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"Fiddler on the Roof," with its timeless message of acceptance and one of the most memorable scores in musical theatre history, will come alive March 22-25 at Lakeland College's Bradley Theatre.
A cast of Lakeland students are joined by some special guests from the area to create a talented ensemble for this Lakeland College Theatre production.
David Neese, who previously starred in Lakeland productions of "Camelot" and "To Kill a Mockingbird," plays Tevye. The role of the fiddler is Tevye's conscience, which advises him without the use of a single word.
"We're using improvisation techniques to create symbolic action to portray the laborious lives and hardships these characters endured," said director Charlie Krebs. "In spite of their plight, an unflappable hope drives these characters. Their constant devotion to God and their faith guide them in how to treat others and raise their families.
"The oppressed in this play are Jewish, but the message of acceptance applies to any group we could think of. It's a testament to the poignancy of this enormously popular story."
Most of the stage is a roof, and the aged shingles symbolize how these resilient characters - and all of us - can weather life. There's also a hand-made back drop of a quilt depicting a hopeful sunset, lit by five shades of like colors.
"A quilt is an appropriate way to sum up this production," Krebs said. "The lives of these characters are stitched together by tradition, which produces a sense of warmth and comfort, just like your favorite quilt."
The production features all the songs "Fiddler" fans love: "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker," "Tradition" and the piercing "Anatevka."
Accordianist Stas Venglevski, who performed with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, will play the accordion in the pit, accented by mandolin. Additional professionals on clarinet, flute, violin, cello, bass, piano and percussion will join an onstage fiddler to propel the powerful music.
Musical Director Becky Haen and choreographer Jessica Mueller are also lending their talents to assist the cast.
The actors have been studying Yiddish and Russian dialects for nine weeks, and Krebs said those dialects are used each night during rehearsals.
Performances will be Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for non-Lakeland Students. To purchase tickets, order online at http://lakeland.edu/theatre or call Deb Fale at (920) 565-1536.
Tevye: David Neese
Golde: Clarissa Dimel
Tzeitel: Holly Helmer
Hodel: Kayann Botana
Chava: Brittany Beckmann
Sprintze: Alexandra Mitchler
Bielke: Ruby Jesion
Yente: Rachel Hakala
Motel the Tailor: Ian Johanson
Perchik: Ben Johnston
Fyedke: Todd Szymuszkiewicz
Lazar Wolf: Arthur Johnson
Rabbi: Matt Troyer
Fruma Sarah: Rachel Siehs
Constable: Dan Zea
Innkeeper: Tim VanZeeland
Fiddler: Dan Ognavic
Junior Fiddler: Drew Kittelson
Allison Mitchler, Drew Kittelson, Emma Dehne, Eddie Currin, Grace Pirillo, Heather Berry, Ian Haen, John Breaux, Kevin Lampe, Lindsay Kleckner, Manami Hasegawa, Miranda Miller, Rae Siehs, Tom Kloiber, Tony Haen, Vivienne Johnson, Willow Dodgson
Russians: Andy Crivellone, Kyle Mortenson, Rick Dodgson
Music Director: Becky Haen
Choreographer: Jessica Mueller
Costume Designer: Della Jahnke
Stage Manager: Emma Drake
Assistant Choreographer: Holly Helmer
Assistant Director: Erica Ebertch