Originally Published: November 27, 2003 10 a.m.
The scenery for PHS' rendition of this classic is simple yet striking. The opening scene consists of a house, atop which the fiddler perches precariously. He plays a few notes on the fiddle, silhouetted against an orange and red sky. His silhouette against an empty sky seems lonely, and the solo music emphasizes that.
Murphy plays a funny and touching Tevye, speaking directly to God, shaking his fists at Him and dancing about. O'Malley plays an equally funny, frustrated wife – fed up but doting nonetheless. The chemistry between the two fits the script: there is an easy comfort found in knowing each other for years.
Lili Rusing plays Yente, the town Matchmaker. Rusing plays the part wonderfully, rambling on even after asking questions, using busy body language to convey gossip and secrets. Although Yente is not the lead role, Rusing makes it memorable, laughable and enjoyable.
Tevye and Golde's three oldest daughters, Tzeitel (Sammy Mion), Hodel (Jenny Estes) and Chava (Jenna Cohan), luckily, all have beautiful singing voices. And as each character is different, so is each voice. Mion's: strong and crisp; Estes': soft and sweet; Cohan's is clear and definite.
Sawyer Stroud plays Motel, a tailor who loves Tzeitel. He effectively (and humorously) portrays a shy, timid, gangly young man, jumping back when Tevye shouts at him, needing Tzeitel to force him to stand up to her father. Alex Smith played Perchik, a cocky student from Kiev who tries to win Hodel's heart. He stands tall, speaks proudly and encourages dancing (which is against the law).
The costumes, choreography and live music emphasize the performers' strengths – from acting to dancing (even gymnastics) to singing well – in small and in large groups.
Highlights: "Tradition," "The Sabbath Song," "To Life" and the entire wedding scene.
Although the script for "Fiddler on the Roof" is itself impressive, the performers have the strength in acting, singing and dancing to carry the heavy (disguised as light) script to its completion.
The students will perform "Fiddler on the Roof" this weekend, with shows at 7 o'clock Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the school's Ruth Street Theater, 1050 N. Ruth St. in Prescott. Tickets are $8.