Cast carries production of Fiddler By Lindsey Sherrill
The story is of both joy and sorrow, happiness, and tears, or, as one musical number says, sunrise and sunset.
The Greater Escambia Council for the Arts will present Fiddler on the Roof, its fourth summer musical, this weekend, and, as one cast member put it, the production should be "better than awesome."
"This cast brings the same professionalism and enthusiasm to this production as they have to past GECA productions," said promotion coordinator Anne Sherrill. "Our audiences will not be disappointed."
A large part of that enthusiasm comes from the star of the show, Tevye, played by Glenn Weber.
"He is Tevye," said Sherrill. "He's taken his role very seriously. He transforms into the role of Tevye when he walks through the auditorium doors."
Another factor in the enthusiasm and freshness of the production comes from the younger cast members, Tevye's six daughters. The eldest daughter, Tzeitel, is played by Megan Martin, who appeared most recently in the Jefferson Davis Community College production The Music Man. Following her role as both Lucy and the director of last winter's production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is Megan Adams as Tevye's daughter, Hodel. Another member of the Charlie Brown cast, Haley Pearson, is playing Chava, Tevye's daughter who defies tradition and breaks his heart. The three younger daughters, Shprintze, Bielke, and Chiffra, are played by Ellen Johnson, Caitlyn Luttrell, and Morgan Weber, all GECA veterans.
The cast includes many area theater favorites and GECA veterans. Karl Robinson, who most recently completed the role of Harold Hill in The Music Man, is double cast as the Rabbi and Sasha, the lead Russian. Jennifer Couch, who was also a part of Annie and Oliver!, is returning as Tevye's wife Golde. Lazaar Wolf, the butcher and jilted suitor, is played by Jerry Gehman, a longtime theater veteran. Deanna Hart, Marian in The Music Man, is playing several roles. Sheri Hursh, who played Maria in the summer 2000 production of The Sound of Music, is cast in a slightly different role this year-she is Yussel, the Jewish man.
Fiddler features intricate choreography and fast-paced music and dance. One scene includes authentic Jewish bottle dancing while another features a Russian dance. Several of the daughters' scenes include ballet elements, including one heartbreaking memory sequence with Tevye and Little Chavaleh, played by Cameron McGinty.
"The Dream," a scene in the first act, may make the show worth seeing by itself, according to several members of the cast.
"We may have little kids screaming with this one," said director Phil Johnson of the scene, which includes a host of ghosts and a frightening surprise for the audience.
The production team for the show includes Phil Johnson, Allison Robinson, Jerry Janes, and Dayton long directing. Johnson, Couch, and Jerry Stahly choreographed the show, while Shea Johnson will accompany.
The play, which will mark the beginning of GECA's annual membership drive, opens Friday at Escambia County High School Hodnette Auditorium. The show will run through Sunday with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, $6 for adults and $4 for children are available at the door or at United Bank, First National Bank, and the Atmore Advance. You may call 368-3899 for more information.
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