Stage 42 New York off-Broadway Theatre review
By Michael Reubens
This “must see” musical is back on the New York stage – but with a difference . It is in Yiddish with English and Russian super-titles!
Some might consider it an opera with Joel Grey’s superb vision as Director, which brings a sophisticated and elegant slant, educating his audience with never a dull moment!
Originally staged by Harold Prince with direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins on Broadway. This production has Musical staging and New Choreography by Staś Kmieć and is a National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production and an American premiere.
Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of Tevye, a humble milkman with his wife and five daughters amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a pre-revolutionary Russian shtetl (village) circa 1905. Anatevka, a Jewish community shared with non-Jewish neighbors.
Based on stories by Sholem Aleichem (1894-1914), the life and struggles unfold of arranged marriages, children and tradition. A metaphor perhaps! Even if you’ve never seen any global stage or film version, I urge you to see this one. It is like seeing Fiddler for the first time.
Most cast members learned the dialogue phonetically proving the point that speaking or understanding only one language is not a deterrent for acting in another!
Case in point, Jackie Hoffman as Yente, the matchmaker, is comically brilliant. Jennifer Babiak as Golde, the devoted wife and Steven Skybell as Tevye are just three of the principle cast members who excel in this talented ensemble production.
The musical numbers are hummable and at least twelve are very well known including If I were a rich man and Sunrise, Sunset.
*Stage 42 theatre complex is at 422 West 42nd Street, Manhattan