In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production this fall, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater mounts a new staging of Fiddler on the Roof, the iconic musical that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Helmed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, the production features choreography by Arena favorite Parker Esse, who adapts the original Jerome Robbins choreography for an in-the-round staging, and a 10-piece orchestra led by Musical Director Paul Sportelli (Arena’s My Fair Lady, Light in the Piazza). The theatrical masterpiece, which garnered nine Tony Awards for its 1964 debut, weaves together a portrait of family, community and life’s unexpected miracles, large and small, and showcases a jubilant and beloved score, including “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.” Featuring a book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and based on Sholem Aleichem stories, Fiddler on the Roof runs Oct. 31, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015 in the Fichandler Stage.
“I am heartened by stories coming to me from audience members about the impact of Fiddler on the Roof on their families,” shares Smith. “Challenging traditions is a concept that resonates deeply today—and adapting to new ones as well. This company of artists is an ideal one to interpret Fiddler for this moment in time. All eras have changes in tradition, although it is easy to feel our modern era is changing more rapidly than ever before. We are all fiddlers on the roof—balancing, changing, adapting. I’m excited to share this gold-standard American musical with a new generation. I know it will resonate as powerfully with them as it did when it was first produced 50 years ago.”
Ann Arvia (Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Les Miserables) makes her Arena Stage debut as Golde and joins the previously announced Tony Award nominee Jonathan Hadary (Broadway’s Golden Boy, Spamalot, Gypsy) as Tevye. Their five daughters are played by Dorea Schmidt (Constellation Theatre’s The Love of the Nightingale)as Tzeitel, Hannah Corneau (Alliance Theatre’s Harmony) as Hodel, Maria Rizzo (Signature Theatre’s Gypsy) as Chava, Shayna Blass (Theater J’s Yentl) as Shprintze and Maya Brettell (Signature Theatre’s Beaches) as Bielke. Portraying the suitors of the eldest daughters are Joshua Morgan (Rep Stage’s The Piano Teacher) as Motel, the tailor; Michael Vitaly Sazonov (Arena Stage’s The Light in the Piazza) as Perchik, the scholar; and Kurt Boehm (Arena Stage’s My Fair Lady) as Fyedka, the Russian soldier. The company also features Erick Devine (Broadway’s Ragtime) as Lazar Wolf and Valerie Leonard (Arena Stage’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) as Yente/Grandma Tzeitel.
Completing the lineup of actors, which boasts 20 locals out of the 28-person company, are Alex Alferov as the Fiddler, Scott Harrison as Mendel, Joe Mallon as Nachum, Jimmy Mavrikes as Yussel, Tracy Lynn Olivera as Fruma-Sarah, Joe Peck as Rabbi, Barbara Pinolini as Shandel, Kyle Schliefer as Sasha, Thomas Adrian Simpson as Mordcha, Chris Sizemore as Constable/Russian Soloist, Jamie Smithson as Avram and ensemble members Trevor Illingworth, Farrell Parker, and Curtis Schroeger with swings Eric Greengold and Jesse Palmer.
Smith, Esse, and Sportelli collaborate with Set Designer Todd Rosenthal, Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, Lighting Designer Colin K. Bills, and Sound Designer Lindsay Jones to transport audiences to the tight-knit and colorful Jewish village of Anatevka, utilizing earthy and authentic tones rich in historical and ethnic detail to create an in-the-round world for Tevye, a humble Jewish father who finds his devotion to God severely tested by his headstrong daughters, who want to be their own matchmakers, and the increasingly ruthless government forcing him from his land.
As part of the Opening Night Celebration on Nov. 12, Arena Stage will honor lyricist and three-time Tony Award winner Sheldon Harnick with the American Artist Award, which recognizes artists of the highest caliber, honoring their work and significant contributions to American theater.