Monday, October 20

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Fiddler on the Roof

Stark as Tevye
Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, brings dancing, music and anti-semitism to the stage for its autumn offering. Fiddler on the Roof, celebrating its 50th anniversary, covers the timeless topic of an ever-changing world. The loosening of strict cultural mores and the resistance of the older generation while the youth embrace the change is set amid the rising hatred of Jews in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Tevye (Douglas E. Stark),  is father of five daughters and faced with helping his Jewish community keep peace with the Russian constable (Ken Klingenmeier). During this uneasy time frame, he is also attempting to make his three daughters of marrying age happy as they break tradition and select their own spouses. This decision leaves Matchmaker Yente (Licia Watson) displeased, along with Tevye's wife and mother of the girls Golde (Lynne Perkins).

You'll remember Stark delightfully playing M. Thenardier in B&B's rendition of Les Miserables. If you are a stickler for accents and dialects being correct and consistent, then it will bother you that Stark played the Jewish Russian villager with zero accent. This was even more noticeable when interacting with Golde, Yente, his daughters and Lazar Wolfe, portrayed by one of my Destination Actors Mark Goetzinger, who all handled the necessary accent even while singing.
Wolfe (Goetzinger) and Tevye (Stark) making deal for daughter.

Wolfe and Tevye are marvelous together while drinking and bartering over the bride-to-be. The dancing is performed well, particularly considering the small stage ~ it is always a pleasure to see how marvelously creative the sets (Michael Layton) and choreography (Kenny Shepard) are in that regard.
Watson as Yente

Overall, this is a popular show in Indy and this cast is balanced and enjoyable as they are obviously having fun with the treasured story. The first several shows are at a near sell-out status and I would expect the remaining shows (through Nov. 23) to be full as well. The fun dancing, familiar songs and enthusiasm of the entire cast is contagious for the audience with many laugh-out-loud moments and singing and clapping along with the songs.

Vocal highlights are "Sunrise, Sunset," with several solos about the growing up of children, and "Do You Love Me," a duet by Golde and Tevye about their lives together.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Fiddler on the Roof provides an enjoyable evening with plenty of dancing, classic songs and matchmaker hijinks.

Images: JulieCurryPhotography.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for GottaGo.us and BroadwayWorld.com. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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