. He looks at the fiddler in wonder, in remembrance, shutting his book–possibly carrying the story of how he came to America–and cants his head to the side, motioning the fiddler to come with him. He resumes his hold on the cart, taking his place among his family, and they resume their journey to America.
The lighting, the quiet, and the dancing has stirred something within me. As my Dad believes, Tevye’s change of clothes–which starts at the beginning of the play–seems to represent immigration throughout the ages. This ties in to the very real immigration that’s taking place today, at the Mexico border. Our country is built on the backbone of immigration. We all are children of immigrants, we all come from somewhere else. Even our founding fathers were immigrants, such as the likes of Alexander Hamilton. To deny people entry into our country is to deny our past, the founding of the historical roots of America.
Fiddler is a current play, despite it’s historical timestamp of 1905, in Russia. Fiddler speaks to the audience, that we must continue to let people into America, for they are seeking asylum, they are fleeing hardships, death, and eviction. Fiddler is about love, upending tradition, and keeping your traditions despite being forced to leave home. This was an excellent play, well done, and full of emotion. I recommend Fiddler to everyone, for everyone needs to see this rendition of Fiddler on the Roof. It’s heartfelt, touching, and warm. It’s the candle burning in the darkness, pouring warmth and light out into the world, fighting back the darkness.