Review: Heartwood's Fiddler on the Roof

Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2013 in Culture

Review: Heartwood's Fiddler on the Roof

Tevye and Tzeital, played by Elias Dauite and Shiann Keene

By David Treadwell 


From the rousing “Tradition!” to the haunting “Anatevka,” the Heartwood Youth Production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Lincoln Academy is a smashing success.

The seamless opening night production featured stunning performances by Elias Daiute (as Tevye, the milkman) and Abbey Hutchins (as Golde, his wife). Elias skillfully portrays the full range of emotions of the Tevye: from exultation and anger and love to bewilderment at the tendency of his daughters to step outside tradition’s lines.  Abbey is magnificent as Tevye’s not-always-dutiful wife. Her superb singing foretells a promising career in vocal performance. The duo offered up a priceless performance of “Do You Love Me?”. 

Shiann Keene (as the oldest daughter Tzeitel) and Gabriel Ferrero (as the tailor and her suitor) artfully convey the wonder of young love. 

The breathtaking ensemble numbers feature over 30 young performers singing and dancing with precision and professionalism.  One could clearly hear the words and deeply sense the spirit throughout the musical. It was easy to forget, in the moment, that the cast was composed entirely of students from Lincoln Academy and Great Salt Bay School.

The music direction of Sean Fleming and the choreography of Robin Vermilion and Debi Irons deserve special mention.

Over and above the entire performance loomed the masterful presence of Director Griff Braley, a fine director for performers of all ages, but never more on his game than when harnessing and honing the talents of young people. 

In the opening number (“Tradition”), Tevye says, “Without tradition, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” 

This truly noteworthy production of “Fiddler on the Roof” confirms that with Heartwood Theater, the midcoast region is a much richer place.

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