In August 2014, I traveled to St. Louis, to prepare to play what is, hands down, my favorite role in all of musical theatre. Yes for the first time in my career, I had the privilege to portray Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, at Stages St. Louis!
I said this was a career first, but I have a long history with the dairyman from Anatevka. Fiddler and I were born right around the same time, and the original cast recording played in our house as often as toddlers of today watch and re-watch their DVDs of “Frozen”. My grandfather had emigrated from a small town near Kiev right around the time of the Fiddler story, so this was more than just another musical.
We did Fiddler at Camp Seneca Lake (I was third villager from the left) and scenes from the show in middle school choir. Then in high school, I actually played Tevye in a full production (the beard was real, though enhanced with a bit of mascara).
In college I played Tevye again, in a production nick-named “Dins on the Roof” since members of my acapella group the Din & Tonics basically took it over – the director, the music director, our Perchik, Fyedka, the Russian tenor and myself were all from the Dins. I left acting for many years, but when I came back, the memories of Tevye were vivid in my head. And when I thought about my dream roles, Tevye topped the list.
So naturally, I was absolutely thrilled. I was surrounded by a fantastic cast, including Kari Ely as Golde, Christopher Limber as Lazar, and Broadway vet Rachel Coloff as Yente. Stephanie Mason, Julie Hanson and Carissa Massaro were my lovely daughters Tzeitl, Hodel and Chava. They were pursued by Nick Orfanella, Jason Evans and David Johnson (fellow Countess of Storyville alum) as Motel, Perchik and Fyedka.