Written by Sheri ArbitalJacoby Thursday, 16 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 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. Mineola’s own Juliana Luber will play Chava.
The story centers on Tevye, 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 10 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.”
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.
“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.
The JCC presents five shows a year and offers a Broadway summer camp, acting classes, cabaret workshops and private coaching for aspiring thespians—from beginners to advanced, as well as for children with special needs. For more information about the JCC