Fiddler on the Roof

Rated 4.0 Usually Bob and Lillian Baxter are going full speed backstage during their Runaway Stage productions. However, for their current production, the two return to their acting roots as Tevye and Golde, the long-married Russian parents trying to keep traditions alive in Fiddler on the Roof. Turns out they’re as talented onstage as they are at running a theater. Bob was born to play Tevye—the gruff-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside father of five marriageable girls. He captures both the charm and the frustration of a poor Russian dairyman who faces the change of traditions in his family, his village and his country.

The spotlight of Fiddler is on Tevye’s story, and we get all his familiar songs—“Tradition” and “If I Were a Rich Man,” for example—as well as the show’s other favorites, like “Matchmaker,” “Miracle of Miracles” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”

It’s a large cast for Runaway Stage. There are a whopping 38 actors, singers and dancers, as well as a 14-person orchestra. And, as usual with this community playhouse, there are stronger, more-seasoned performers alongside less-polished performers. However, all possess an obvious love for the show. The sets and costumes are simple but clever. A special nod goes to the unique outfits created for Grandma’s ghost scene.

The show is a celebration of (and, for many, an introduction to) Jewish customs and traditions, including the Sabbath, the wedding ceremony, the songs and the clever cultural expressions. It’s a nice touch to present this production that celebrates the Jewish religion right before Hanukkah. But you’d better hurry—it only runs for two more weekends.