Fiddler on the Roof -- If the traditional Broadway musical is your cup of tea, your cup runneth over with this show. The widely loved, well-known classic about a tradition-bound Jewish community caught up in the turbulent changes of pre-revolutionary Russia is a huge undertaking, but the Playhouse pulls the whole thing off with panache. The company's artistic director, David Arisco, offers warmth and spirit as Tevye, the world-weary dairyman, and he gets excellent support from the entire cast, in large roles and small, most notably from the redoubtable Margot Moreland as his sharp-tongued wife. It's far from a perfect show. Both musically and dramatically, Fiddler peaks before the end of the first act. But think of it as a restatement of the creation myth, recounting the origins of Russian Jewish Americans, and it works. Shalom Aleichem old shtetl tales end where a lot of American family histories begin. (Through April 11 at the Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 305-444-9293.)
I Take Your Hand in Mine -- Edge Theatre's latest show centers on the relationship between famed Russian playwright Anton Chekov and his actress amour, later his wife, Olga Knipper, and is drawn from their extensive correspondence. These well-known love letters, which have been the subject of several theater projects, have the potential for emotionally engaging theater, but sadly, little such is in evidence here. The production, in which the actors recite roles from hand-held scripts, is really no more than a staged reading -- and a cursory one at that. Neither Leonard Krys nor Ivelin Giro, playing the two lovers, seems at ease with the text, which rolls along without much tonal variety or momentum. (Through April 18 at the Edge Theatre, 3627 NE First Court, Miami, 305-531-6083.)
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