Living Up to Tradition

Posted on March 13, 2010

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Last night, my family went to the Lincoln-Marriott Theater to see Fiddler on the Roof. Back in high school junior year, SCS put on the show. I was a lowly member of the chorus as well as the percussionist in the orchestra. It was such a great experience getting to see it after being a part of it in high school. All the jokes were funnier, the acting was as fabulous as ever, and the voices were above par.

I have to praise this particular theater because Fiddler on the Roof was the fourth show I’ve seen there, and I have yet to be disappointed. A couple years back during my sophomore year of college, my family first went to see Les Miserables there. We had front row seats, one of FOUR front rows surrounding the octagon-shaped stage in the center of the theater. It’s much smaller than a theater on Broadway in Chicago, but the acting and singing rank just as high (and actually better) than the Broadway performance I saw in London when I was a freshman in high school.

The second show I saw there was Hairspray. I went with a group of friends to celebrate Ally’s birthday, another friend who also loves and enjoys a good musical! This might have been my favorite performance. I had definitely seen the movie, and several times at that, before seeing the musical. Although I adored James Marsden as Corny Collins in the film version, the musical cast, headed up by Ross Lehman, gave a stellar performance that literally made me want to get up and dance!!

Over Christmas break last year, my dad took our family to see My Fair Lady. My expectations were lower since Hairspray and Les Miserables were two of my favorite musicals, and My Fair Lady was definitely not. I had seen the movie back when I was in elementary school, but it didn’t mean very much to me then. The only other time I ran into the musical is when I had to deliver a duet acting performance by myself in my Oral Communications class my freshman year in college. What’s ironic is that I recently just found the script and had to laugh at the grading sheet. I mistakenly said “Oh, crap!” in the middle of the speech when I forgot a line. Luckily, my professor took only two points off for it : ). Anyways, Heidi Kettenring led this amazing performance as the female lead. If you know a lot about Broadway in Chicago, you might recognize her name since Kettenring had just finished playing Nessa Rose in Wicked for the past two years in Chicago. Her cockney accent was shot on, and I walked away stunned once again from the theater.

Last night, I got to see both Ross Lehman and Heidi Kettenring return, as well as a couple of the dancers I had seen in the past two musicals, including Christian Libonati (he’s so recognizable with his curly blonde hair and big blue eyes!). Kettenring returned with the smaller, but hilarious role of Fruma-Sarah, and Lehman switched from Hairspray’s Edna to Fiddler’s Tevye. I don’t think it’s possible to give the guy a bad remark–he was the best Tevye I’ve seen yet! His monologues and conversations with God were hilarious. I actually teared up when he had to say goodbye to his second oldest daughter, Chava, played by young Laura Scheinbaum, at the train station. I felt like this cast took this musical and made it more real than anything I’ve seen (at least in a long time!). Props to the incredible cast. It was a stunning and unforgettable performance.

I can’t wait to return again! Many thanks to the Marriot-Theater for hosting yet another amazing musical performance!

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