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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/05/2005 Archived Entry: "Play review: Fiddler on the Roof"

Fiddler on the Roof
Minskoff Theatre
200 West 45th Street
New York, NY
Opening 26 Feb 2004
Closing Open-Ended

Reviewed by Janine Fennick

My parents actually saw the original production of this play twice although never with Zero Mostel, sadly. The first time he was out sick and was understudied by Harry Goz (yes, all you Sealab 2021 fans, THAT Harry Goz). The second time, he'd left and Harry Goz had actually taken over the role as his own. I've only seen amateur productions of it. And we had much better seats that I thought we would get. Anyway: the show was very good. Harvey Fierstein was an amazing Tevye and I liked Andrea Martin as Golde too. The guy playing Motel (John Cariani) was a little over the top, the guy playing Perchik (Robert Petkoff) was both adorable (in an odd Danny Masterson sort of way) and had a GORGEOUS tenor -- probably the best voice in the show and all of the girls playing the daughters were really good.

The staging was interesting. The story was, well, Fiddler on the Roof. The music was great -- but then again, I've had those songs ingrained in my brain since I was about a year old. It's amazing that I knew nearly all the words to all the songs (except for one I'm pretty certain had been added in for the new production) and that some of them could still make me verklempt. Afterwards, my mom and I were joking about her grandfather, my great-grandfather, who I knew (he died when I was about 9) and how much he was like Tevye (mainly the dairy man, immigrant thing). Overall, it was really good. I'd pay to see Harvey Fierstein read a phone book anyway. And, despite some of the reviews, he was incredibly butch as Tevye so it wasn't like he was the Sissy Dairyman or anything. You could also see he truly loved the role and it meant a lot to him.

Upon leaving, I heard a couple discussing (and debating) whether a 10 year old kid could understand the story or not. WTF? It's not that complex a show. It's not that esoteric a subject. Maybe you'd have to explain a little bit about czarist Russia to a 10 year old kid or a little bit about Jewish culture to a goyishe kid but I've always thought it was a pretty good family-oriented show. People are weird some times.

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