“Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened on Broadway in 1964, had the first musical theater run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. For many years, the show was a school- and community-theater staple, and theater critics claim that due to the show’s global popularity, there are at least 10 simultaneous productions of “Fiddler on the Roof” in performance somewhere in the world. All we need is one production in our mountain community, and Evergreen High School’s interpretation of the time-honored classic should fit the bill.
The show’s story centers on Tevye the Dairyman (played by James Walker), the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters — each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith — and with the edict of the tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. Their lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof attempting to keep their balance between traditions of the old while acknowledging the new, but never leaning too far to the one while ignoring the other for fear of toppling over.
The show comes to life with the humor and character of a Jewish family in 1905 tsarist Russia. The family and townspeople are played by Carly Rinehardt as Golde, and Tevye’s daughters played by Michelle Schrader, Bethany Cook, McKenna O'Meara, Samantha Cox and Izzy Prochasik. The town matchmaker, Yente, is played by Cori Mayer, with Daniel Lynch as the rabbi, Jordan Cogswell as the constable and Drew Sigal, Alec Rozmiarek and Nick Johnson as the young men who challenge the traditions of the village of Anatevka.
No production of this show is complete without a fiddler. Evergreen High School’s fiddler is played by Erika Malpass, a junior at EHS.
“Erika is amazing. She can sing, dance, act and play the violin so beautifully. Her playing will bring you to tears,” says Fran Arniotes, the show’s director.
Scenic design was done by Dean Arniotes. Vocal direction is by Charlene Hunt, and orchestra direction is by Wiley Cruse. The show’s complex choreography is by Randy Brooks. Brooks comes to Evergreen from the Cleo Parker Robinson dance troupe.
“Randy is a stickler for detail and precision, so he makes the kids look really good. He worked with us last year on ‘Once on this Island,’ and the kids asked for him to come back. He challenges them with complex choreography, makes them work hard, and they love it,” says Arniotes.
The choreography is interwoven with songs such as “Matchmaker” and “Sunrise, Sunset,” “To Life” and the “Bottle Dance.” You may notice a few unfamiliar faces humming along with these classic Fiddler Tunes.
Evergreen High School participates in the Bobby G Awards. In 2013, Colorado joined with the National High School Musical Association. The NHSMA provides adjudicators who review selected schools’ musical productions and provide feedback. Twenty-five schools in the metro-Denver area voluntarily participate. Last year, EHS received nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, all for EHS’ production of “Urinetown.” Perhaps this year, “Fiddler on the Roof” will be the show that earns EHS an award.
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
Presented by Evergreen High School from March 7 through 16: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $8 in advance; $10 at the door; $5 for Evergreen High School students with ID
At Evergreen High School, 29300 Buffalo Park Road
For more information or to order tickets, visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/580592.
Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.