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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Fiddler on the Roof" @ Portland Center Stage

The most striking thing about Portland Center Stage's production of "Fiddler on the Roof" was the unexpected humor. Most of it comes in the witty quips of Tevye, patriarch of a large Jewish family in small Russian village. The best of these come in Tevye's frequent conversations with God. Given the depressing circumstances of most of the play; including forced expulsion of Jewish people by the Czar.

David Studwell plays Tevye, and heads a uniformly impressive cast, including Portland favorite Susannah Mars. They are parents of five daughters, the three oldest of whom are poised to break centuries of tradition by marrying outside of arrangements made by the town's matchmaker.

The choreography is fantastic, and I would venture to say that it has the most dancing of any Portland Center Stage production I have seen. The orchestra is also sprawling, with ten musicians, I would wager that number is close to the largest band Portland Center Stage has assembled.

"Fiddler" is in all ways a fittingly ambitious production, and serves to as an exciting foretaste of things to come.

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