Winter musical performance review: Fiddler on the Roof
February 13, 2017
Homestead High’s winter musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” was a musical masterpiece riddled with energy, meaning, and humor. The production ran from Feb. 9-11 in the newly renovated James Barr Auditorium, and the theater department should be proud to have produced such a masterpiece as the first proper show in the new space.
Immediately, I could tell that the director wanted to emphasize that the idea of theater for social justice. The program’s cover shows that all donation go to UNICEF USA, and there is even a spread in the program itself telling about the idea of theater for social justice, emphasizing the show’s relevance to modern crises worldwide, including the refugee crisis. While the mention of such poignant world problems brings a sense of melancholy pondering upon the audience, the feeling does not last for long as the show begins.
The show opens with an energetic number focused on the main topic of the story: tradition. Riddled with humorous lines and energetic dancers, the dance set a high bar for the level of performance for the rest of the show. I was happily impressed to find that the cast would indeed this level of quality for the rest of the show.
As the foundation of the story is laid out before the audience, I got a very strong sense of each of the characters, something which can be hard to find in musicals, high-school ones especially. Zach Ginkel, senior, spoke with an excellent accent and portrayed the character of Tevye perfectly. He managed to strike an equilibrium between humorous and emotional delivery. Of course, the writing of the musical was clever, but Ginkel put his own spin on the character in a way that I think rivals that of actors who are much more experienced than him.
The lead female characters were also undoubtedly sassy and bold. Romina Sapozhnikov, senior, portrayed Golde in a way that made me smile whenever she waltzed onto stage, because I knew that she was going to make me laugh. In much the same way, Yente, portrayed by Silma Berrada, junior, was truly hilarious. She portrayed a stereotypical version of a Jewish grandmother in a way that most audience members could recognize and laugh with. These two leading ladies were entertaining, and brought a joyous, playful air to a story that could otherwise be too somber.
In the end, though, a somber air did indeed permeate the show. As the members of Anatevka were forced to evacuate their small village by the ruthless Constable, modern characters join the villagers on their march out. The insinuation that these people are refugees fleeing their crumbling hometowns hits powerfully home, and I was stunned by the simple, yet profound messages that such a simple, dialogue-less scene could send. The direction of the show was really genious, and I am constantly impressed by the boundaries that Ms. Amelia Figg-Franzoi, drama teacher, pushes.
Contributing to the work as a whole, the costume and set design of the show were truly impressive. The set looked sturdy and well-made, providing just enough background to the story to make sense of the story without overpowering the actors themselves. It truly looked professional, not to mention the quick transition between scenes. Emily Eckhardt, Class of ‘16, costume designer, and her crew also did an excellent job of keeping the clothing correct to the period, and I loved the personality that each character conveyed through their outfits.
Overall, I was amazed at the skill presented by our students here at Homestead, and I can easily see why the drama department has been so successful in competition.