THEATER REVIEWS : Still Some Strengths in Lackluster 'Fiddler'

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bob Carroll trudged through the usual Tevye motions in "Fiddler on the Roof" last Friday at La Mirada Theatre, as if he had done the show so many times that his mind was elsewhere. This Tevye apparently couldn't care less about being a rich man. When he delivered his "on the other hand" speeches, the mental switchbacks barely registered in his voice and features.

On the other hand, Thelma Lee remains a strong, vital Golde, even though her program bio credits her with 5,100 performances in the role. It also mentions that she is in a 55-year marriage--this makes the 25-year union between Tevye and Golde look like kid stuff. Of course, no one who has been married 55 years would have a pre-teen daughter, as Golde does, but Lee makes us overlook such little details.

Scott Rogers' cast has other talent (Robert Yacko as Fyedka, Lauren Hathaway as Hodel, Amy Griffin as Chava, Fritzi Burr as Yente) within its ranks, and some of the numbers cast their customary spell. But the physical production is lackluster; no one is credited with the scenic design. We see only three Shabbat tables during the "Sabbath Prayer."

*

This might be a "Fiddler" for those who can't get enough of it--or for those who want to refresh their memory of it before seeing the L.A. premiere of "Rags," a semi-sequel by the same librettist, Joseph Stein, coming up next week at the Colony. But this production shouldn't serve as anyone's introduction to the wonders of "Fiddler."

* "Fiddler on the Roof," La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday matinees, 2:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Ends May 16. $28-$32. (714) 994-6310. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes.

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