“Fiddler on the Roof” kicks off Broadway Grand Rapid’s season


COURTESY \ Joan Marcus

Allison Rafferty, Staff Reporter

Broadway Grand Rapids premiered its showing of “Fiddler on the Roof” Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the DeVos Performance Hall. Eight shows were performed while the show was in town through Sunday, Oct. 13.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a musical which follows a Jewish community in a pre-revolutionary Russian village. Reb Tevye, a poor milkman, is set on finding quality husbands for his five daughters, consulting the local matchmaker along the way. All of this occurs while the rise of antisemitism threatens his village. 

“Fiddler on the Roof” first made its theatrical appearance in Grand Rapids in October of 1989. The musical was revived on Broadway in New York in 2015, but the show did not begin to go on tour across the United States until last fall. 

We bring shows to Grand Rapids that are on tour because it makes sense for the routing across the country,” said Meghan Distel, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Broadway Grand Rapids. 

Distel said that Broadway shows on tour are brought to Grand Rapids because they “are a good fit for our market.” She added that the shows also come to Grand Rapids when they can be scheduled accordingly at the DeVos Performance Hall. 

In comparison to the original musical production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” very few changes have been made in this adaptation. Distel noted that both the score and script remain the same, with the only changes being some new choreography created by choreographer Hofesh Shechter and a few scene changes. 

The director of “Fiddler on the Roof,” Bartlett Sher, brings with him a wealth of experience, having been involved with many Broadway shows. He has one Tony Award and eight Tony Award nominations under his belt.

Producers in New York put together the cast and creative team to bring “Fiddler on the Roof” to life. The cast consists of 35 individuals, and Distel said that there are many people involved in putting on the show, which has a running time of two hours and 45 minutes.  

The show’s arrival in Grand Rapids marked the season opening for Broadway Grand Rapids’ 2019-2020 season. The next show coming to Broadway Grand Rapids is Disney’s “The Lion King,” which will be at the DeVos Performance Hall from Nov. 20 through Dec. 1. 

Distel said that she is excited for “Fiddler on the Roof” because, “The familiar songs, electric choreography, and storyline of the characters have a lasting impact and bring messages that all can resonate with.”