“Fiddler on the Roof,” considered by many to be one of the greatest musicals of all time, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and darn it — the show still has the ability to move an audience like few others.
Currently being given a loving revival by Maggie’s Little Theater in Middle Village, the show, with a knowing book by Joseph Stein and a superb score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, is based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem.
Set in the small Russian village of Anatevka on the eve of the Revolutionary period, the story focuses on Tevye, a dairyman, who struggles to maintain a balance between love of his family and the long-standing traditions which have given his life its foundation.
The coveted leading role will forever be linked to its originator, Zero Mostel, and any actor who tackles it will, invariably, be compared to him. Happily, the current interpreter, Alan Perkins, offers a creditable portrayal.
Tevye is given ample opportunity to dominate the proceedings, displaying emotions of every sort and variety and singing some of the best-loved songs in the theatrical canon.
Perkins uses his rich singing voice effectively throughout. He is particularly fine on Tevye’s signature piece, the musical monologue “If I Were a Rich Man,” which finds him directly addressing God, as he is often wont to do. Despite its familiarity, the song has lost none of its allure.
Shana Aborn makes a good match as Tevye’s long-suffering wife, Golde. Even when she is at her most sarcastic, her underlying love for her husband is obvious.
Jenna Kantor imbues Yente, the village matchmaker, with a surprising dottiness and an assortment of physical and vocal idiosyncrasies that prove rather startling, but she is always fun to watch.
As Tevye’s three oldest daughters, Tanya Fiebert, Annice Auriemma and Amy Guarino display lovely voices in one of the show’s many well-known songs, “Matchmaker.”
Perkins and Auriemma prove most touching in their shared scene as the young girl is about to leave her family behind to be with the man she loves.
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
When: July 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and July 21 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: St. Margaret Parish Hall, 66-05 79 Place, Middle Village
Tickets: $18; $15 for seniors; $12 for children 11 and under