How do you take a well-known musical such as Fiddler on the Roof and successfully adapt it for children? Ask Denise Putman, the director of Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. which is currently running at the Chanticleer Theater.
Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. consists of fifteen scenes, ten songs, thirty-two children aged eighteen or younger, and nine students running the lights, scenery, and sets with a show that lasts about an hour.
This is a wonderful production. First of all, having teenagers in the roles of plump adults had to be a challenge but it works. When Tevye, Eric Koch really starts to relax and enjoy his role, it is delightful to the audience to see him roll his arm fat, which Eric has none, with raised arms in the famous scene of “If I Were a Rich Man.” Secondly, though most of the songs were in unison, the harmonies are precise with the performers confidently blending in their parts. Most notable is the opening number “Tradition” which at one time has five different parts intermixed.
As in any performance, certain parts were outstanding the night I saw the production. Hodel, Audrey Schnitker, sang beautifully in “Far from the Home I Love” perfectly balancing her part over the accompaniment while telling the audience of her feelings. One of the Cossacks was thoroughly into his role displaying anger towards the Jewish village by stomping his feet and making a fist, even when he marched through the audience.
Everything moved smoothly through this production, the scenes were moved swiftly, the music perfectly matched the performances, the lighting and the sound crews were excellent with meeting the needs of the performers, the costuming and sets were wonderful for the cast.
This is a condensed version of Fiddler on the Roof since it is for children, but it is definitely an excellent opportunity for Chanticleer to show off the area talent.
The show continues through July 29th with productions on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students with Chanticleer members receiving a $2 discount.. For reservations call 712-323-9955. There are no reserved seats for this show.
Go see “Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.” this summer. It's an enjoyable show and a great way to stay cool besides enjoying the wonderful talented children of Council Bluffs.