Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite musicals, and I know every note of the movie soundtrack by heart, but I haven't seen it for sixteen years.
There are so many things I love about it. There are three threads running through it. First, there's the basic story of a poor milkman raising, and marrying off, three daughters, which varies between comic, tender, and tragic. Second, there's the tragic story of the fate of this Jewish community in Tsarist Russia (as younger son said, "Every happy moment is, in the end, beaten to death by the depression"). The third thread is Tevye's faith as shown through his conversations with God.
The music is... well, almost perfect. Many musicals could use some editing - songs aren't really necessary, some scenes drag, etc. In Fiddler on the Roof, every scene is essential to the whole, and none of the songs seem superfluous. They're lovely and often extremely moving in a way which many musicals can't match.
As you can tell, I don't go to see this musical lightly. I could be very critical - but I wasn't.
The first scene or so, I did have to silence my inner community theater chatter ("Why did they do this this way?... Oh, that's how they're handling the chorus here..." etc.). After that, though, I had been drawn so much into the story that I wasn't evaluating at all - which is really one of the best compliments I could give. I was totally absorbed.
The production did an excellent job with all the aspects I've mentioned. I gave up not crying by the end, and I wasn't ashamed of the tears on my face.
It's a story that alternately lifts you up and rips your heart out - which is why, as much as I love it, I haven't seen it in sixteen years.
I could go on to describe the different parts of the production, but the Burlington Times-News did a great job in their review. My favorite quote:
David Anthony Wright, managing and artistic director of the Paramount Theater, reprises his role as Tevye for the third time... The joy he exudes in this role is simply contagious.
There are four more performances - tomorrow's matinee, and three more next weekend. I highly recommend seeing it - and it's not as far from the northern part of the Triangle as you think!
For more information about the production and ordering tickets check the Facebook page.