Do you wish you were a rich man? Are you single and anxious to be matched with the perfect mate? If either of these rings a bell, perhaps you’ll recall the Broadway hit, “Fiddler on the Roof.”
College of the Albemarle’s COAST Players is bringing this classic musical to the stage beginning this week and theater arts director Jeff Emmerich is excited about the enormity of the project.
“I had an enormous number of people audition so I have about 40 people in the cast,” says Emmerich. “I was hoping for that because it is just overwhelming because there are so many great chorus numbers in this show.”
“Fiddler” was written by Joseph Stein with music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. It’s set in Tsarist Russia, 1905. The story is based on “Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales” by Sholem Aleichem.
The story focuses on Tevye, the father of five daughters, who works tirelessly to maintain his family’s Jewish religious traditions amidst a barrage of outside influences. He has to deal with the actions of his three, strong-willed older daughters and with the pressures of the Tsar who is evicting Jews from their villages.
The original Broadway production opened in 1964 and was the first theater run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. It held the record for the longest running Broadway musical until “Grease” bumped it.
“Fiddler” was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and received nine. Among those awards were Best Musical and Best Book.
The original cast includes well-known actors such as Zero Mostel, Bea Arthur and Bette Midler.
The lively performances have brought audiences to their feet. Emmerich says COAST Players should excite area theatergoers and he anticipates selling upwards 3,000 tickets throughout his 10 show run.
A production like “Fiddler” takes a great deal of effort. Emmerich says the sets are massive and they include eight different sets such as Tevye’s home, a tailor shop, the train station and more.
Emmerich’s wife Gloria is the musical director. College of the Albemarle’s professor of music Steve Raisor will lead the live orchestra.
Dance instructor and professional performer Mariah Shearer will perform in the show, and she is costume designer for all 40 performers. Emmerich says The Edenton Little Theatre closed for good and donated all of its sets and costumes to the COAST Players and, “that helped because they had a lot of period pieces.”
“Fiddler” opens today, 10:30 a.m. and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday and again March 8-10 with evening and matinee performances. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For information call 252-335-9050.