Fiddler on the Roof
by Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids

Photo by Kristy RoweOne of the most beloved musicals of all time has come to Boulder, Colorado with Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids’ production of Fiddler on the Roof – a tale about a good-natured, pious, and humorous Jewish milkman named Tevye living in a small Ukrainian village shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution. It is a time of change when the only thing allowing him to keep his balance are his society’s long-held traditions. But when those traditions begin changing before his very eyes, he must struggle to find balance in the new world by searching within. Helping him to do it is one of the great musical scores including Sunrise, Sunset, Matchmaker, and If I Were a Rich Man.

The cast is filled with kids ranging from elementary to high school age, though mostly in the middle school range, and they do a nice job with the challenging piece. Tela Moss plays the poor milkman Tevye. His words can be hard to understand at times with the inflections, but he seems to do his best work when he lets his own personality and sense of humor dominate his performance seen especially in the “Dream Sequence” when he craftily uses spirits from the other world to convince his outspoken, strong-willed, but superstitious wife Golde that their oldest daughter Tzeitel will be better off marrying the poor tailor Motel rather than the rich widowed butcher Lazar Wolf (with whom Tevye’s already made a marriage bargain).

Photo by Kristy RoweLena Antman is a strong and terrific Golde. Their daughters are double-cast. On the Saturday afternoon I attended, Ella Wrenn was eldest daughter Tzeitel clearly eager to marry her childhood love Motel, with Teri Andony admirably filling the role of the meek and goofy tailor who has to put his foot down if he wants to marry the love of his life, eventually ending in the soaring song Miracle of Miracles (which unfortunately is sung off to the side rather than letting the vibrant song fill the stage). Second daughter Hodel was played with intelligence “and affection” by Jen Osgood who is courted by radical student Perchik (Hope Morton, who has a nice subtlety with her acting). And then there’s the third eldest daughter, young Chava played by impressive young talent Veronica Bird (who just turned twelve during the run), with Veronica giving her dramatic role great depth and who always seems so immersed in her character. She is courted by another good, young talent, Maya Musial as the Russian book reader Fyedka. Other impressive standouts include Maya Ward as a truly diverting Yente who uses her voice, face, and body language so well, and Jen Wilson as the stern but internally torn Russian Constable.

On opening weekend Director Michelle Romeo’s show still had a few rough spots that could probably be ironed out through a couple more rehearsals (or by the closing weekend). Long blackouts for several scene changes tended to take one out of the flow of the story, and could probably be reduced by a simpler set and scenery. But overall the show was very successful with some great moments of creativity. The “Dream Sequence” was masterfully conceived and portrayed, with Hannah Alt (who also played a good fiddle) turning in terrific vocal work as the kindly Grandma Tzeitel who can get quite angry when she gets the wrong response from Tevye. And then there’s the ghost of Lazar Wolf’s first wife coming out from the foot of Tevye and Golde’s bed (with Hayley Musial giving a hilarious tongue-lashing of Tevye and making known her desperate desire that no future wife inherits her precious strands of pearls). 

The show ends with some clever bows that include Tzeitel scaring her mousy husband Motel and Lazar giving his widow her cherished strand of pearls.

Performs through April 30, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Photo by Kristy RoweTevye: Tela Moss
Golde: Lena Antman
Tzeitel: Ella Wrenn
Hodel: Jen Osgood
Chava: Veronica Bird
Shprintz: Hayley Musial
Bielke: Erin Gillespie
Yente: Maya Ward
Motel Kamzoil: Teri Andony
Perchik: Hope Morton
Lazar Wolf: Alicia Palm
Mordcha: Katie Pemberton
Rabbi: Hayley Musial
Avram: Nina Forbes
Nahum: Hannah Alt
Grandma Tzeitel: Hannah Alt
Fruma-Sarah: Hayley Musial
Bottle Dancers:
Alicia Palm
Tela Moss
Katie Pemberton
Constable: Jen Wilson
Fyedka: Maya Musial
Hannah Alt
Katie Pemberton
Sidney Moss
The Fiddler: Hannah Alt

Director: Michelle Romeo
Choreographer: David Kelly
Stage Manager: Cate Heckel
Musical Director: Sharon Haddad
Costumer: Susannah Harris
Scenic Design: David Kelly
Lighting Design: Mark Rhode


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