BRT’s Fabulous Fiddler Launches 10th Season, Feb. 5 – 27

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Fiddler_BRT_PublicityPhoto1.jpgFiddler on the Roof(All ages)
Boiler Room Theatre
230 Franklin Road, Franklin
794-7744 |
Show times: Tue 8 p.m., Thu 8 p.m. (Feb. 18 and 25 only), Fri – Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. (Feb. 14 and 21 only with an additional 8 p.m. show on Feb. 14)
Tickets: $25 adults, $23 students, $19 ages 11 and younger; Sunday matinees are $2 off, Tuesday tickets are two for $25, all tickets on Thursdays are $15; all tickets on Feb. 14 are $35 and include champagne and/or sparkling cider

A great comeback is wonderful to experience, and Boiler Room Theatre (BRT) reclaims its crown for delivering outstanding theater with its current run of a timeless beloved Broadway classic – Fiddler on the Roof. To be quite frank, the past handful of shows I’ve seen at BRT did not resonate with me for various reasons: to the point I started worrying that this staple of Middle Tennessee theater had lost its way. However, seeing the opening night of Fiddler restored my faith in BRT.

Fiddler on the Roof launches BRT’s 10th anniversary season, and what a tremendous show to mark the occasion! It’s obvious that director Billy Ditty fully understands the intricate layers and nuances of what musicals command in order to guarantee success. Ditty’s masterful direction, coupled with the talent of an exemplary cast, proves successful while exceeding expectations. I’ve seen Fiddler many times, from community theater productions all the way up to Broadway, and BRT’s rendition is among the very best and most lively of them.

The leading role of Tevye is one that Alan Lee was purely designed to play. Lee vigorously portrays the poor Jewish dairyman and father of five daughters in 1905 Tsarist Russia with aplomb. With great deft, Lee executes the brewing struggle between his character’s stoic traditional beliefs and a progressive amount of change when it comes to the “unconventional” marriages among his three eldest daughters. Lee could easily do this role on a Broadway stage; he’s just THAT talented! He seamlessly glides amongst the myriad appropriate emotions in his character. He equally delivers the humor (primarily in his show-stopping number, “If I Were a Rich Man,” and the emotional trappings of the ultimate rub ripping at Tevye’s heart and soul: the unraveling of his family’s religious traditions in the face of contemporary society.

Emily Ethridge, Cari McHugh and Caley Cheney portray Tevye’s three eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava, respectively. Each of these young actors offers spectacular performances, and they play well off each other in tandem, evident in one of the show’s well-known numbers, “Matchmaker.”

Debbie Kraski’s role as Tevye’s wife, Golde, is on mark. Likewise, Francine Berk delivers a perfectly humorous performance as the village’s hopeful matchmaker, Yente.

Thirty actors grace the stage in this production that is rife with great acting, singing and dancing all along the way. Every cast member brings much to the stage and contributes to an absolutely stellar production.

Whether you were a child-rearing parent in a Tsarist 1905 Russian village or you are a modern day mom or dad, this classic tale is prevalent today. Every parent in every generation has been forced to grapple with societal changes and contemporary mindsets existent in their children’s psyches. And ultimately, true love does cross barriers and manifests itself as it’s meant to be.

BRT’s version of Fiddler on the Roof is amazing. It’s a fantastic family musical. Take my word for it, you will love this foray into the fine art of theater.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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