First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful and very Happy Valentine’s Day! I cannot state enough how much you shouldn’t go to a restaurant to eat on February 14th. Secondly, I apologize for the lack of posting. However, I believe this post will make up for it.
Kindred souls that we are, Alan and I were raised watching musicals. You know, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, On the Town, An American in Paris, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof….well you get the picture. So early in my life I thought Gene Kelly was the sexiest man alive. I mean seriously, he was so sato at his dancing and just looked incredibly good in pants hoisted at his waist (I still think he is drop dead sexy BTW). Names like Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Donald O’Connor and Danny Kaye, were staples around my home.
Although I love all the above movies, I would have to say that my favorite all time is Fiddler on the Roof. A very poignant story about Jews in Russia, and the importance of tradition. And of course, you can’t see Fiddler on the Roof and not like Topol playing the lead. That is sort of impossible. Like the Boston Globe states “Topol is to Fiddler on the Roof what Yul Brynner is to The King and I: Tradition“.
So when we heard that Fiddler on the Roof would be playing at PPAC with Topol as Tevye, well we bought tickets of course! If we could, we would’ve bought tickets for all the shows. Alan’s eyes twinkled with joy at the news that we would see Topol in Fiddler on the Roof LIVE.
Thursday we ventured out to Providence to a PPAC that was pretty much sold out. The weather was nice which helped, and I was surprised to see that the PPAC sold alcohol as well. As theaters go, the PPAC is very classic in its looks, and provides great visual from almost all seats. We were upstairs, second section, 2nd row, right in center. Hey, for $53 we had great seats.
I was a bit uneasy, as I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, we own the movie in DVD. Well really we own two copies, we each had one when we got married. But to see a movie on stage would be kind of weird. We hoped no predispositions we had would make us disappointed in the live performance. In hindsight, we were so naive to think that anything could trump Fiddler live.
The live show opens much like the movie explaining the metaphor of the title: that tradition is what keeps us balanced and without it our lives would be as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof, followed with it a powerful, heart stirring performance of Tradition.
Again we did not know what to expect, since in a stage you don’t get all the landscape that you get in the movie. Wanna know something? You don’t even miss it. The live performance of Fiddler is so out of this world, that it takes you with it. It sucks you into Anatevka and does not let you go until it ends.
The show, which is as long as the movie, is an emotional experience that raises every hair of your skin, and give you goosebumps all over. Tevye takes you through his life and his decisions which of course challenge him to bend the Tradition without breaking it. To love Fiddler on the Roof, you have to fall in love with Tevye who presents a candid, humorous and emotional yet realistic man that, like most of us, converses and has his disagreements with God. Another number as powerful, if not more in the live performance, is one of my and Alan’s favorite If I Were a Rich Man.
If you haven’t seen the movie I wholeheartedly recommend you do. We can all identify with Tevye in our lives. Besides, the musical score of the movie will hit deep within your soul. One of the main reasons I always liked musicals is because I’m a dancer and most of them always had wonderful dance sequences. Fiddler on the Roof, relies more on the word than the dance. It is a very well written script, with great attention to detail. However, there is one dance scene that if you like folklore you’ll love since it blend Jewish dance with the Slavic influence of the area and results in The Bottle Dance.
It must come as no surprise, that we did not want the show to end, that Topol was an even better Tevye in person, and that the live performance surpasses the movie on so many levels that we were left awestruck. We’ve been singing Fiddler on the Roof songs all weekend long, and I’m pretty sure that in less than 48 hours, we’ll lose our sanity and pop the DVD to attempt to re-live the experience we just had.
We’ve seen many Broadway shows, and they each have their charm. To date Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera were the ones that had moved me the most. Les Miserables had me crying almost the entire performance. Chicago and 42nd Street were also great shows, as was Fosse. But nothing compares to seeing Fiddler on the Roof live on stage. If you have the opportunity to see the show, by all means go. You will not regret it.
Our only regret is that my mother in law, who absolutely loves this film, was not able to enjoy this.
I leave you know with one of the lesser known numbers and one of my favorites (Alan likes Matchmaker), Do You Love Me. Hope this post is enough to at least get some of you to watch and enjoy the film.