The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Fiddler on the Roof
Organization Placer Community Theater
Date(s) of show November 7-23, 2014
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb

Iíve seen many productions by Placer Community Theater over the past several years, and this ambitious staging of Fiddler on the Roof is one of their best.  For a start, itís performed in the newly renovated State Theatre.  The facilityís seating capacity has increased from 130 to 335, and the stage and proscenium have been remodeled, along with other improvements less obvious to the theater-goer.

Turning to this production, the first thing one notices is the set.  It is truly evocative of Anatevka.  And the set pieces (Tevyeís cart, wedding canopy, etc.), along with the authentic costumes, really give a sense of place.

The show begins with singing, and I was immediately impressed with the excellent ensemble sound.  Among the large cast of 36, there are many excellent singers, who contributed harmony and made the big numbers memorable.  Several of the solo singers were strong, too, most notably David Lynn as Tevye, Kathy Goldie as Golde, and Ben Harwell as Lazar Wolf.  Several other principals also had nice voices, but I found some to be a bit light, and they could really have benefitted from amplification.  Someone should donate two dozen body mics to this fine production company Ė it would be an excellent investment.

There was no problem hearing the 7-piece orchestra.  In the absence of an orchestra pit in the theater, the ensemble played from an alcove off to the left of the stage.  That made them an even more prominent part of the production, and their playing was delightful and added a great deal to oneís enjoyment of this show.

Although most of the actors displayed strong voices, I often missed hearing lines, and again, mics would have been a help.  Projection was no problem for most of the principals, though.  And most importantly, David Lynn as Tevye was not only easy to hear, he did a beautiful job maintaining an ethnic accent.  Thatís no surprise:  he scored an Elly nomination for the part of Tevye in a 1999 production of Fiddler.

Hillís acting was especially good here, too, as was that of so many members of this cast, though Kathy Godie was an especially endearing Golde.  I donít know if it was good directing or good acting, but there were several points where I noticed that good timing of lines got a laugh from the audience Ė or some other appropriate reaction, and thereís no question that the large audience on this Saturday night were fully engaged in this story.  One more thing:  four dancers had been recruited for the show, and in the famous dance scenes at the inn and at the wedding, they provided some of the evening's most memorable highlights.

Placer Community Theaterís Fiddler on the Roof is a faithful presentation of a well-loved story.  If itís been a while since youíve seen this show, take my advice:  go and fall in love with it all over again.

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