Written by Sheri ArbitalJacoby Saturday, 18 January 2014 00:00
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the beloved classic premiering on Broadway, Fiddler on the Roof will be performed by the Sid Jacobson Community Players on the East Hills stage beginning Jan. 25.
The story centers on Tevye (played by Frank Hendricks of Glen Cove) , the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives in 1905 Russia. The first musical to surpass 3,000 performances, Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost ten years.
“I have been trying to get the rights to Fiddler for a few years and have been turned down because it has been on tour locally, says JCC Theatre Arts Director and the show’s producer, Susan Kalman. “I am thrilled to finally have the honor of producing this glorious
musical, particularly since 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Fiddler’s Broadway opening.”
“I am very passionate about this play. Fiddler is a beautiful show with a timeless message for all generations—and speaks to people of all religions and backgrounds,” the producer continues. “It’s about family and tradition, changing with the times, and prejudice and community.”
The extremely gifted ensemble of 35 adults, teens and children have been rehearsing three evenings a week since November, all donating their time and talents because of their love of theater. Cast members come from a variety of professions, including doctors, lawyers, teachers and students. The youngest is 7-year-old Keira Stolowitz from Port Washington.
Two mother-daughter pairs are sharing their skills. Mom Lisbeth Licht Wolgel not only co-stars as Golde but also doubles as the show’s choreographer, and daughter Chelsea Wolgel plays Fiddler. Tzeitel is portrayed by mom Stacey Weinberger and real-life daughter Alexa Weinberger plays Bielke, Tevye’s youngest daughter.
The musical marks the JCC’s ninth annual community theater production. Music director Steve Belfer, choreographer Wolgel and some of the actors have been a part of the community theater productions with Kalman since the beginning. Shprintze is played by Sofia Adams from Plandome.
“Fiddler is one of my favorites, having directed it twice and performing in it once with our wonderful Tevye (Frank Hendricks),” says third time JCC director Rich Buckley of Williston Park. “I am always amazed at the emotional impact it has on an audience time and time again. As we celebrate its 50th anniversary, it seems as topical today as it was when the curtain opened for its debut performance at the Imperial Theater,” says Buckley, who prior to directing at the JCC, acted in two plays there.
Mordcha, the innkeeper, is played by Daniel Kary from Glen Cove; the role of Mendel is played by Michael M. Harrington from Locust Valley and Nate Connolly from Glenwood Landing is a member of the children/teen ensemble.