Fiddler on the Roof
by Edward R. Murrow High School

It’s definitely one of the most beloved musicals ever written. The story of a classic everyman, Jewish milkman Tevye living in a small turn-of-the-century Russian village where tensions between the Russians and the Jewish community have been few. But times are changing, revolution is in the air, and the traditions that have given Tevye and his neighbors stability in an unstable world are beginning to teeter. But it’s not just the outside political world driving such changes. Most of them come by way of Tevye’s FIVE daughters, three of whom are of marrying age, each of them progressively testing Tevye’s beliefs and values with their choices.

While Chaim Topol, the Tevye in the masterful film version of the musical, is in the midst of his farewell touring production, Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn also took on this show for their spring musical, directed by Rory Schwartz who has a great sense for the show. Nicholas Guastella is Tevye, and he both looks the part and captures the part exceptionally well as he finds comfort in Tradition, prays to his friend up above for advice (and to complain a little), asks if his ornery wife Golde loves him (played by a cross but also vulnerable Samantha Cohen), and gets pushed to the edge time and again by his headstrong daughters.

The three eldest daughters are introduced to us with the famous Matchmaker number well done by the trio. Valerie Blatt is the eldest, Tzeitel, who dares make her own match with the poor tailor Motel, Brandon Zelman, who is endearingly meek and surprisingly humorous as the awkward Motel who screams like a girl when surprised, but musters enough courage to ask for his love’s hand, resulting in the spirited Miracle of Miracles. But what about Tzeitel’s previously arranged marriage with the rich butcher (the talented Matthew Ryan Hunter)? And how is unromantic, ultra-pragmatic Golde going to take the news? Tevye’s answer is one of the best scenes of this production that begins when Tevye is finally able to wake Golde (who sleeps like a rock), and includes great cameos from Daniella Malave as an insanely pearl-loving ghost and Marissa Shadburn as Grandma Tzeitel who isn’t afraid to speak her mind even after death.

Molly Eden Goldberg and Harrison Brian Fuchs star as the second couple, intelligent daughter Hodel and idealistic university student Perchik. Harrison has a knack for the character who has a much easier time talking about politics than socio-economic unions with women (a.k.a. marriage proposals), and Molly is a charming and sensitive Hodel with a gorgeous singing voice. Her touching, haunting Far From the Home I Love sung at the railroad stop to her anguished father and her far-off, imprisoned fiancé is as beautiful and powerful as it gets.

The other powerful moment comes with daughter Chava (Marissa Becker) who falls in love with the Russian gentile Fyedka (David Scott Kirshner). Her parents’ pain, and Tevye’s rejection of a horrified Chava, is dramatically portrayed.

A few other highlights include Alexandra Kaye as a likeably obnoxious Yente the Matchmaker, Luke Fontana as a humorous rabbi who gets nervous when put on the spot, bottle dancers who, under pressure, don’t let their bottles drop from their hats, nice ensemble numbers in To Life, Tevye’s Dream, and Anatevka, and a good job by the school’s orchestra led by first violinist Sara Sunshine as “the fiddler.”

Performs May 6-9, 2009

Rob Hopper
Executive Director
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Tevye: Nicholas Guastella
Golde: Samantha Cohen
Tzeitel: Valerie Blatt
Hodel: Molly Eden Goldberg
Chava: Marissa Becker
Shprenitze: Samantha Gillette
Bielka: Heather O'Donavan
Yente: Alexandra Kaye
Motel: Brandon Zelman
Perchik: Harrison Brian Fuchs
Lazar Wolf: Matthew Ryan Hunter
Mordcha: Michael Rosen-Pipitone
Rabbi: Luke Fontana
Mendel: Zachary Nathan Stevens
Avram: Saveliy Baranov
Nachum: Frank Napoleoni
Yussel: Avery Whitted
Grandma Tzeitel: Marissa Shadburn
Fruma-Sarah: Daniella Malave
Constable: Jesse Eric Manning
Priest: John Anantua
Fyedka: David Scott Kirshner
Sasha: Jon Siedman
Shaindel: Lauren Dunn
The Fiddler: Erech Holder-Hetmeyer

Bottle Dancers:
Alan Shugal
Luis Angel Grande
Matthew Eng
Kyle Jack
Kris Sanchez
John Anantua
Steven Burgos

Liam Sullivan
Brian Campbell
Eugene Mikhelson
Jon Siedman

Robert Pomerants
Michael Torres
Ian Benjamin
Robin Rivera
Eric Rothstein
Jesse Cordasco
Michael Juris
Aldora Neal
Ellie Posner
Lisa Lyev
Heather Rose Wiener
Catherine Splendore
Lynn Schiffman
Heather Kramer
Camera Walrond
Sarah Dawson
Andrea Levinsky
Sohee Cho
Olga Smirichinskaya
Melissa Schwimmer
Saieda Byrd
Anna Furmanskaya
Dareen Generoso

Director: Rory Schwartz
Technical Supervisor/Scenic Design: Paul Eisenberg
Costume Supervisor/Scenic Art: Allison Galker
Lighting Design: Keith Truax
Sound Designers: Marianne Vaskova and Mei Wu
Musical Director: Don Christensen
Choreographer: Roberta Raymond
Vocal Director: Alan Shapiro
Stage Manager: Allegra Scheinblum


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