Trevecca Nazarene University Presents Fiddleron the Roof

Having earned ten Tony Awards, Fiddler on the Roof is one of the best-known, best-loved musicals to ever grace a Broadway (college, community theatre, high school, etc.) stage. The 1971 movie version, which earned eight Academy Award nominations (winning three) did even more to solidify the musical’s place in the collective American consciousness. It was, in fact, the first musical I was forced to attend to appease an adamant date (the young lady who later became my wife).
The fact that the musical is so well known and so well loved makes it a near guaranteed hit. Folks who wouldn’t be caught dead at the theatre will turn out for Fiddler on the Roof. But it is that same love affair that poses Fiddler’s greatest challenge – familiarity does indeed breed contempt. Suffice it to say most of us approach the musical with a certain amount of preconceived notions: Tevye must look, sing and dance like Topol; Yente must be old, bent, feisty, ascerbic, and lovable – just like Molly Picon; and no one is going to replace Norma Crane as the quintessential Jewish mother, Golde.
Over the years we’ve seen the movie, two college productions, and the Broadway touring show starring Herschal Bernardi. We’re happy to say this year’s production at Trevecca Nazarene University holds its own against any of those previous versions. (Well, okay, the movie is pretty hard to top, but I digress). High marks go to director Jeff Frame (who also handles the role of Tevye) for making the stage seem three times as large as it is. Cyndi Headrick, Arwen Meek, and Christiana Shepard were lovable and believable as Tevye’s daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel, and Chava. Aaron Shaver gave Lazar Wolf a crotchetiness that was missing from earlier versions; Brannon Hancock played Motel, the tailor with just the right touch of pathos; and Nathan Owens was darkly handsome as the brooding activist, Perchik. Kristina Grundy and Christina McCullough had way too much fun playing Yente and Fruma-Sarah, respectively (high marks for make up on both of these characters!). But the evening’s best performance was turned in by Melissa Fox as Golde. Miss Fox managed to make us forget that we were watching a musical, and believe we were watching a slice of life. Well done.
Of course the music was magnificent. No parent can get through “Sunrise, Sunset” with a dry eye. Arwen Meek was in fine voice for “Far From the Home I Love,” and “Do You Love Me” remains one of the most moving moments in theatrical history. The 11-piece orchestra, conducted by Dr. Timothy Cierpke was definitely up to the challenge.
Two thumbs up for Trevecca’s production of Fiddler On The Roof.
Fiddler On The Roof runs November 1, 2002 at 6:00 and 9:00 pm and November 2, 2002 at 2:00 at Benson Auditorium on the TNU campus, 333 Murfreesboro Pike.

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