It seems a lifetime ago that, as a young single working girl, I first saw the film, Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol. How fitting that I, now married with children, should have the pleasure and privilege of seeing the inimitable talent that is Topol perform live in the stage production’s Farewell Tour at The Pantages last week. The show runs through August 9th and tickets can be purchased online at www.BroadwayLA.org or by phone at 1-800-982-ARTS (2787). Tickets can also be bought in person at The Pantages Box (opens daily 10a.m.) and all Ticketmaster ticket outlets.
In my twenties I watched the show and related to the five daughters of Topol’s character, Tevye. This time around, I saw the performance through the eyes of a wife and mother, and like a good, aged wine, I drank it up. That’s why I say to all who read this, don’t see Fiddler On The Roof just once, but twice in your lifetime, at least!
For those of you not familiar with the storyline: Topol plays Tevye, a poor, but honest milkman trying to eke out a living in the small Russian village of Anatevka around the time of the Tsar. Life is changing, becoming more modern, and many of the traditions his family and the Jewish culture has known are being challenged by the younger generation. In the course of the show his three oldest daughters fall in love with suitors who are not necessarily what he would have chosen. This drama mixed with humor (the hilarious dream sequence is just one example) plays out against the backdrop of the Tsarist Pogram, when riots and anti-Jewish sentiment forced Jewish villagers off their land to relocate, many moving to the States as my great-grandfather did at the time.
Topol, the star of the original motion picture, who is already in his 70s, brings new life to this staging. The rest of the cast, including Susan Cella as Tevye’s tough, but loving wife Golde, are incomparable and the sets, so evocative of the early 1900s Russian countryside. No doubt you’ll recognize some of the hit songs from the brilliant score:
Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset and Matchmaker, Matchmaker. What you may not know is that Fiddler on the Roof is based on stories by famed author Sholem Aleichem. All this, plus the show’s dance scenes, courtesy of Jerome Robbin’s original choreography, make this Farewell Tour a must-see in every way!