Retirees Association

Gary Pacernick: Review of Wright State Theatre's Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler in the Roof dancers

[Editor's note: a group of 25 retirees witnessed the production of Fiddler on the Roof, November 19, 2017. The following review was written by Professor Gary Pacernick.)

It took chutzpah for the Wright State Threatre Department to stage Fiddler on the Roof. Wright State’s production of the iconic musical was superb from beginning to end.  It deserved its standing ovation from the enthralled audience.

As a member of that audience, I identified with the play based on stories by the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem.  My father and his family left Eastern Europe in 1920 for a new life in America, just before the end of the Eastern European immigration.

Beyond that I was mesmerized by the music and lyrics, dancing, costumes and sets, and, above all, by the actors, all of which make Anatevka come to life. John Beasley as Tevye commmanded the stage, and his performance was complemented by that of Golde (Megan Valle), Tzeitel (Keyli Modell), Hodel (Daniaelle Bressler), and on and on.

All the actors contributed to the impressive performance of a play that is filled with conflict between traditional religious values and modern secular ones.  It is poignant sad, and yet life-affirming. Its characters, songs, story, and dance have become part of American lore.  Wright State did itself proud.

Congratulations to the director, Stuart McDowell and the entire cast and crew.