Fiddler on the Roof returns to The Fisher with poignant message
Photo by Joan Marcus Fiddler on the Roof has returned to Detroit running at The Fisher Theatre through October 16th after the show's last area run was cut short back in March of 2020 due to COVID restrictions. Nearly 60 years after opening, the musical remains a favorite and despite it's age continues to appeal to broad audiences as the show's inherent themes of religious persecution and family and societal tradition continue to ring true in today's society. The show's beloved score featuring such popular tracks as "Tradition," "If I Were A Rich Man" and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," continue to delight and the mix of serious humors with a strong sense of humor and familial love makes for a enjoyable evening fit for all ages. Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming tale of the relationship between a father and a daughter, a husband and a wife and his role in his community and society as a whole. It is set in 1905 in the fictional town of Anatevka in Imperial Russia and follows the story of dairyman Tevye (Jonathan Hashmonay) as he struggles to balance the love for his five daughters and his relationship with his wife with the expectations of society and his Jewish faith. Each of his three oldest daughters wishes to marry for love breaking a tradition of arranged marriages with each relationship presenting even more challenges as one wants a poor tailor, one a revolutionary and one bonding with a man outside the faith. Each plea presents a larger challenge for Tevye set against a background of change as the outside world and it's political issues, persecution and progressive societal changes begin to affect their small community. Featuring a fantastic visual production and a shining cast, this current Detroit production of the classic musical continues to delight and share its message of acceptance and hope. Hashmonay holds the whole production together with his striking portrayal of Tevye balancing both the comedic aspect and seriousness of the story while hitting all of the right notes. Mary Beth Webber as Yente the matchmaker is also a delight and Maite Uzal as Tevye's wife Golde also stood out. All put together the show teaches the audience about survival, faith, love and family and as the cast took its final bow, Hashmonay mentioned how the show is still relevant with the atrocities taking place in Ukraine, dedicating the performances to the people there. As his character Tevye shares at the beginning of the show, "In our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck." At the end of the day, we are not all that different.