Monday, March 28, 2016

Fiddler on the Roof Musical comes to Sydney

I’m thrilled that the Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof opens at the Capitol Theatre Sydney tomorrow night. When I heard that Australian stage and musical theatre legend Anthony Warlow was starring in this musical I knew it was a must see. I grew up listening to Warlow’s rich baritone, roof raising voice. His voice was one of those I could listen to over and over again when I was studying for exams in the old school days to drown out my parent’s conversations when they were a pitch too high. Warlow graces the stage again with his brilliance in performance and vocals in Fiddler on the Roof, the new musical coming to Sydney. I caught a glimpse of it during the media previews last week where we listened and watched as people filled the stages to the electrifying opening number, “Tradition”, which defines the main theme of the musical story and the tension between honouring the past and accepting progress into the future. The music enters your bloodstream and without knowing the full story line (as I like to keep some of it a surprise), I could tell the musical is about celebrations, life, loss and hope.
In chatting with Anthony on stage after the previews, Anthony told me the story was set in 1905 and the themes that existed back then are very much real today. Watching the musical you can’t but help think about the communities fleeing their own homes for the same reasons. Interestingly, when first approached to perform in this new role 18 months ago, Anthony said "no". It took 6 months for him to accept the role as he needed time to research the role and finding the right sensibilities for the role and after reading the book he realised that the role could come along in a different guise and it doesn’t have to be about religion and intensities around that. He said the story is about father and his daughters and how they are faced with change.

Anthony Warlow and me, on stage after the media preview of Fiddler on the Roof - Could I contain my excitement?
The story is set in a small Jewish village in Tzarist Russia, and tells the story of milkman Tevye and his attempts to preserve his family’s traditions in a changing world. One of Tevye’s 5 daughters, Tzeitel, wants to marry a poor tailor instead of a middle-aged butcher her father has chosen for her in the tradition of arranged marriages. The story follows Tevye as he attempts to hold onto his family values despite sweeping social change.

There is an amazing cast line up in this musical - joining Anthony as his sharp-tongued wife Golde, is Australian stage and screen star, Sigrid Thornton. Making his musical theatre debut playing the role of Motel, is ARIA award winner Lior. Mark Mitchell will play Lazar Wolf, the wealthy butcher. Acclaimed actress Nicki Wendt will play the role of Yente, the meddlesome village matchmaker.

Australian actress, Sigrid Thornton and me at the media preview of Fiddler on the Roof
Produced by Tim Lawson for The Works Entertainment, (The Illusionists, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, A Chorus Line) this new Australian production of Fiddler on the Roof is directed by the acclaimed Roger Hodgman (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), musically directed by Kellie Dickerson (WICKED) and boasts the award winning choreography by Jerome Robbins (West Side Story) under the watchful eye of Resident Choreographer, Dana Jolly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Completing the creative team is Set Designer, Richard Roberts; Light Designer, Paul Jackson and Sound Designer, Michael Waters.

Fiddler on the Roof is on from March 24 for 6 weeks only. Tickets available from

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