Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye from Fiddler On The Roof comes alive again at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts as Tevye comes to New York. Written and performed by Tom Dugan and directed by Michael Vale and Tom Dugan, the show brings back memories of the well-loved characters from Fiddler as well as an idea of what might have happened to Tevye after he was forced by an edict of the Tzar from Russia’s Pale of Settlement and immigrated to America.
He reminisces about his late wife Goldie, their girls – the original story had 5 but in this version there are 6, mainly I think to encourage diversity since one of Tevye’s twins is transgender. (An interesting twist for that time period since she probably would not have been accepted by the community then.) He reminds us of the other daughters and their husbands – the tailor, and later the butcher, the radical now spending time in a Siberia prison, and the daughter who married out of the religion. Then we learn about his youngest, the one who commits suicide, because the rich family of her suitor will not allow their son to wed a dairyman’s daughter.
Talking about his trip to America, he admires the “big green lady” as they dock at Ellis Island and then must take on Ellis Island doctors as they try to deny his grandson from entering and convince them that they are wrong – which he succeeds. (Unfortunately, this happened to many immigrants who were too scared to talk and were sent back marked as retarded.)
We laughed many times at his antics and felt his pain. His Hebrew pronunciation was perfect. If you enjoyed the original story, you’ll love this addition. He even brings in Mark Twain and Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich – Sholem Aleichem’s real name.
This performance launches [email protected] WALLIS, which celebrates inperson audiences while maintaining a firm commitment to the health and safety of the artists, staff and patrons. The outdoor theatre holds 100 socially distanced audience members each night. Paul Crewes, the Wallis’ Artistic Director, welcomes this first production since Tom Dugan also worked with them in Wiesenthal and other events.
The 90-minute show (no intermission) goes until July 25th, 2021, and is performed in Wallis outdoor theatre (so dress appropriately. The scenic and costume design is by Michael Vale, with lighting by Elizabeth Harper and sound design by Cricket S. Myers. Tickets cost $75 and parking below the Wallis is $5 for the evening. For more information you can call 310 746- 4000.
A totally enjoyable performance that I highly recommend.