Theatre stages ‘Fiddler on the Roof’
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media June 26, 2013 9:14AM
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
♦ June 28-29, July 5-7, 12-14
♦ Theatre-on-the-Hill, Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, 375 W. Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook
♦ (630) 908-2538
Updated: July 3, 2013 12:47PM
The third time’s the charm for “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Bolingbrook’s Theatre-on-the-Hill has tried to do the musical twice before. The first time, the rights were pulled at the last minute because a national tour was about to mount. A year later, the rights still weren’t available.
This year, it’s all systems go. “Fiddler on the Roof” runs June 28 to July 14. Show times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is a musical written in 1964, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein. It won nine Tony awards, including Best Musical.
“This is one of the largest casts we’ve had since ‘Wizard of Oz,’” said director Michael Fudala. “There are a lot of talented people and they sound so beautiful. It’s this great wall-of-sound chorus. It’s heart-lifting.”
He is using two sets of principle actors (who have to be a part of the chorus on their off days.)
“It’s working really well. We have two really good casts,” he said.
About half the cast was familiar with the story of Tevye the poor milkman, father of five willful daughters.
“Parts of it are uplifting and happy and parts of it are sad,” he said. “It deals with the persecution of Jews back in 1905 by Tsarist Russia. It’s nothing compared to Hitler’s Nazi persecution, but it shows they suffered for a very long time.”
The unifying theme throughout the show is tradition. Some need to change with the times, others can’t ever change because they define who you are, he said.
“Those are the decisions Tevye has to make throughout the show,” he said.
Fudala even brought in a Jewish woman to answer questions about Jewish faith and history.
Despite the sad moments, he promises light moments in the show.
“It’s a celebration of the enduring spirit of humanity,” he said. “It isn’t all depressing, not by any stretch. Near the end, the Jews are forced out of their homes and they have to leave where they’ve grown up. It is a sad ending, but they leave with hope in their hearts and the belief that they are going to carry on. Most of it is very happy and very exuberant, and the dancing is wonderful.”
“Fiddler on the Roof” is a wonderful story that everyone should see at least once in their lives, he said.
“We’re doing a wonderful version of it in a beautiful location,” he said. “You’ll recognize a lot of the music. And it’s a time-honored tradition to come and see ‘Fiddler’ every once in awhile. It’s such a theatrical show and it tells a beautiful story. There are parts that will make you laugh and parts that will make you cry. And the music is superb. Our singers really do it justice, that’s for sure.”