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Thomas Edison High School Fiddler on the Roof

By • Nov 17th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

“Tradition!” One word can describe the way of life of an entire village in Russia in Thomas Edison High School’s production of Fiddler on the Roof Everything the villagers do is founded in their faith and traditions that have been passed down through the generations. However, times are changing in Russia, even for their tiny village of Anatevka and the villagers must deal with the changes and the hardships that come their way.

Fiddler on the Roof is based on the tales of Tevye and His Daughters written by Sholem Aleichem in 1894. The music for the musical was written by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book Joseph Stein. The original Broadway production opened in 1964 and was the longest running Broadway musical for nearly ten years, also winning nine Tony Awards. The play takes place in 1905 in the small village of Anatevka, Russia. It tells the story of Tevye, a Jewish milk man, and his family of women. The three oldest of Tevye’s five daughters are thinking about marriage and his forceful wife Golde is determined that each marry a prosperous man. However, each daughter has their own opinion about whom they want to marry, each choice more bold and daring than the last. Tevye must make difficult decisions. Will he stick to his traditions or will he conform to the changing times? And how will the village deal with the anti-Semitic feelings growing in Russia?

Edison’s production had a challenge to face trying to make a variety of characters seem credible. Blair Hicks did an exceptional job in his role of Tevye making each emotion clear, every line delivered with ease, and flawlessly revealing many different sides of his character. Isabella Ness as Hodel (Tevye’s daughter) and Justin Ahdoot as Perchik worked well together as did Kim Ness as Chava (another of Tevye’s daughters) and Thomas Norman as Fyedka. Isabella Ness, as Hodel, consistently displayed strong vocals which made the play all the more enjoyable. Although the Orchestra and actors were at times not quite together during some musical numbers, the pitches and harmonies were consistent.

A particularly notable character was Kit DiSalvo as Grandma Tzeitel. She clearly portrayed her role with a commanding presence and added a distinct personality to her character in her brief appearance. Ted Brady as the Constable also clearly had an innate understanding of his character and with his flawless accent he brought something unique to the scenes he was in.

The production’s stage crew was efficient, speedy, and faultless which made for a particularly enjoyable performance. Lighting design by Charlotte Bates and Ally Ouellette was successful and left none in the dark. It was timed precisely and effective in every instance with spotlights lighting the actors at appropriate moments.

Despite a few off beat musical numbers Edison’s production of Fiddler on the Roof was entertaining and captivating. A story full of pain, change, faith, and tradition is destined to leave a powerful impact on any audience.

by Mirva Johnson of T.C. Williams

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