The Class Act Production of Fiddler on the Roof, plays its final performance at the Nancy Bock Center for Performing Arts, (Mccullough Jr. HS Auditorium) venue Sun. Nov. 1 at 2:30 PM.
Producer/Director Keith Brumfield has melded his talented cast into a believable microcosm of life for early 20th century Russian Jews and their Czarist oppressors. The show, written by Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, is a classic because it so movingly combines the wry humor and the powerful currents of grief of a people trying to maintain their cultural identity as their world is once again torn apart.
The whole cast shines as they tell the story of a dairyman and his family, struggling to cope with their harsh existence in Czarist Russia in 1905.
To stage a great production of Fiddler on the Roof you need a strong lead performance by Tevye, and William Hahn (Klein Collins HS) certainly delivers one for the show. He avoids the common pitfall of delivering his lines with a heavy accent, choosing instead to inject just a trace of Yiddish flavor into the role. This allows him to create a character, rather than a caricature, to anchor the show. His vocal performance ensures that the musical’s most well-known numbers will stay with the audience long after they leave the theater.
His wife, Golde, is portrayed by Class Act veteran Murphy Baker, a junior at The Woodlands High School, This marks her 18th Class Act Production!
The three oldest daughters introduce themes of change through their unorthodox courtships. Playing eldest daughter Tzeitel, Gabi Lechtig-Martinez (The Woodlands HS) injects intelligence and irony into her role as an early feminist, determined to marry for love and able to badger timid fiancé Motel played by Jason Leach (The Woodlands HS) into standing up to Tevye. As second daughter Hodel, Abby Tozer evolves from obedient girl to strong and independent woman, willing to leave her world behind when fiancé Perchik (Hayden Cox – Klein Collins HS) is shipped off to Siberia. As third daughter Chava, Payton Russell (The John Copper School) beautifully accents his grief at the loss of his favorite daughter.
The ensemble is exceptionally strong — solid choreography delivered with precision across the multi level stage and vocal harmonies that sometimes bring chills, other times tears (as in the evocative “Sunrise, Sunset”).
The stage and nearly non-existent props at first seem a bit severe, until we realize that most of the surrounding village and scenery are more than adequately re-created by the energetic cast that takes us away to another time and place without much need for props. One exception: the surprising act one “dream scene,” where Tevye’s and Golda’s bed hosts maternal spirits from their past with an unexpected special effect.
An additional plus for the otherwise spare setting: There’s plenty of room for this production’s wonderful, joyful choreography.
Throughout the show, the audience is moved, amused and constantly entertained as the performance delivers a warmth of spirit that inspires genuine affection for the characters.
But star of the show is undeniably William Hahn whose engaging portrayal of Tevye was booming, playful and endearing – indeed, his dance to ‘If I were a rich man’ is worth the ticket price alone.
Both director and players get a nice assist in this effort from Costume designer Caroline Zirilli and set designer Jonathan Shelledy. The simple but authentic-looking period costumes re-create the mood and the spirit of Tevye’s times.
The production’s pit band, ably led by music director and conductor Rae Moses and sounding at almost all times like an energetic klezmer ensemble, a perfect background for a production like this one.
Class Act production of “Fiddler on the Roof” final performance at the Nancy Bock Performaning Arts Center is set for Sun. Nov. 1. Address: 3800 S. Panther Creek Drive, The Woodlands, Texas.
Running time, approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes including a single intermission.
Tickets and Information: Tickets run from $15-30 with prices subject to change. Call the box office at 281-292-6779 or for groups of 10 or more firstname.lastname@example.org. Discounts are extended according to age. More information or online reservations are at www.classactproductions.org.