PEORIA -- On the heels of the rock musical Spring Awakening (see below; it played on Oct. 16) comes the great 1964 classic musical Fiddler on the Roof, for two nights at the Peoria Civic Center, Oct. 18-19.
The Oct. 18 performance was terrific. This is a musical with familiar songs, no sex, violence, or four letter words, suitable for children. Yet it, too, is about teenage rebellion, revolution, change, and persecution.
This Civic Center show is lush with a huge cast, orchestra in the pit, not on stage, along with clever, even elaborate scenery and actors who sing and dance well. It uses Jerome Robbins' original choreography.
The familiar songs include "Tradition," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "If I Were A Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset."
John Preece is outstanding as Tevye, the central protagonist of the play. Preece has an operatic voice and is also a skilled actor. The other cast members are also highly skilled.
An interesting note: Fiddler attracted a larger and completely different, much older audience than Spring Awakening.
With these two shows, the Civic Center's Broadway Series is off to a good start.
-- Elaine Hopkins