We have finally arrived at Opening Night for Fiddler on the Roof.
I am so lucky that I get to play Fruma Sarah in this show. It really is the best part, even if I’m only in one scene of the whole show (I do get to play a village woman as well, in half of the shows). I LOVE this part.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a dead first wife who only exists in Tevye’s mind? There are no rules and I can be as over the top as I want. I have come to love my double cast buddy, Celeste. I think she looks creepier than I do, but I just couldn’t do the contacts.
There have been major obstacles and challenges with this show. The logistics of staging a play in a new location have been enormous. The theater is an old theater, but it’s been unused for years, so it has to be refurbished for us to use it. Painted on the wall by the stage, it says Saturday’s Warrior 1999,and My turn on Earth I heard from a friend that they filmed the My turn on Earth production at this stage. With new carpet, new lights, new sound equipment, there have been boxes everywhere, and things weren’t ready for us.
Our set designer, set construction team, music director, and stage managers are all new. The sets have had huge set backs and haven’t been ready, most of them, until last night. When we should have been rehearsing, they were assembling set pieces on the stage. Set pieces that don’t really fit in the wings, and the stage crew hasn’t learned when and where they go.
In addition, we’ve suffered injuries and other afflictions. Our assistant director sliced her hand open on a work day and had to get stitches. One of our stage managers has kidney stones. Two nights ago our other stage manager dropped a 40 pound block of dry ice on her foot while getting it out of the car and broke her toe. Our costume director wasn’t there for our final dress rehearsals (and won’t be there for the next week) because her brother died suddenly, and she needs to go and be with her family.
There’s supposed to be a big tent for us to congregate around and under, but the wind often comes up quickly and threatens to whip our tent away, so we’ve just had the tent frames up for a couple of nights.
Last night was our last dress rehearsal. Amid sudden rain, everyone pulled their chairs back into the theater and we congregated mostly in the back foyer or in the theater.
Among these challenges, our Tevye has been amazing! He wrote today,
Tonight is opening night of Fiddler On The Roof. We have witnessed miracles in how fast things have come together. There have been significant challenges for this production. It is as if someone doesn’t want this musical to happen. That tells me it really needs to happen.
I have really loved performing as Tevye. I do hope you will take the time an come see it – not because I am in it, but because the message of this production is profound. The message of tolerance and love is needed today more than ever. Hold your families close.
When you think of Fiddler on the Roof, do you think, “Oh, yeah, we did that play in high school. Fun!” like I did? Or do you think, “That old thing? Why are they doing a show about Russian Jews in 1905?” Maybe. But Fiddler on the roof is about keeping your family and your beliefs, even when among strong opposition. The story centers on Tevye, 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. Does this relate to our lives today? Absolutely it does.
We need to have tolerance and acceptance for others, but at the same time, we can not let go of our own values. In a devotional address delivered on September 11, 2011, Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. That is a third absolute truth. We are cast as combatants in the war between truth and error. There is no middle ground. We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.”
While I always discourage people from coming to a show on opening night, I do hope we have an audience tonight (and every night). I hope we can properly convey the importance of family and religion and hope that we can touch some hearts with this show.