LEHI — One of the most impressive new players on the local theater scene in Utah County is the Regalo Theater Company in Lehi. I have absolutely loved everything I’ve seen from them including White Christmas last holiday season, which I reviewed for UTBA. Their latest show is the classic Fiddler on the Roof and it keeps with their stellar track record. Another wonderful musical for the entire family. Fiddler on the Roof is a musical from 1964 with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein. It is based on book called Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers around a Jewish milkman named Tevye who lives in a small Russian village named Anatevka with his wife Golde and 5 daughters Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Shprintze, and Bielke.
Tevye is the narrator of our story and he talks to God and the audience about his cares and wishes for his family. It’s this casual aspect that often makes Fiddler palatable for those that don’t normally love musicals. Who can’t relate to the old person in your life who gives advice and seems to always be humming a tune under their breath? Michael Carrasco captures this energy of Tevye perfectly and steals any scene he is in especially in the iconic “If I Were a Rich Man” number.
The group numbers are also impeccably done with dance choreography by Tyne Crockett and Emerson Earnshaw. The large cast gets the audience immersed in the story with the opening “Tradition” song that introduces us to the setting, characters and themes of the show. I also loved the dancing in “To Life,” “The Dream,” and the bottle dancers in the “Wedding Dances” (they almost got through the routine without the bottles toppling but at the last minute 2 fell off but they still did an incredible job with the scene.)
“The Dream” also features some of the best production design from director Colleen Carrasco and stage manager Noelle Conder. The lighting by Elizabeth Griffiths adds bright color creating a gothic tone with shadows in this spooky sequence, and again all the singing and dancing is fantastic.
Allison Books has a lovely chemistry with Carrasco as Golde and Tevye respectively. They felt like a believable couple snipping at each other, and it all leads up to the sweet number “Do You Love Me?” where they realize that maybe a little love did come from their arranged marriage. I also love the interaction with Tevye and his older daughters. First there is Tzeitzel (played by Aubrey Rose Jackson) who is in love with a tailor Motel. They get the rather cheesy but fun number “Miracle of Miracles.” This is what leads to “The Dream” sequence where Tevye makes up a dream to scare Golde into accepting the union. Then we have Hodel (played by Sierra Livermore) who falls in love with communist rebel Perchik. I love her song “Far From the Home I Love” that she sings when she has to leave Anatevka to go and help the imprisoned Perchik. Finally there is Chava (played by Savannah Carrasco acting with her father) who falls for the Christian Fyedka and inspires the devastating “Chavalah” song and ballet.
The only real problem with Fiddler on the Roof at Regalo is the sound mix was off at times with the music frequently overpowering the vocalists. This is probably something they will tweak as they perform the show and wasn’t too distracting from the over-all performances. There were also some microphone issues that I am sure will be addressed in future performances.
Fiddler on the Roof ends with our characters being forced out of Anatevka with the song “Anatevka” and you feel the weight of the situation on the entire town. After all, we’ve laughed, cried and smiled with this group and the injustice stings. It’s also sad that this treatment was mild compared to what happened to many Jewish men and women a couple decades later. The matchmaker Yente talks about going to the Holy Land at the end and it’s sad to know even Jerusalem wasn’t safe for so many who took refuge there.
Regalo Theater performs at Skyridge High School’s beautiful and large auditorium and the tickets are a bargain and would make this a great way to introduce a family to classic theater like Fiddler on the Roof. Not only could one have a great conversation as a family about the singing and dancing but also discuss the themes of religion, persecution, marriage and more. Plus, it would be simply a great night out with those you love and you can’t beat that. I highly recommend supporting Regalo and checking out their latest production of Fiddler on the Roof.