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October 22, 2009

The staying power of 'Fiddler on the Roof'; cast member Mary Stout a Germano's Cabaret

The best musicals don't age much. The plots still hold up, the songs still catch the ear. I'd argue that "The Fiddler on the Roof" is such a case.

It's currently at the Hippodrome in a touring production featuring Topol, the actor who has held claim to the role of Tevye for decades (his name is printed in larger type than the title of the show).

All in all, as I pointed out in my review, I found Topol's performance persuasive, even if he's ever so slightly, um, old for the role.

The whole production is spirited and well-oiled. The dancing has flair (including the famous bottle-on-hat routine from the original Jerome Robbins choreography); the music is treated with sufficient freshness (the reduced instrumentation provides a folksy, almost klezmer-y sound); and the supporting cast contains several strong performances. This is not a run-of-the-mill, overly economical road show.

One of the most amusing and rather endearing contributions comes from 

Mary Stout, who offers a vibrant portrayal of compulsive matchmaker Yente. She's a veteran of Broadway whose credits include "Beauty and the Beast" and "My Favorite Year." In our area, she has been featured in such shows as "The Happy End" at Center Stage and "Mame" (portraying Mother Burnside) at the Kennedy Center.  

On Monday, when she could be enjoying a quiet day off from "Fiddler," Stout will perform her own cabaret show of comic and standard songs at Germano's. Proceeds will benefit Broadway Cares: Equity Fights Aids.


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:51 AM | | Comments (3)


I've seen Fiddler on the Roof two times. I really enjoyed the show. Last year I got a cheap ticket and I went, it was really a great show. I will go see it for the third time.
So I'll be analyzing as well as enjoying the show.

We can't thank you enough for getting the word out.about Mary Stout and Musical Director James Fitzpatrick's benefit cabaret at Cabaret at Germano's for Broadway Cares: Equity Fights Aids. We had a full house, including BSA artists who were treated to a meet and greet before the show with Mary Stout and cast member, Baltimorean, Matthew Marks. Ms. Stout is not only an enormous talent--she is also a generous veteran who supports and promotes the young cast members who travel with her. At the Cabaret, She was joined by Leslie Alexander, T. Doyle Leverett and Rena Strober. Strober, who was memorable as Tzeitel in "Fiddler' , sang an uproarious rendition of the theme song from "The Godfather' Yiddush, Italian and English. Rena will be back at Germano's in the Spring with her own cabaret act.

Cyd Wolf and Germano Fabiani

the music is treated with sufficient freshness (the reduced instrumentation provides a folksy, almost klezmer-y sound); and the supporting cast contains several strong performances. Agreed!

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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