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Intimacy on a Big Stage

Oct. 18, 2016
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Photo by George Katsekes Jr.

For Sunset Playhouse’s Fiddler on the Roof, director Diana Alioto and choreographer Nancy Visintainer-Armstrong bring together a large ensemble in the service of the beloved story of family patriarch Tevye and his daughters in a small Russian village at the dawn of the 20th century.

Rick Richter summons textured wit to the role of Tevye. Pithy bits of humor often slip by with grace and subtlety under his breath. It’s a tremendously charismatic performance. The stage, sparse but for the dense population of a vigorous village, serves as a sharp window into an enjoyable microcosm of humanity as an old culture is about to plunge into the modern world.

There’s a humble quality to nearly every aspect of production that echoes a humanist emotional immensity. Set and costuming aren’t flashy or impressive, but they can’t afford to be in a story that focuses so closely on vicissitudes in human interaction. Tevye’s many daughters find love and aspirations beyond their roots. Diana Alioto finds ways to lock in the emotional immediacy of romantic love in a rather large theater space, which is particularly impressive in a script without a great deal of time to explore any one romance. Alioto is aided by a capable cast including Trevor Waltho II as a visiting student teacher and Morgen Aria Clarey as the daughter of Tevye he has fallen in love with.

Through Nov. 6 at Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road. For tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

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