When I first heard that this year’s Mainstage show was going to be “Fiddler On The Roof,” the first couple of words that came to my head were old school, stale and dated. After seeing the designer run of the show a few nights ago, my perspective on the show has taken a 180-degree turn for the better.
I was introduced to “Fiddler” in seventh grade when the school librarian suggested I read it after working on stage crew for the school musical. I could barely read the names (I thought Tzeitel was pronounced “Titz-zell”, like pizzelle). Overall, I enjoyed the play, but looking back on it, I really didn’t grasp the main themes.
This week I went to a run-through to take some pictures for a press release before the designer run (which I wasn’t planning on going to). I snapped some shots while watching the show and I realized I was really enjoying what I was watching. While working on the photos, I told my colleague, Cate Paxson, how great the show was including how funny it was, the quality of the sound and a bunch of other stuff. I had only seen up to “Miracle of Miracles.” (Which if you know the show, you know that isn’t very far into the first act).
After seeing that tiny portion, I decided I would stay and watch the designer run the following evening. To keep things brief, at the end of the show I was emotionally overwhelmed. The powerful ideas of breaking tradition and being forced to leave the place one calls “home” are portrayed spot-on by the cast. The impact of the designer run had me in a funk, and this run didn’t include costumes, lights or even the specific set.
There are so many more things I could go on about, but that would spoil the fun of coming to see the show. Needless to say, “Fiddler” is going to be one of the shows I will always remember watching at Summer Stage. It has become one of my new favorites on my list of top musicals.
In the end, you do not want to miss this show because this will be one you will regret not seeing. Kudos to the entire cast, crew and production team of “Fiddler On The Roof.” You have created a true gem this year in the 38th year of Upper Darby Summer Stage.