The Upper Darby Summer Stage is one of the great opportunities for young actors in the area. Celebrating its 38th season this year, the UDSS uses professionals from New York City and Philadelphia to work with a talented cast of young adults up to the age of 28 in creating a professional-quality production. This year’s Mainstage offering is the classic musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. FIDDLER is the story of the town of Anatevka, focusing on Tevya (Dan Matarazzo), his wife Golde (Jackie Serratore), and their 3 older children Tzeitel (Colleen Clancy), Hodel (Sophie Pauline), and Chava (Ali Caiazzo.) Other characters of note are the 3 “suitors”, Motel (Stephen Fala), Perchik (Chris Monaco), and Fyedka (Ronnie Keller), as well as the butcher Lazar Wolf (Jared Paxson) and matchmaker Yente (Meghan Dietzler.) A large and very talented group of singers and dancers fill out the cast as residents of Anatavka and the Russian military.
This is a very solid production. One of the things you can depend on with the UDSS productions is amazing production values, and this show doesn’t disappoint. The lighting, sound and effects are all first-rate, and accentuate rather than overshadow the action on the stage. The orchestra (Music Director Gina Giachero) is first-rate and follows the stage action very well. A highlight of the production is the dancing (Choreographer Abby Shunskis), which incorporates traditional movements into the action on stage. The bottle dance is a delight…and congrats to the dancers who don’t use Velcro, tape, or any other device other than the hat and their balance to keep them bottles upright!
The actual onstage performance is wonderful. The cast is very large, yet there are only a couple times when the stage seemed congested. Production numbers flowed beautifully, and the scene changes were quick and painless to the audience. The voices of the cast (individually and collectively) were beautiful. The performance of “Sabbath Prayer” and “Sunrise, Sunset” brought chills.
This is a great evening of entertainment. There were a couple characters that (due to their relative youth) were more of a caricature than a character, but the joy and camaraderie on stage made up for their relative inexperience. I have been to several of the UDSS Mainstage productions, and have never been disappointed. This show has a very limited run. Find the time to attend. You will leave the theatre as charmed as I did.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Music by Jerry Bock
Book by Joseph Stein
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Based on “Tevye and his Daughters” by Sholem Aleichem
Directed by Marcus and Rachel Stevens
Musical Direction by Gina Giachero
August 2, 3, 9, 10 at 7:30, August 10 at 1:30
Upper Darby Summer Stage
601 N. Lansdowne Ave
Drexel Hill PA