Browsing All posts tagged under »Mara Solar«

Fiddler on the Roof (Village Theatre)

December 12, 2012

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Village Theatre tackles the challenging and beloved family favorite musical “Fiddler on the Roof” and succeeds in generating an embarrassment of entertainment riches for audiences. I admit I was skeptical upon arrival at the theater. The idea that a live show could convey the enduring charm and delight of Norman Jewison’s 1971 movie seemed highly unlikely but “miracle of miracles” I was more than pleasantly surprised at what I witnessed.

Fiddler on the Roof” tells the story of Russian-Jewish patriarch Teyve, a dairyman in Czarist Russia, struggling to maintain his balance while raising five daughters during difficult times. An incredibly likeable character, beloved for his unpretentious and authentic personal relationship with God, Teyve tells us that God’s law provides the balance required to keep him and other Jews from toppling over. Without it, their lives would be 'as shaky as a fiddler on the roof'. Ever-changing times and increasingly strong-willed children, put Teyve's faith as well as his ability to bend without breaking to the ultimate test.

From top to bottom the production shines, like a guiding light from Teyve’s beloved Torah. The cast and crew, set designs and scene transitions, choreography, songs, etc…all were off the chart amazing and masterfully executed. Many of the songs were so wonderfully recreated on stage that they gave me chills. There is so much to like about the show, that I am at a loss at where to begin, so let’s start at the top. Eric Polani Jensen as family patriarch Teyve had an almost insurmountable challenge in recreating the role defined by Chaim Topol. I have seen other performances of “Fiddler on the Roof” and struggled to erase the memory of Topol’s definitive performance in that role, but somehow Jensen pulls it off with ease. Jensen not only looks very similar to Topol’s Teyve, but channels the same lovable charisma of Topol and the results are astonishing. I was disappointed when Topol injured his back and was unable to perform “Fiddler” in Seattle recently, but Jensen’s performance satisfied my unfilled desire.

It Shoulda Been You (Village Theatre)

March 22, 2012

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You are invited to take a break from your own troubles and spend a laugh filled evening immersed in the pure meshugaas which is the wedding of a Jewish bride and her Catholic groom. Toss in the extended dysfunctional families, the uninvited ex-boyfriend of the bride, two controlling yenta mother-in-laws and the marginalized but ‘please others at all cost’ older sister and you may just begin to scratch the surface of the insanity and drama which is the new musical “It Shoulda Been You”. Written by Brian Hargrove with music by Barbara Anselmi the production runs from March 14th – May 20th at the Village Theatre.

It Shoulda Been You” is a hilarious and entertaining behind-the-scenes view into family life, wedding planning, familial relationships, love, laugher and embracing one’s identity. The songs are catchy and the characters endearing despite their own flawed natures. Performances are top-notch with an equally strong supporting cast. Combined, they will joyfully carry you through all the biting one-liners, plot twists and over the top chaos and quirkiness which is the modern family wedding.

There is a ‘laugh or else you might cry’ mindset which pervades the production, as serious issues are called to light, but dealt with in a comical manner. The emotionally stunted father unable to show authentic affection to his son, the mother incapable of recognizing the beauty and value of her oldest daughter, simply because she’s heavyset and yet unmarried, parents who turn to alcohol and the manipulation of their children’s lives to try to compensate for their own less than satisfying marriages and more are all on display in “It Shoulda Been You” and yet we laugh. Perhaps laughter is the best of medicines and certainly preferable to tears, as we recognize ourselves and others in the characters we see.