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if i were a rich man

By rebecca missel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 11, 1999
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Oy! Think you've got problems? Tevye has to deal with five headstrong daughters, one brusque wife, the assimilation of his culture, and dangerous Czarist armies. Yet, with rousing, cheerful musical numbers such as "Matchmaker" and "If I Were a Rich Man" appearing as comic relief throughout the show, Fiddler on the Roof proves itself a bittersweet classic.

The Desert Diamond Casino Broadway Series presents Fiddler on the Roof at Centennial Hall this Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. and evening shows start at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Fiddler portrays the lives of Russian Jewish villagers in the small town of Anatevka at the turn-of-the-century. Tevye is a modest dairyman who grapples with a world that is rapidly changing from traditional practices to modern ideals. His five daughters all want to choose the men they marry rather than allow Yente, the matchmaker, the privilege. Violence from the almost daily pogroms threatens the village's existence, and as a result many people have been forced to flee. The decision whether to abandon his homeland and possibly forsake his ancestors, or to stay and risk death, plagues Tevye throughout the play, especially in memorable musical numbers like, "Tradition!"

In 1990, Sammy Dallas Bayes directed and choreographed a revival of Fiddler. Bayes was associate choreographer for the movie version, and has also staged a plethora of musical numbers for entertainers such as Ben Vereen, Rita Moreno, Bette Midler, and David Copperfield. The Tony Award-winning company performing at Centennial Hall this weekend is directed by Bayes, and led by veteran John Preece in the starring role.

Tickets range from $38-26 and are half price for UA students with ID and children 18 and under. The box office phone number is 621-3341.

- rebecca missel