Maine State Music Theatre, Brunswick, ME 2016

Fiddler rises to the task of staying fresh

“The production is exuberant, polished and emotionally textured, and it brilliantly achieves freshness while maintaining authentic adherence to the show’s origins. La Rosa’s staging honors Jerome Robbins’ direction and choreography of the original 1964 Broadway production, complete with the breathtaking ‘Bottle Dance” and the delicate ballet of ‘Chavele.’

”At the intimate Reim Theatre, we can savor every arched finger, every bold leap, every swaying back. The final dance — in which the exiled Jews of tiny Anatevka form a circle, extend their arms to each other in farewell, then head off in different directions — achieves heartbreaking eloquence without a word.”

Judith Newmark – Portland Press Herald

Maine State’s Fiddler still resonates

“This is MSMT’s seventh production of Fiddler, timed no doubt to coincide with last year’s Broadway revival. Director and choreographer Gary John La Rosa knows his subject matter well — in his words, he’s helmed “dozens” of versions — and it shows. The music is sprightly and crisp, the ensemble singing is in perfect unison, and the choreography is expertly timed, especially during the festive dance scenes.”

Rod Harmon – The Times Record

“As I have come to expect, the dancing and choreography is always excellent at MSMT and Gary John LaRosa, who also directed this show here 11 years ago deserves kudos for his fine work. He is a master at his craft and since it is a large cast and a long show, it takes a talent like his to keep it moving so the audience does not get bored.”

Charles Crosby – The Cryer

Fiddler Weaves a Rich Tapestry of Tradition, Tears, and Joy

“Maine State Music Theatre's third 2016 main stage production is a cause for celebration! After twenty-one years, the beloved Bock-Harnick musical, Fiddler on the Roof returns to the Pickard stage in a monumental production directed and choreographed by Gary John La Rosa, that stunningly weaves a rich and joyous tapestry of laughter, tears, and joy. Maintaining its perfect dramatic and emotional equipoise, this Fiddler on the Roof travels between tradition and change, monumental events and mastery of detail. As a show, Fiddler on the Roof is a huge undertaking for any company. It is nearly three hours long with an infectious, musically demanding score, challenging Jerome Robbins choreography, and colorful book scenes which call for powerful singing-dancing actors. Moreover, the show requires a deep understanding of both its historical/cultural context and the immediacy of its message for a modern world. All this and more, La Rosa, MSMT's creative team, and a brilliant cast of charismatic performers bring to the Pickard stage with a heartfelt vibrancy.

Director/choreographer Gary John La Rosa is widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on Fiddler and a strong proponent of honoring the original Jerome Robbins staging/choreography with its balletic and folkloric inspirations and its deft storytelling. Yet, what La Rosa achieves here is no mere recreation, but rather a fresh take on a timeless piece. His eye for both the panoramic and the intimate is striking; his ability to create not only beautiful stage pictures but also to bring them to life with an interiorized humanity is what makes this production so compelling. Allowing each of the thirty-six characters' individual stories to unfold, almost as motifs, he then weaves these into a universal canvas. He manages skillfully the nimble dance between humor and gravity, inviting the audience to share the roller coaster ride that is Tevye's story. Most of all he imbues the piece with a feeling of genuineness; for all the larger-than-life characters and catastrophes in Anatevka, none ever loses its touching truthfulness.

MSMT's Fiddler on the Roof is as fine a production as you will experience anywhere in the world of professional theatre. With the show running successfully in revival on Broadway and with a legacy of so many iconic productions and performers, this new production not only holds its own, but also distinguishes itself for its honesty, its humor, its pathos, and in the way it takes hold of your heart right from the beginning and holds onto it to the final curtain. There is something distinctively unique and original – and, indeed, memorable – at play here. It is a tribute to La Rosa, to MSMT's entire creative team, cast, crew, and to the leadership team of Curt Dale Clark and Stephanie Dupal that this amazing regional company has been able to scale yet another artistic height this season!”

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold –

“There are a handful of musicals that I simply adore, shows that I’ve seen over and over again in the past 30 years. When one of them pops up on a theater company’s season, I approach it with both hope and a little bit of fear. I hope that the production will please my experienced palate, and fear that maybe something will disappoint. I’m pleased to report that Maine State Music Theatre’s current professional production of Fiddler on the Roof fulfills all my hopes and dispels all my fears. From the famous first scene – a textbook example of how to start a big Broadway show with a bang – to the silent and poignant denouement, MSMT’s “Fiddler” is an evening to relish and remember. Fiddler is directed by Gary John La Rosa, whose immense experience helming this show is audible and visible throughout this wonderful production.”

Scott Andrews – The Forecaster

“…I was lucky enough to see their beautiful production of Fiddler on the Roof, and the show was incredibly well done and delivered by a stellar cast. MSMT's production of Fiddler on the Roof, under the direction and choreography of Gary John La Rosa, reminds audiences of the importance of this touching show, and this cast will touch the hearts of everyone who sees it. MSMT’s production of Fiddler on the Roof is one of the best productions of this show I have seen.”

Kelli Curtin –

Stages St. Louis, MO

Robbins' timeless dances shine in Fiddler on the Roof

“Can we imagine two iconic Broadway shows, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof, without the choreography of the great Jerome Robbins? Surely not — and the new production of Fiddler at Stages St. Louis honors his legacy. Choreographer Gary John La Rosa, a Robbins specialist, is on hand to reproduce the master’s work.

"At the intimate Reim Theatre, we can savor every arched finger, every bold leap, every swaying back. The final dance — in which the exiled Jews of tiny Anatevka form a circle, extend their arms to each other in farewell, then head off in different directions — achieves heartbreaking eloquence without a word.

"Naturally, the big show-stopping dances are here as well: the glamorous, vaguely menacing dance that young Russian men perform at a tavern to celebrate an engagement, the famed bottle dance that young Jewish men perform at a wedding to delight the bride and groom. When you see them, recall the dazzling dance-fight that opens West Side Story — and try to think of anyone else who understood the animal power of a male dance ensemble as did Robbins.”

Judith Newmark – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Fiddler on the Roof: Stages St. Louis Pulls Off Brilliant Production of Classic Musical

“Stages St. Louis closes its main-stage season with that most traditional of musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, and like the show's opening number, "Tradition," …to deliver a bright production, filled with sumptuous choreography and impressive musical numbers.”

“…the show is at its best during the high-polish numbers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in numbers such as ‘To Life,’ where Jerry Bock's music and Sheldon Harnick's lyrics are woven seamlessly with Jerome Robbins' mind-bendingly intricate choreography (here reproduced by Gary John La Rosa). As Tevye toasts his daughter's engagement to the aged butcher, Lazar Wolf (Christopher Limber), Jewish bar patrons and young Russians weave in and out of each other, their supple bodies forming an acrobatic loom as patterns form and quickly dissolve — like the engagement they are celebrating.”

“But the quieter numbers are equally impressive, as when Tevye and his wife Golde are joined in ‘Sabbath Prayer’ by other villagers who appear nearly spectral, illuminated behind scrims on James Wolk's lovely set. Similarly, ‘The Dream’ is at once nightmarish and gleeful as Tevye describes his prophetic ‘vision’ to Golde, convincing his wife that their daughter, Tzeitel should break her engagement to the butcher and marry instead the young (though penniless) tailor, Motel.

“Robbins' choreography simply shines in the number, as it does in Tzeitel's subsequent wedding — though particularly in the ‘Bottle Dance.’"

“With its heavy reliance on past performances, this is not a production that breaks new ground. Rather, like Tevye, it hews to tradition, which in the case of Fiddler is filled with riches.”

Malcolm Gay – Riverfront Times

Fiddler on the Roof

“Equally impressive is choreographer Gary John La Rosa. In the program it says his job was to reproduce the original choreography which is a tall order to fill. (Imagine someone telling a painter to reproduce a Picasso!) The most notable successes La Rosa achieved include the wedding scene, the dream sequence in Tevye's bedroom and, of course, the crowd pleasing ‘To Life.’ The quad of Russian dancers gave me life! The four youthful dancers shined brightly in each of their movements. The level of talent and technical superiority those four displayed was just flat out fabulous.”

“Did I gush too much? I don't think so. This production of Fiddler on the Roof is outstanding in every aspect. From the sets to the dancing to the acting, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Congratulations to Stages St. Louis for closing out their season with such a brilliant production. Obviously this production earns a must-see rating!”

Jim Ryan – Playbaack: stl

Barington Stage Company

Fiddler on the Roof

“What a way for Barrington Stage to launch its 2012 Main Stage season! Broadway veteran Brad Oscar as a brilliantly nuanced Teyve, with more than two dozen performers to play his wife, five daughters, their suitors and other Anatevkians. And ‘miracle of miracles’ — each one a standout, as is Jerome Robbins original choreography as vividly reproduced by director-choreographer Gary John La Rosa. Barrington Stage has a history of beautifully staged classic musicals, this season's Fiddler On the Roof, is the best ever, as close to perfection as you can get.”

“…it's a thrill to see everything so gloriously realized by this company.”

“Given the standout studded cast it's impossible to sing everyone's praises.”“As for the dance numbers, given the stunning "Bottle Dance" and the "Wedding Dance" in which the entire village, including Teyve's own joyous break with tradition to dance with Golde, I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite.”

“The only downside to this Fiddler is that, like all summer theater, this is a limited run so see it while you can — and bring the kids. This is a show for people of all faiths, nationalities and ages.”

Elyse Sommer – CurtainUp

“Happily, if you ask anyone who was at Sunday’s opening of Fiddler on the Roof – which is the first musical of the Berkshire summer – Barrington Stage has once again staged a total and complete winner. It has everything. Make your plans now, you are guaranteed to leave the theatre with a whole raft of colorful characters dancing in your head, and humming some wonderful old fashioned tunes.”

“… as the curtain comes down and the audience applauds and applauds until their hands are red. Opening night, there was a standing ovation to boot.”

“Like the original production of Fiddler which was both choreographed and directed by Jerome Robbins, this production had just one leader for both elements as well, Gary John La Rosa who is now making his BSC directing debut. He has staged 200 productions elsewhere and his experience and panache are very much on view. The dance elements were as strong as the dramatic ones, and were so ingeniously integrated it is hard to remember where one left off and the other began.”

“It is a pleasure to see such an honest production of a classic tale, with deliberate craftsmanship as director Gary John La Rosa sought to reproduce the joys of the original show, including its stunning choreography. As a result, this Fiddler on the Roof is likely to go down as one of the classic productions at Barrington Stage Company. It is one big, winning musical, the first blockbuster hit of the summer.”

Larry Murray – Berkshire On Stage

Barrington's Fiddler revival mixes tradition with enthusiasm

“With its fast-paced, good looking production of Fiddler on the Roof the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA, continues its fine tradition of staging highly polished revivals of classic Broadway musicals…”

“This production of Fiddler feels as fresh as ever.”

“This is, without doubt, one of the best sung versions of the score I have ever encountered…”

“As choreographer La Rosa has lovingly reproduced much of Jerome Robbins' original choreography, including a dream ballet involving Tevye's oldest daughters and their suitors and the boisterous wedding dances which segue from the segregated celebrations of the men and women of the village to the tradition-shattering (thanks to Perchik) partnering of the sexes in buoyant leaps and swings. Especially impressive was his delightfully frantic staging of Tevye's nightmare, in which Golde's grandmother and Lazar Wolf's late wife return from the dead with portentous warnings should Lazar take Tzeitel as a bride. It's a funny and visually thrilling sequence, complete with outsized character in padding or on shoulders and the chorus wearing garish face masks.”“… it's nice to experience it through new eyes, that can convey a freshness and honesty of emotion.”

Andrew Beck – Springfield/Hartford Examiner

“Once again Barrington Stage Company, that shining star in the Berkshires, has breathed new life into one of Broadway’s “Golden Age” classic musicals, and the results are incredible. This Fiddler on the Roof is not just another revival. Under the astute direction and inventive choreography of Gary John La Rosa, the company has found the true heart within the story of Tevye, his wife Golde, and their daughters.”

“Performances by the large cast are uniformly award-worthy. Brad Oscar’s Tevye doesn’t miss a laugh, but behind the humor his love and caring shine through. Joanna Glushak resists turning Golde into simply a shrewish wife with a moving portrayal of a loving and caring soul mate and mother who knows, loves, and understands her family.”

“There, professionalism is evident in every aspect of this production from colorful sets and costumes to an excellent orchestra directed by Darren Cohen. For a rewarding evening of professional musical theatre, with a top-drawer company, don’t miss Fiddler at Barrington Stage.”

Walt Haggerty – In The Spotlight Review

FIDDLER exemplifies import of the arts

"…saw Barrington Stage’s Fiddler on the Roof last Saturday and it blew us away. We still had tears in our eyes 15 minutes after the play."

“In the audience the night we saw Fiddler was the visionary and former mayor, James Ruberto, who understood just how important these institutions are and could be for the city. Enough said. All praise to those constructive souls who give us unparalleled theater in our corner of the world. All praise for the cast of Fiddler."

Alan Chartock – The Berkshire Eagle

Fiddler is Back and Wonderful

“This Fiddler, which includes Robbins’s original choreography, is receiving a superb production at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. You will laugh, cry and most likely have a deep emotional experience.”

Gary John La Rosa has directed and choreographed the production with a sure hand. The show flows seamlessly with La Rosa’s tight pacing. His staging and re-creation of Robbins’s choreography is energetic and controlled, and the dramatic scenes are emotionally realized.”

“Fiddler is a timeless show and though many in the theater-going public undoubtedly have memorized every line, this version is charismatic and robust. It is an ideal production to introduce young people to the magic of the stage.”

Macey Levin – The Lakeville Journal

Talent in Barrington Stage’s Fiddler is through the roof

“Having recently seen a charming middle school production of Fiddler on the Roof (featuring my talented niece, Katie) and a fine outing at Schenectady Light Opera Company, I sat in Pittsfield, arms crossed, thinking, ‘Enchant me again. I dare you.’ Well, I had to uncross my arms to applaud as vigorously as the others in the opening night audience — including lyricist Sheldon Harnick, the man who wrote the words to Jerry Bock’s memorable tunes. BSC’s production is an unqualified hit.”

“Director/choreographer Gary John La Rosa has staged the big production numbers that dominate Act 1 as sharply detailed snapshots of village life: “Sabbath Prayer,” “To Life,” the hilarious “The Dream,” and the entire wedding sequence are set pieces so brilliantly executed you’d like to push the rewind button. His work is complemented by that of the musical director, Darren Cohn and his nine-piece orchestra (love the accordion).”

“You couldn’t start off your musical theater summer any better than with a trip to Barrington Stage.”

Paul Lamar – Schenectady Daily Gazette

“Barrington Stage Company is opening it mainstage season with a splendid staging of the 1964 classic, directed by Gary John La Rosa, who as actor, director and choreographer has been involved in over two dozen previous productions of the play.”

“BSC founder Julianne Boyd has seen fit to provide La Rosa with a crack design team and every bit of this show looks as good as it plays.”

“As a director, one struggle with Fiddler is finding enough singers to fill the roles. That’s not an issue for La Rosa. Colin Israel’s Motel, Rebecca Kuznick’s Tzeitel, Stephanie Lynne Mason’s Hodel…all wonderful.”

“…the opening “Tradition” and the raucous “To Life” and “Bottle Dance” are thrilling.”

Michael Eck – Albany Times-Union

Barrington Stage Has A Hit!

“Fiddler on the Roof – a memorable night of musical theatre at its best. Again, Julianne Boyd finds the right cast to recreate near Broadway perfection in this tale of Jewish traditions challenged.”

“…and a million plaudits to Gary John La Rosa who directed and choreographed this wonderful story of Shalom Aleichem and its enormous cast so effectively.”

“The four men dancing while balancing bottles on their heads bought down the house.”

“Fiddler on the Roof is a show for everyone. I found its insights, conflicts and humanity very familiar and topical. The audience was totally engaged and showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.”

Rex Hearn – Berkshire Record

“From the outset, Fiddler on the Roof is playing with the urgency and immediacy of a land surrounded by enemies set to destroy a way of life.”

“This production features some wonderful performers and artists. Illumination, not just the wonderful lighting by Jeff Davis, but the way the stage pictures seem to brighten the decisions made by Tevye and his family, is the watchword for this edition of Fiddler... as Brad Oscar presents a man, Tevye, who can only accept the word of God as it comes to him in his own life. There are no false notes…”

Gary John La Rosa has recreated the historic choreographic look of the show’s creator, Jerome Robbins. He has done a wonderful thing. His production rings true to the original and it is only in the performances of Tevye and Golde that he has brought in new elements in the playing of this piece. This is not a re-imagining of Fiddler on the Roof but rather a rebirth of the show.”

“Tradition is at the core of Barrington Stage’s production and tradition carries the night. Barrington, once again, has an offering at the altar of theater that burns bright and strong and presents a sharp scent of caring for the future of the past.”

J. Peter Bergman – The Advocate Weekly / Edge Boston

Barrington Stage Company's Production of Fiddler On The Roof Pulls at the Heartstrings

“For theater buffs, the surest sign that summer is here is the opening of the always extravagant, crowd-pleasing musical at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. We’ll, I’m happy to tell you that with the arrival of the splendid production of Fiddler on the Roof at BSC, the season has arrived.”

“The direction is impeccable and the music makes the superior singers sound even better without forgetting the importance of the lyrics. (At Sunday’s opening, this lyrical sensibility was of special importance since the man who wrote the lyrics, Sheldon Harnick, was in the audience.)”

“A special element of this production is the attention given to replicate the original choreography of Jerome Robbins. The decision validates Robbins as a dance genius, as each number tells a touching story within the dance.”

“Director Gary John La Rosa keeps the pace of the show in perfect sync with the story, which uses humor to set up touching and poignant moments.”“

The cliché ‘You laugh, you cry’ is apt in this production. Add to all this, a simple but elegant set and period costumes and you have an excellent production of Fiddler on the Roof. Summer is here — go enjoy it.”

Bob Goepfert – The Troy Record

“Sometimes you have a theater experience that stays with you forever. I’m sure most theater goers can remember when, where, and with whom they first saw Fiddler on the Roof. Usually I find those magic moments impossible to reproduce. The story, the songs, the words that made you laugh and cry; the spectacular dance numbers that took your breath away. The excitement of watching it all unfold before your eyes for the first time is hard to duplicate.”

“Barrington Stage Co. has given you a second chance to marvel at the magnificence of this musical. The only thing different about this production is that when it’s over, and after many standing ovations, you will leave the theater and not be on Broadway, but on Union Street in downtown Pittsfield MA.”

“Everything about Barrington’s production is perfect and totally “Broadway.” Google it to find the names of the 27 cast members….they are all superb…..The direction, orchestra, dancing, singing, acting, lights and sound were all outstanding.”

“The lucky opening night audience was given the added thrill of having one of the creators (lyrics) Sheldon Harnick interviewed by William Finn at the pre-talk. Mr. Harnick had the most interesting stories to tell about how Fiddler came to be.”

Stephen Sorokoff – Times Square Chronicles

A Fiddler in the Berkshires

“If it's true—and it is—that they don't make musicals the way they used to, then Fiddler on the Roof is the last of the indisputably classic Broadway musicals to have been made the old-fashioned way. The songs are memorable, the book soundly constructed, and Jerome Robbins's dances, which are seen so often in modern-day revivals that they've come to be regarded as an inseparable part of Fiddler, blend local color with fresh choreographic invention to perennially pleasing effect.”

Gary John La Rosa, the director and choreographer, has opted for a conventional approach to Fiddler, faithfully reproducing Mr. Robbins's dances, which are executed with energy and precision. Every scene pays off, especially the first-act dream sequence, and Jack Mehler's semiabstract backdrops—in which the thatched roofs of the shtetl of Anatevka are strewn across the Russian sky like the flocks of birds that are seen in the paintings of Robert Goodnough—add a delicate touch of poetry to the proceedings.”

“Sheldon Harnick, who wrote the lyrics to Fiddler, was in the opening-night audience. He looked like he was having a fine time—as well he should have.”

Terry Teachout – The Wall Street Journal

Fiddler on the Roof at Barrington Stage

Gary John La Rosa has done a terrific job of directing the show and reproducing Jerome Robbins stunning original choreography.”

“The large supporting cast is brilliant, featuring an array of wonderful characterizations. At one point Tevye and his wife Golde sing ''Do You Love Me?''... You'll love them -- and you'll love Fiddler on the Roof. Musical theatre doesn't get much better than this…”

Ron Lee – WBRK Radio

“If the measure of a good production of Fiddler on the Roof is loyalty to the original, then Barrington Stage Company’s current production of this beloved, iconic, nearly perfect musical, running in Pittsfield through July 14, cannot be faulted. Bolstered by an impeccable, at times stunning collection of voices singing those all-too-familiar melodies; the vibrant, lively Jerome Robbins choreography; and swift staging and technical support that makes this three-hour investment of an evening fly by in the wink of an eye, the whole performance rings true.”

“But this Fiddler offers something even more. As true and loyal and authentic as it is, director Gary John La Rosa and the cast, especially lead actor Brad Oscar, who is more of a Herschel Bernardi-style Tevye than a Zero Mostel one (and to his credit), uncannily are able to find unexplored, even contemporary nuances in the book, lyrics, and characters, that gives this staging a remarkably fresh quality.”“This is no more exercise in nostalgia – although of course it is partly that, and was partly that from the very first time the curtain rose on the musical in 1964 – but a celebration of theater as well as the age-old themes explored in this surprisingly deep and profound work of musical theater.”

“To some, Fiddler on the Roof may represent the apex – and the end, to a great extent – of the classic Broadway musical entertainment. But in fact, as made clear by Barrington Stage’s production, Fiddler was a lot more than that – it was a transitional piece of work that, while very much in the Yiddish and Broadway musical theater tradition, paved the way, or anticipated, the revolution that was about to come.”

Seth Rogovoy – The Rogovoy Report

Fulton Theatre, PA

FIDDLER casting and singing are ‘right on’ at Fulton

“By the end of the Fulton's Fiddler on the Roof, you'll miss Anatevka, too. Thursday's opening night was the kind of thrill that only comes to a stage once in a blue moon thanks to right-on casting.”

“This show packs so much excitement and fun in the first act, I dreaded the inevitable stinging reality of the second: 1905 Russia just wasn't a good place to be a Jew.”

“But before that act, the audience gets a charming Tevye connecting in "If I Were a Rich Man," a stunning full-chorus sound of "Sabbath Prayer" and one of the funniest on-stage dream sequences to ever make a crowd roll. There's also a hilarious pub scene where "To Life" is brought to life with some fantastic original choreography reproduced by Gary John La Rosa, who also directs. It's the wedding scene, though, that will make you want to convert, with some of the script's best banter dialogue and a crowd-pleasing, not-to-be-missed quartet dancing with bottles balanced on their heads.”

“If you're going to see a Fulton show this season, it should be this one. The Fulton's Fiddler roars onto stage, shows you a good time, then quietly goes away with a sweet, gentle ending that will put you in the holiday spirit — whatever your holiday.”

Susan E. Lindt – Intelligencer Journal

Fulton cast does the classic ‘Fiddler’ proud

Cast puts on strong performance of the tragic story of a Jewish village in Czarist Russia.
”Fiddler on the Roof is a great show – a show that's hard to mess up because it's constructed so well, has some great songs, and tells a story that is both universal and strikingly individual.” ”It took about two minutes Thursday night to know that the Fulton Opera House's new production of this classic musical was going to be a winner.”

”First, Stephen Berger came out as Tevye and began his running monologue with God. He was warm and funny and had the commanding yet harried presence a strong Tevye must have. You never see the wheels turning in Berger's performance. Then came the first production number of the show, "Tradition," where the entire cast, led by Tevye, comes out and sings about how things are in the Jewish village of Anatevka, Russia, in 1905. If the song gives you goose bumps - and this one sure did - well, you know you're in for a great night of theater.”

”Director Gary John La Rosa has done a tremendous job with this production.””The pace is swift, there is a lot of humor and the emotional highs and lows come shining through. I defy anyone to have a dry eye when the show comes to an end.”

La Rosa reproduces the original choreography of Jerome Robbins and it's quite well done. In particular, the bottle dance, performed during Tzeitel's wedding, is great fun.”

”Ron Barnett is musical director, Robert Klingelhoefer designed the set and Beth Dunkelberger created the costumes. They are all at the top of their game.”

Jane Holahan – Lancaster New Era

Fiddler sounds a sweet and simple tune

"’Frehliches Krismes.’ That's ‘Merry Christmas’ in Yiddish, which should probably be an oxymoron, but somehow works out quite nicely in the Fulton's holiday production of Fiddler on the Roof.

"Directed for the Fulton by Gary John La Rosa, who re-creates the original Jerome Robbins choreography, the show celebrates life in all its unexpectedness — a balancing act as difficult as ... wait for it ... fiddling on a roof.””A 10-piece orchestra under the direction of Ron Barnett enhances classic numbers such as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man," and the huge 38-member cast shines, making a three-hour show (the original was even longer) speed by smoothly.”

”All-in-all, the Fulton gives its audience a joyful holiday gift, one that reminds us how traditions and transitions are both part of life, separated by just two little letters. Right? Of course, right.”

Marty Crisp – Sunday News

Playhouse on the Square, TN

Fiddler Goes for Tradition

“Playhouse on the Square has revived the 1964 Broadway musical under the direction and choreography of Memphis newcomer Gary John La Rosa. He’s been well-apprenticed in the Fiddler school of staging. La Rosa appeared in the 30th anniversary Broadway revival starring Topol and the 35th anniversary national tour with Theodore Bikel. He’s staged the show several times before.”

“For those who want a Fiddler on the Roof awash in both theatrical and Jewish orthodoxy, La Rosa paints an earnest picture.”

La Rosa’s choreography in the wedding scene – particularly when the bottles are balanced atop the dancers’ hats – is fairly astonishing…”

Christopher Blank – Commercial Appeal

Maine State Music Theatre, Brunswick, ME 2005

“Despite recent professional and community stagings elsewhere, area theatergoers will converge on Brunswick for this final week to enjoy the best production many will ever see, MSMT’s masterful presentation of the changing world of Tevye the dairyman.”

“Fiddler on the Roof is a beautiful story, and MSMT tells it with great wit, sympathy and authority. Under the direction of Gary John La Rosa, MSMT has successfully matched professional Equity talent to these formidable roles.”

“MSMT’s production of Fiddler on the Roof belongs in the drop-whatever-you’re-doing-to-see-it-now-category."

Scott Andrews – Footlights

Music Theatre's Fiddler Warm and Familiar

“The result is a warm and subtle production that portends a strong, pleasing 37th season."

“Thoughtfully directed and staged by Gary John La Rosa, who has appeared in and staged Fiddler before (but not here), this production has a muted beauty in color and tone. The timing is natural, the flow, smooth. The overall effect is bittersweet nostalgia, full of excitement and dangers of the future, and the eroding security of the past

Barbara Bartels – Times Record

Montclair Musical Theatre, NJ

Fiddler Upholds Traditions

“…in the capable hands of director / choreographer Gary John La Rosa, the show moves along briskly and effectively, which is no small feat for a musical that runs nearly three hours. …La Rosa has not lost sight of the fact that the emotional simplicity of the story can only truly affect audiences if the production itself is equally unadorned. …One element that makes this Fiddler stand head and shoulders above the rest is La Rosa's choreography."

“…It is no easy task to keep Fiddler on the Roof fresh and alive after countless incarnations on countless stages, and repeated viewings for many audience members. MOC accomplishes this and more with the current production, one that upholds the traditions of excellence associated with the piece. To borrow from Tevye, "there is no other hand" – this Fiddler should not be missed."

Bill Van Sant – Essex Journal

Westchester Broadway Theatre, NY

Fiddler is a Miracle of Miracles

“If the words fresh and Fiddler on the Roof don't seem to fit in the same sentence, you haven't been to Elmsford lately. At the Westchester Broadway Theatre there, an intelligent and sensitive revival of the 1964 musical by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick demonstrates what a classic this show is. Though its very title may prompt a yawn, the work itself is a discovery – no matter how many times you may have seen it elsewhere."

“After a dispiriting dry spell of routine productions, the dinner theater is suddenly alive again with a show that can be recommended not just to the theater's faithful regular clientele, but to those who have never been there before.”

“…there is superb choreography (also true to Robbins) by Gary John La Rosa, a newcomer to Elmsford."“It is a production which everything goes right.”

Jacques le Sourd – Gannett Newspapers

Don’t Fiddle Around & Miss a Great Show

"What truly distinguishes this production from the others is Gary John La Rosa's choreography and the performers who execute it.”

Cynthia Topps – The Times Herald-Record

Westchester's Fiddler on the Roof a Sure-Fire Hit

“Watching the wonderful village numbers, "Tradition," "To Life" and "The Wedding Dance" – with the demanding choreographic precision that includes the difficult bottle dance – as well as many numbers incorporating the threading of groups in intricate weaves of lightening folkloric patterns, one agrees with lover Perchik in watching the show that "Everything is right at hand, simple and clear," even when the performance skills demanded are very complex. Credit director George Puello and choreographic director Gary John La Rosa with presenting Fiddler… with a direct approach filled with vivacity that balances the troubling message of everyday pain and hardship in the domain of Anatevka, 1905.”

Daphne Kraft – Herald & News

West Virginia Public Theatre, WV

‘Fiddler’ Hits the Right Notes

“West Virginia Public Theatre's production of Fiddler on the Roof opened to a not-so-full house Tuesday at the WVU Creative Arts Center. Too bad. The several empty seats scattered throughout the audience represented people who missed out on a good show full of lively songs and subtle humor."

“Spiro Malas, a world-renowned opera star, used his strong voice in the role of Tevye…”

“Though all the scenes are good, the best is 'The Dream'…”

“Fiddler on the Roof will provide a good night's entertainment for the family.”

Pamela Cyphert Queen – The Dominion Post

Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, ID

‘Fiddler,’ Rhodes Really Raise the Roof

“However, a good Tevye guarantees only a good production, not a great one. For the show to be great, many more elements must contribute. This show, directed and choreographed by Gary John La Rosa, comes close to great in many ways.”

“…the entire ensemble moved with grace and authority.”

La Rosa came up with one wonderful directing touch in having the part of the Fiddler played by a young boy…”

“And it does all of this with humor and exceptional melodies. May Fiddler be a tradition that never dies.”

Jim Kershner – The Spokesman-Review

Love Ya, Tevye

“…this is a poignant Fiddler. It explores themes of persecution and personal loss without idealizing Sholem Aleichem’s characters.”

“In a sequence that’s unusual for musicals – only a handful treat religious faith with so much seriousness – La Rosa deploys his cast in five choruses, two of them behind a scrim backdrop, ethereal and dreamlike. It’s quite moving, and the best evocation of genuine faithfulness in a show that depends on our believing in the villagers’ piety.”

“The pogrom has begun, and it’s La Rosa’s direction that makes it seem like such a shock in the middle of all the festivities.”

“At their farewell, Tevye prays that God will at least keep his child warm – and La Rosa stages it so that, even if she is shipping off to Siberia, we see the father’s wishes granted.”

La Rosa uses scrim to create dream-like effects, most notably during ‘Sabbath Prayer’ and the ‘Anatevka’ finale, when groups of characters separate from the main action but are also used to comment on it.”

“As the Coeur d’Alene Fiddler comes to its close, so do our spirits.”

Michael Bowen – Inlander

Fiddler on the Roof at CST

“The lady seated next to me put it best: ‘It’s a long show actually, but I wish it would go on forever.’ A huge house filling the NIC auditorium sat mesmerized Saturday night, till the final bows – when they sprang up and huzzaed as though having just observed a miracle.”

“What was seen here garnered spontaneous and appropriate applause in the middle of several dances.”

Wayne Caudill – Nickel’s Worth

Landmark Musicals, Alburqueque, NM

Strong-spirited ‘Fiddler’: Musical features brilliant song, dance

“Landmark Musicals’ new production of Fiddler on the Roof comes in the 50th anniversary year of the original Broadway production. The new production therefore pays tribute to the original, but it also honors the original by mounting a strong performance. It is strong in spirit – robust, tender, dramatic. It is strong to the senses – dazzling voices, assertive acting and dancing, Spartan and effective designs of the set, the costumes and the lighting.”

“This musical is brimming with sentimental melodies like “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and a Tevye signature song “If I Were a Rich Man.” It is also filled with many moments of brilliant dancing and staging.”

David Steinberg – Albuquerque Journal

Fiddler on the Roof – Landmark Musicals at Rodey Theatre

“Fiddler on the Roof probably feels overly familiar to a lot of long-time theatergoers. You might ask yourself: Do I really need to drag myself over to the University of New Mexico campus to see Fiddler again? In this case, the answer is: Yes, absolutely, you do!”

“This is one of Landmark Musicals' finest productions.”

“This is partly due to the excellent … but also to bringing in a director with a lot of Fiddlers under his belt (Gary John La Rosa) …”

“I've already mentioned the outstanding creative team. The cast is equally excellent. The cast of 31 is strong all the way through.”

“If I haven't made it clear enough by now, let me reiterate: This is not just a show for Jews. It's one of the all-time great American musicals. It makes you laugh, and then leaves you with a lump in your throat. Whoever you are, I encourage you to see it while you can.”

Dean Yannias –

© 2024 Gary John La Rosa