Fiddler – A Resounding Success (Fall 2013)

Tevye takes a bow

The cast smiles for their curtain call following their first ever East-West musical
{Photo by Jarvis Chen at jarvischen.zenfolio.com}

By Mark Agostinelli, Class of 2016
This article was first published in Sturgis Storm Watch  18 Nov 2013 and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
 

This past weekend, the combined Sturgis East and West theater group known as S.T.A.G.E. (Sturgis Theater and Arts Guild of Entertainers) performed the much anticipated Fiddler on the Roof musical.  S.T.A.G.E. first opened its curtains on Thursday night, November 14, and continued with three more productions on Friday night, Saturdayafternoon, and on Saturday night. After hearing very positive reviews about the show from the previous two nights, I walked into Nauset Regional Middle School, where the show was being held for the Saturday matinee, very excited and anxious to see the first ever East-West musical at Sturgis.

East juniors Liam Prendergast (left) and Jack Watters (right)

East juniors Liam Prendergast (left) and Jack Watters (right)

The classic Broadway hit, Fiddler on the Roof, follows the life of a poor Jewish man named Tevye in Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century. A proud father of five daughters and a well-respected member of his village, Tevye struggles to keep tradition a part of his life during the oppression of the Russian government towards the Jewish people.                Sturgis East junior Liam Prendergast artfully portrayed this character as he delivered humorous monologues and belted out songs such as “If I Were A Rich Man.” Tevye and his wife Golde (Ali Waithe) run into conflicts when his three oldest daughters, Tzeitel (Rachel Walman), Hodel (Hannah McLaughlin), and Chava (Ella Hunt) fall in love with three men of whom Tevye and the gossipy town matchmaker (Sophia Braddel) do not approve.

Faced with the decisions of whether or not to permit his daughters to marry out of love and not due to their husband’s social status, Tevye bends his morals and decides that the happiness of his family is more important than the tradition of his ancestors. I was especially entertained by the bar scene antics of the witty East junior Dan Souza, who acted as Fyedka, the Russian man in love with Chava.


Liam Prendergast (left) and Johnny Travers (right) {photo by Jarvis Chen)

Liam Prendergast (left) and Johnny Travers (right) {photo by Jarvis Chen)

Although I did not enjoy the ending of the play, in which Tevye and his family are forced to leave home due to orders from the Russian government, I did find myself thoroughly impressed by the costumes, humor, and the simple yet effective scenery of this breathtaking production. It was truly a pleasure to watch. I congratulate the Sturgis theater department for pulling off such an amazing feat. I was even more impressed when I read how a Jewish rabbi had taught the actors about Jewish life during the early 20th century to increase the students’ knowledge of the play’s historical context.


(From left to right) Ali Waithe, Rachel Walman, Ella Hunt, Hannah McLoughlin, Rebecca Mann, Claire Thomas, and Maria Girardin {photo by Jarvis Chen at jarvischen.zenfolio.com}

(From left to right) Ali Waithe, Rachel Walman, Ella Hunt, Hannah McLoughlin, Rebecca Mann, Claire Thomas, and Maria Girardin {photo by Jarvis Chen at jarvischen.zenfolio.com}

The standing ovation by the large crowd when the curtain closed evidenced that I was not the only one who appreciated the time and dedication of the cast and crew. While I had been unsure of what to expect before the show, I exited the show with a smile on my face having been thoroughly entertained beyond my expectations. This perfect mix of comedy and romance made me realize that “even a poor tailor is entitled to some happiness!” I had received my share of happiness for the afternoon. I left the theater amazed by the beautiful performance put on by the student actors, and there was a multitude of comical jokes and memorable songs that stayed in my head for the rest of the day. To all those who worked to make the East-West musical a great success, “Mazel tov!”

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