- Terelle Jerricks
By John Farrell
Once every ten years or so an American musical comes along and changes how people think about things.
In 1964, Fiddler on the Roof took Broadway by storm, and staged 3,000 performances before it closed. It has since been revived professionally ever few years and some of the best voices on Broadway have taken on the role of Tevye, the father of five daughters living in a Jewish shtetl in 1906 Russia, bringing the audience at once into his confidence as he explains Anatevka and its long-time traditions.
But those traditions, passed on for years, are already changing and more change will come before Fiddler ends.
The story is tame and a part of American tradition now. But it was ground-breaking in the musical comedy world, which had many Jewish writers but never before told a Jewish story. It made Jewish immigration a part of the American experience, like Irish and Italian immigration.
In Torrance Tevye is David McGee. And if he doesn’t have the big voice that other Tevye’s have had, he has all the chutzpah and all the wily ways in his struggles with God as he endures poverty, a lame horse and young daughters growing up in the modern world.
Director Jim Hormel uses the first-rate sets and much of Jerome Robbins’ original choreography, which was recreated and augmented by choreographer Mark Esposito for a wonderful experience. The full 24-piece orchestra enhancement, directed by conductor Rick Heckman, places the production into a special category.
This is as good as Fiddler gets. At least until another Broadway road show comes into town.
Tickets are $35, $30 for seniors, $25 for children. Performances are Friday, August 17 at 8 p.m., Saturday, August 18 at 2 p.m., Friday, August 23 at 8 p.m., Saturday, August 24 at 8 p.m.
Details: (310) 781-7171, www.torrancetheatercompany.com
Venue: Armstrong Theatre
Location: 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance