FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Fiddler on the Roof Broadway Theatre •DANNY BURSTEIN DANNY BURSTEIN (Tevye) Danny is a 5-time Tony Award nominee whose 15 Broadway credits include: Cabaret (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations); The Snow Geese; Golden Boy (2013 Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations); Follies (2012 Tony, Astaire & Grammy Award nominations; Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; South Pacific (Tony and Drama Desk nominations, Outer Critics Circle Award); The Drowsy Chaperone (Tony and Ovation Award nominations); Saint Joan; The Seagull; Three Men on a Horse; A Little Hotel on the Side; The Flowering Peach; A Class Act; Titanic and Company. Off-Broadway credits include: Talley’s Folly (Lucille Lortel & Drama League nominations); Mrs. Farnsworth; Psych; All in the Timing; Merrily We Roll Along; Weird Romance and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Film/TV includes: The Family Fang (directed by Jason Bateman); Blackhat (directed by Michael Mann); Lolly Steinman on “Boardwalk Empire” (directed by Martin Scorsese); “Louie;” Transamerica; “Absolutely Fabulous;” “Ed;” all the “Law & Order” series; “Hope & Faith;” Deception; Affluenza; American Milkshake; Nor’easter; Construction; Liv and Trust, Greed, Bullets & Bourbon. He recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Frosch in the Jeremy Sams/Douglas Carter Beane production of Die Fledermaus. JESSICA HECHT ALIX KOREY ADAM DANNHEISSER ADAM KANTOR KARL KENZLER SAMANTHA MASSELL MELANIE MOORE NICK REHBERGER ALEXANDRA SILBER GEORGE PSOMAS JULIE BENKO ERIC BOURNE AUSTIN GOODWIN JACOB GUZMAN REED LUPLAU BRANDT MARTINEZ SARAH PARKER JONATHAN ROYSE WINDHAM JENNY ROSE BAKER HAYLEY FEINSTEIN BEN RAPPAPORT MICHAEL C. BERNARDI ADAM GRUPPER MITCH GREENBERG JEFFREY SCHECTER “SHECKY” JESSE KOVARSKY ERIC BOURNE STEPHEN CARRASCO ERIC CHAMBLISS LORI WILNER JESSICA VOSK JENNIFER ZETLAN TESS PRIMACK MARLA PHELAN MATT MOISEY SILVIA VRSKOVA AARO

The cast of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Photo by Joan Marcus.

By now you have read the glowing reviews of Bartlett Sher‘s re-envisioning of the classic FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.  The approach is one of reinvention by revising the intentions of the text.  No longer is “Matchmaker” a saccharin, young female fantasy, it is now used to cheer up a very frightened sister.   The dance numbers are not performed with Broadway finesse, but rather with a roughness added to the dazzle that has you believing these are real people, really dancing to celebrate.  The jokes are delivered as a humorous part of everyday speech, not with the crass “get a laugh” intention of previous incarnations of FIDDLER.  Led by the hugely talented Danny Burstein (bravo to the producers for putting him in the star role) and one of our finest actresses Jessica Hecht, these feel like real people facing real problems.  Everything resonates that much deeper.

And then you have the prologue and addendum.  As a secular Jew, it just slayed me.  We are living in a divided country, at a time where the majority of Jews are non-practicing,  where our idea of celebrating Judaism is to have a seder with friends, but without the haggadah, where we are privileged to redefine our beliefs on our own terms, but this also takes us another step away from our heritage.  Rarely do we look back at our ancestry and place ourselves in the long line of survivors adapting to a tenuous future.  And that’s what this glorious production has gifted to us; it adds a new definition to the term “Tradition” as a remembrance, a memorial, a Yizkor.

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A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

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I have seen Tony LoBianco, Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber play the lead character Eddie in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE so going into the current Young Vic production, I thought I knew the play and the emotional arc we would be travelling.  Boy was I wrong.  I had heard about all the stage artiface (performed in a square with audience on stage, barefoot and no props) and assumed that director Ivo van Hove is using some historic theatrical style to tell the story (as Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe did so beautifully with Brechtian style in THE NORMAL HEART in 2011).  Again, I was wrong.

What Mr. van Hove has done is reinforce the fact that this is a memory play, without time lines drawn, centering on the emotional reality of text, not on the physical reality.  This allows him to create moments of art on the stage that are stunning and breathtaking; he isn’t constrained to what might actually, physically happen.  He also believes in the character of Eddie more than I think even Arthur Miller did.  And in doing so, there is a level of tragedy you haven’t seen in this script before.

This is an incredible theatrical event.  I hope I get to see it again.

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