Deborah Howell Reviews 'Fiddler on the Roof' at the Pantages Theatre

Fiddler is Fabulous at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre!

April 22, 2019

Yehezkel Lazarov, Jonathan Von Mering & the Cast of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Joan Marcus.

I was lucky to be in attendance as The Hollywood Pantages Theatre presented the opening night of the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof, direct from Broadway!  “Fiddler” is a beloved theatrical classic from Tony Award® winner Joseph Stein, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, inspired by the work of Jerome Robbins.

It’s the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter. This timeless musical is rich with Broadway hits, including “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were A Rich Man,” "Sunrise Sunset,” "Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.” Every one of these songs will find its way into your heart yet again, and often in haunting new ways.

The Cast of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Joan Marcus.

“Fiddler” stars one of the most charismatic actor/singers in the theatre scene today-- Israeli film and TV star, Yehezkel Lazarov-- who takes on the lead role of Tevye and instantly makes it his own.  A little more about Yehezkel, because he merits very special attention.   This man has played leading roles in over 40 films and TV shows  (including The Mentalist, The Kindergarten Teacher, Waltz with Bashir—which won a Golden Globe)—and many more.  Lazarov is also a theatre director, adaptor, set designer and, incredibly,  choreographer of all his works!    All of this experience is apparent in his every move and nuanced facial expression as the put-upon head of a household in a land where long-held traditions are evaporating before his dismayed eyes. Front and center in almost every scene, Lazarov commands our full attention and exudes charm and empathy with every perfectly delivered line.  Most of all, he’s just wickedly, deliciously funny.

Maite Uzal plays his wife and foil, Golde, with a husky-voiced sternness which only makes it all the more poignant when her loving side ultimately reveals itself. Their daughters have the sweetest voices in the universe and are allowed ample occasions to showcase their instruments.  

The scenery and set design are quite effective (especially impressive during a dream scenario)  and the choreography is simply splendid.  My friend and I were mesmerized by a dance which featured male Villagers balancing wine bottles on the tops of their hats while performing intricate traditional steps.  A total WOW!

The Cast of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Joan Marcus.

If you think Fiddler is not worth re-visiting in the year 2019, think again.  It’s more heart-searing, joyful and thought-provoking than ever in the hands of this cast and director.  If you’re looking for a tender, violence-free, uplifting production to take your family to, look no further.

The performance schedule for Fiddler on the Roof is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm. Fiddler on the Roof is recommended for ages 8 and up.  

The Tony Award® nominated revival is only playing a limited 3-week engagement at Hollywood Pantages Theatre (April 16 – May 5) so don’t miss out! Tickets are now on sale, and available at www.HollywoodPantages.com/FiddlerontheRoof and www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 982-2787 or in person at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre Box Office (Opens Daily at 10am PT).