San Diego Musical Theatre's Production of the Timeless Tale "Fiddler on the Roof"

Is proof of the enduring power this beloved musical has

The cast of SDMT's Fiddler on the Roof. Photo Ken Jacques

"Fiddler on the Roof" is a timeless tale that even though not the happiest, definitely makes you reflect through both joy and heartbreak. San Diego Musical Theatre did a wonderful job with this musical masterpiece that has resonated with audiences for decades. Composed by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a Book by Joseph Stein. 

The story follows Tevye (Matthew Henerson), a poor milkman, as he navigates the challenges of tradition, family, and change. Tevye grapples with his strong beliefs and customs as he sees three of his five daughters -Tzeitel  (Tamara Rodriguez), Hodel (Rachel Dovsky), and Chava (Ina Lelevier)-, challenge these traditions by choosing their own paths in love and life. Amidst the backdrop of political and social upheaval, Tevye must confront the shifting dynamics within his family and community while trying to maintain his faith and identity in a rapidly changing world. 

Matthew Henerson. Photo Ken Jacques
This rendition of Fiddler', directed by Omri Schein, was captivating with its heartfelt portrayal. SDMT is known for the amazing performance skills of its actors with an emphasis on choreography and this production, definitely attested to that with challenging numbers performed beautifully.

Matthew Henerson as Teyve is the guiding thread of this piece and is very moving in his role while balancing comedy, sadness, and feelings of pride. Debra Wanger as Teyve's wife Golde, pairs wonderfully as the voice of reason but also, hard truth and tough love. I appreciated seeing Tamara Rodriguez in the role of Tzeitel, as she has been performing throughout San Diego for a while but I had yet to see her in a singing role as one of the main characters and she definitely did not disappoint, with a graceful performance and wonderful voice. In the performance that I saw, which was on a Thursday night and with a full house, Rachel Dovsky, stepped in as the understudy for Hodel, with a delivery that was nothing short of extraordinary, showcasing a potent voice through a beautiful portrayal. Ina Lelevier as Chava also added another layer to the production, capturing the hearts of the audience with her performance. The three older sisters's love interests Zane Davis as the tailor Motel, Kenny Bordieri as the teacher Perchik, and Ian Black as the loving soldier Fyedka, meshed well with each of the actresses having the audience enchanted by the love stories as well. D. Candis Paule in the role of the matchmaker Yente is hilarious and also very tender as is Bryan Curtiss White in his portrayal of the almost left-at-the-altar, butcher groom, Lazar Wolf. 

The cast of SDMT's Fiddler on the Roof. Photo Ken Jacques

It is magical how SDMT manages to handle a large cast such as this one, in the small space and have it look good and not squished in. The ensemble is great and totally makes the piece fun and captivating along with other cast members that include: Elena Bertachi, Alex Bobroff, Danny Campbell, Rachel Dovsky, Manny Fernandes, Eliott Goretsky, Andres Lagang, Giancarlo Lugo, Emma Sherman, Jaxon Smith, Richard Stanford, Joe Stein, Sheira Stein, Sasha Weiss, and Eli Wood.

Mike Buckley's simple yet practical scenic design effectively utilized the space fitting the hefty cast, while Michelle Miles's lighting stole the spotlight, seamlessly blending contrasting tones to enhance each scene. Jordan Gray's sound design, Chong Mi Land's costume design, and Jill Gorre Rovastos's choreography all came together to create a visually stunning and immersive experience. Under the musical direction of Richard Dueñez Morrison, the production's harmony and rhythm were flawlessly executed.

This production of Fiddler on the Roof in San Diego is proof of the enduring power this beloved musical has, while beautifully weaving a narrative of hope, resilience, and the enduring power of family and tradition in the face of adversity.

Currently playing until March 10th. For performance times and ticket prices, please click here.

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