Prime Publishers by Jean Dunn (August 9, 2017)
“Clay & Wattles Theater Company’s month long production of “Fiddler on the Roof” opened Saturday, July 29, to a packed house on a cool evening at The Gary The Olivia Theater, a roofed, open air venue on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT.
With a professional cast and all new choreography and staging, Clay & Wattles’ anniversary production reflects a decade of growth and maturity for the company, bringing Broadway caliber singing and dancing to the universal story of family, tradition, love, exile and abiding faith with compassion, empathy and considerable humor.
Based on the stories of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, the story is set in 1905 in Anatevka, a tiny town in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia (now Ukraine), where Jews lead an increasingly tenuous existence.
Barely eking out a living, subject to the whim of the Tsar, long suffering Tevye the dairyman draws strength from his faith and the traditions that have guided his people for generations.
When his three eldest daughters dare to buck those traditions, he is forced to reconsider his place in a rapidly changing world.
Reprising his signature role, Thomas Camm is a master of subtlety, able to convey Tevye’s increasing angst with a look or a shrug.
His duet of “Do You Love Me?” with Barbara Salant as Golde, Tevye’s wife, is among the most tender moments in the show.
Monica Brown’s solo in “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” is stunning in its clarity, but it soon becomes apparent that all three actresses as the daughters (including Adrienne Camm as Chava and Megan Corcoran as Tzeitel) are outstanding singers.
Megan Corcoran doubles as a perfectly frightful Fruma Sara, the ghost who haunts Tevye’s dream in one of the most entertaining scenes in the show.
Noah Pyzik as Motel, William Dallas as Perchik and Jay Wilkinson as Fyedka, the daughters’ respective love interests, and others in the ensemble raise the level of dancing far above what might be expected.
A ten member pit orchestra expertly delivers the familiar score.
Matt Wood’s set design evokes the turn-of-the-century village and combined with Sally Camm’s staging is particularly lovely in the Sabbath Prayer sequence.”