(Posted Oct. 29, 2015)
Rosedale Bible College (RBC) will present “Fiddler On the Roof,” a musical about Tevye, a Jewish man who is struggling to raise five daughters under difficult circumstances.
Based on stories by the Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, the story is set in Imperial Russia in 1905, a time of turmoil and change. The young people in Tevye’s little community are moving away from the religious traditions he holds dear; even his own daughters want to choose their husbands and marry for love.
Add to this the wave of anti-Jewish rioting that threatens the village, and it’s no wonder Tevye is faced with decisions he never expected to make.
The musical, says director Christa Wolf, “has been beloved by generations ever since it debuted on Broadway in 1964.” Written by Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, “Fiddler” enjoyed a Broadway run of over 3,000 performances. Most people, says Wolf, are probably familiar with the story because of its adaptation to film in 1971.
Wolf teaches drama at RBC and has directed 25 full-length productions.
“It’s our goal in the RBC drama department to stage a musical every three years,” she says. “I’ve always liked ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ so when Ken Miller, the musical director, said he was up to the challenge, it seemed like the timing was right.”
Last year the college invited some children from the community to round out the cast for RBC’s production of “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
“The success of that show helped me feel confident that if we opened auditions to the community for this show we would be able to get the cast we needed––and we did!” says Wolf.
She believes that audience members will enjoy seeing familiar faces among the 40-plus cast members.
“We’ve expanded the stage to accommodate fully choreographed musical numbers, and the accompaniment will be provided by a live orchestra.”
Almost every evening, RBC’s chapel is transformed into a mini-community of cast members, crew and musicians, all waiting to rehearse their parts. Ken Miller says he likes “how a production such as this one helps the RBC family come together.”
That family has expanded with community people. It’s exciting, he says, to see so many people coming together, and to watch the way the play is “pulling talents out of so many people, talents that may have remained hidden if this opportunity to express them didn’t exist.”
Because of the length of the show (nearly three hours), some violence, and some thematic material, “Fiddler” is not recommended for children 6 and younger.
Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 15. Tickets will be sold online, by phone, or at the door, if still available. Visit rosedale.edu or call (740) 857-1311, ext. 119, for more information.
Rosedale Bible College is an evangelical Mennonite junior college located at 2270 Rosedale Road, Irwin.