Review: Studio Tenn’s “Fiddler”

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Studio Tenn's Fiddler on the Roof is on stage at The Factory at Franklin's Jamison Hall Sept. 4 - 21.

Sept. 4 – 21, 2014
Studio Tenn’s Fiddler on the Roof (All ages)
Jamison Hall at The Factory at Franklin
230 Franklin Road, Franklin
888-664-6362 | studiotenn.com
Show times: Thu – Fri 7 p.m., Sat 2 and 7 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $47.50 – $57.50

A hearty Mazel Tov is in order to Studio Tenn for its spectacular production of a true, beloved Broadway classic, Fiddler on the Roof. Taking up the mantle of meaningfulness, Studio Tenn launches its fifth season with this magnificent musical. From start to finish, Studio Tenn’s Fiddler on the Roof is one of the absolute best to grace the theatrical stage. What’s more, audiences will enjoy the company’s comfy new digs at The Factory’s Jamison Hall.

The musical — with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick — is set in Imperial Russia in 1905 and based on tales by Sholem Aleichem. The heartfelt story centers around the crumbling of age-old traditions to make way for a new idea that true love supersedes arranged marriages and cultural boundaries. The drama unfolds as central character Tevye, a dairyman, tries hard to cling to his family’s Jewish religious customs while raising five daughters in the small village of Anatevka. Three of his daughters are strong-willed girls who push the proverbial envelope, thus forcing their father to deal with the winds of change. All the while, the fiddler (played by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman) is symbolic of survival in the midst of uncertainty.

Broadway-blessed Peter Kevoian (whose credits include the role of Monsieur Reyer in the original Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera) delivers a bold performance in the starring role of Tevye. With amazing stage presence, Kevoian brings much passion to the perplexities his character has to contend with. As well, Kevoian pulls off his comedic moments without a hitch, notably in his standout rendition of one of the musical’s signature numbers, “If I Were a Rich Man.” This fine actor seamlessly glides amongst the myriad emotions within his character, especially when it comes to the ultimate rub ripping at Tevye’s heart and soul: the unraveling of his family’s religious traditions in the face of contemporary society.

Nashville favorite Nan Gurley equally delivers a fabulous portrayal of Tevye’s sharp-tongued, superstitious wife, Golde. Gurley is a true natural on stage and a vocal dynamo to boot. It’s an absolute pleasure to experience her in this role, and she never misses a beat.

The actors playing Tevye’s three eldest daughters — Mia Rose Lynne (Tzeitel), Lissa De Guzman (Hodel) and Annabelle Fox (Chava) — bring a lot to the stage, and their voices blend beautifully, evident in the popular number, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

Matt Logan’s expert direction and Emily Tello Speck’s on-the-mark choreography are tremendous, and the 10-piece orchestra led by Stephen Kummer is stunning as it backs the robust cast that also includes Jefferson Carson (Motel), Caleb Marshall (Perchik), Jordan Wright (Fyedka), Richard Daniel (Lazar) and Kim Bretton (Yente and Grandma Tzeitel). An additional nod goes to sound designer Danny Northup for delivering an impeccable mix like no other.

Artistic Director Logan and the Studio Tenn company is certainly kicking things up a notch higher than ever with Fiddler, and together they continue to raise the bar of excellence of what a remarkable theatrical experience should be.

Great for the whole family, Studio Tenn’s Fiddler on the Roof is a show you and yours will surely love.

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

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