Return of 'Fiddler' music to their ears

With a cast of over 50 performers, Stewartville's production of Fiddler on the Roof. Front row from left, Anthony Menz, Lee Will, Noah Nelsen-Gross, Rebecca Sands, Neal Abbott and Kallei Quinn. 2nd row, Gary Kadansky and Karen Masbruch along with fiddler Alex Weston at top.

STEWARTVILLE — It was only a matter of time before Stewartville Community Theatre returned to "Fiddler on the Roof."

"We haven't done it since the mid-'90s, and we did it in an old church at that time," said director Aaron Rocklyn. "It's been so long, and the music is so good. It also seemed fitting. The Arab Spring had just begun at the time we were choosing."

The show's underlying theme of intolerance seemed a good fit for the times, he said. "I like the way the show points out not only the cost to the people booted out, but the cost to the country that does it," Rocklyn said.

"Fiddler" is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, when an edict evicts all Jews from a small village. The show opened on Broadway in 1964 and won nine Tony Awards. Songs include "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man."

Politics aside, "Fiddler on the Roof" remains a popular modern musical, and with the possibility of a large cast, is a logical choice for community theaters.


"That's one of the things that make doing this show great," Rocklyn said. "Unlike most of the places I would direct, you have a full range of ages, often many family members in the same production. It gives the show a strong sense of community. It's part of the social fabric. It's a great way for people who haven't acted before to meet other people in the theater."

Rehearsing a large musical during summer can be a daunting undertaking. "We have seven weeks of rehearsal," Rocklyn said. "We allow for summer vacations. I know most of the people will be gone at least one week during that time."

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