A blessing on your head
Fiddler on the Roof
Sacramento, CA 95818
It’s might a bit of bad scheduling to follow the outstanding production of the classic—and possibly most perfect—musical Fiddler on the Roof at Music Circus with a community production less than a month later. Nonetheless, Bob Baxter throws on his prayer shawl and his drayman’s cap and belts out “Tradition” with gusto and flair in Runaway Stage Productions’ latest show.
And it doesn’t disappoint. Of course, the compelling story of Tevye the milkman (Baxter) and his family—and its toe-tapping songs—put Fiddler on the “more’s the merrier” list. And if a handful of performances here are a little underpar, the outstanding work by Baxter and Ruth Phillips as Tevye’s wife, Golde, pull it all together. They are assisted greatly by the comic gold from Anne Mason (as Tzeitel, their eldest daughter); an incredibly lovely performance of “Far From the Home I Love” by Jessilee Windhaus (Hodel, the second daughter); and intense vulnerability courtesy of Karen Harris (Chava, the third daughter).
RSP uses a simple but effective management of the dream sequence, and really good and ghostly performances from Grandma Tzeitel (Melissa Solley) and Fruma-Sarah (Caitlyn Shannon). And, of course, the live orchestra—complete with an expanded woodwinds section, which really elevates the traditional Eastern European elements of the score—always adds to the fun.
In all, RSP has a solid and well-done production of a show worth the time and energy—and not just because it’s a tradition.