REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof

Ah, it was a joy to experience the live music of Fiddler on the Roof. The kind that awakes you from within, stirs your soul. The fiddle is beautiful and haunting, as is the story. The Ordway has re-opened to Broadway, with lights, song, dance, and a pit orchestra. The square is alive again in St. Paul; the view from the windows of the Ordway is no less than magical. As is the experience.

The score from Fiddler is perhaps one of the most memorable; the storyline remains relevant, poignant, provoking. The characters are all endearing, so be prepared to have your heart lifted, melted and perhaps just a little bit broken, in the most worthwhile way. For three hours, you will feel a range of emotions that reminds you of what it is to be human, to love, to lose, to hope, to dream…to sing.

The lead character, Tevye, is a poor milkman, blessed (cursed?) with five daughters whom he must marry. Without a dowry, a match is difficult. The matchmaker has matches, the girls have other ideas. A woman making her own choices, however, is revolutionary at best, sacrilegious at worst (Tradition!), and all the characters are left with difficult decisions, and the results.

There is both struggle and joy in Anateva, the town where the story takes place, and well-placed levity amidst the challenges. Set against a backdrop of anti-Semitism, the divisions between rich and poor, those in power and those who are not, Fiddler is a tale that bears telling, time and time again, from generation to generation. Tevye, his daughters, and the supporting cast is inspiring; their craft is real and so are their characters.

Those who are unfamiliar with the story will likely recognize the tunes – “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, “If I Were a Rich Man”, “Sunrise, Sunset” to name a few. And there is perhaps the lesser known “Do You Love Me”, which boldly asks a question many wonder about an arranged marriage of 25 years.

If there was ever a time to support the arts, now is it. Fiddler runs from November 30-December 12 at the Ordway. This is a show for everyone, full of music, laughter, tears, and performances that will leave you in reflection long after the curtains fall. Masks are required (you will be so mesmerized that you will forget you are wearing one); proof of vaccination or a Covid-negative test must be produced at the door.

Your match awaits. Enjoy!

Fiddler on the Roof is at The Ordway in St. Paul through December 12, 2021. Tickets start at $48.

Full COVID safety protocols can be found here.

Review by Kavita Battula