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“Fiddler on the Roof”

To continue what has been a record-breaking season, The Golden Chain Theatre is proud to present 12 performances of the classic musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” directed by Jennifer Piccolotti.

The Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Jerome Robbins, and Joseph Stein show, based on the stories of Shalem Aleichem, will literally overflow from the GCT stage in Oakhurst with a play that is both amusing and moving.

The story centers on the village of Anatevka where milkman Tevye complains to God a bit, but basically enjoys life with his wife, their five daughters and his fellow villagers.

Older villagers celebrate their commitment to keeping things the way they have always been as they fulfill their various artisanal and familial duties. The younger generation, particularly three of Tevye’s daughters who are finding true love, don’t like the tradition of matchmaking and want some say in who they will wed.

The conflict created as the elders try to deal with this rebellion is a major theme of the show.

Complicating and ultimately changing everything in a more radical way is the concurrent theme of the rise of anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia.

James Mierkey is excellent in the lead role of Tevye, a big, gruff patriarch with a heart of gold who somehow seems to balance tradition and adaptability. Whether thinking out loud in “on the one hand, on the other hand” decision-making moments or trying to gain cooperation from his hard-nosed wife, Golde, played by Julie Riley, he’s always looking for solutions that maintain stability and don’t completely forsake established customs.

Mierkey's singing is strong on such classics as “Tradition,” and “If I Were a Rich Man.” His duet with Riley on “Do You Love Me?” is one of the highlights in the second act.

Other special moments are spirited ensemble performances on “To Life” (with high energy Russian dancing by the Community Dance and Theatre dance performance team) and “Sunrise, Sunset,” as well as the spooky song “The Dream.”

The cast of nearly 70, the largest to ever grace the Golden Chain stage, will give you a truly immersive experience and make a perfect family outing for the upcoming holiday season.

Kelly Ravel, Lyric Piccolotti, and Alli Ruiz play the marrying daughters, who will bring you “Matchmaker” and are individually stellar in their spotlighted moments. The young woman’s romantic concerns are effectively presented to resonate in a way that is remarkably contemporary, though set in a time long ago.

Stephanie Brock is a mischievous Yente, Robert Britt plays Motel the Tailor, and 13 year-old Peyton Riley gets to open and close the show with her fine fiddle playing, both at stage level and from atop a 18-foot-high wooden roof.

The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway for almost 10 years until “Grease” surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s 16th longest-running show in history.

The production won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction, and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity.

Details: “Fiddler on the Roof” (rated G) - The Golden Chain Theatre, 42130 Highway 41, Oakhurst - Nov. 6-29, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p..m. - Tickets range $8-$15 - group rates available - www.goldenchaintheatre.org, (559) 683-7112.

Golden Chain Theatre

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