Written by Micaela Pereyra from A Local Dreamer
This year’s musical at Wethersfield High School is titled “Fiddler on the Roof”. It’s based on the short stories of Sholem Aleichem with a strong focus on his character, Tevye the dairyman. Tevye is a Jewish father with five daughters that live amongst Russians in the early 1900s of Imperial Russia. The play revolves around his struggle as three of his daughters challenge his traditions.
An interview with Play Director/English Teacher Jeffrey Roets at Wethersfield High School gives insight into the cast’s preparations for their performances.
When asked why he chose “Fiddler on the Roof,” Roets said, “I didn’t even really want to. I’ve been resisting this one for years.” He continued, “Mainly this year it got chosen because one, we had more guys so I felt like we could pull it off. Two, if we needed to if the stage budget had completely failed, and we had no money to put on a show, I could have done a real scaled back, bare-boned version of “Fiddler” and done well with it.”
He then explained the aspects of rehearsals that need to be fine-tuned before their first performance. He said, “The hardest part, honestly, is getting kids to remain in character for more than thirty seconds because being an incredibly poor Jewish individual in the Pale of Settlement Russia in 1905 is so foreign for a 21st century Wethersfield kid.”
With rehearsals coming to an end, time is spent getting the cast ready by fixing the details that can make or break a performance. This includes tightening the acting up, having all lines, songs and dances memorized and getting the time down. One of Roets’ main concerns is the show’s running time. He said, “A week ago, we had our first rehearsal with the pit orchestra, and it took us six hours to run Act One.”
Though there are aspects that the cast still needs to work on, the show’s backbone and strongest areas are found in the songs. The ensemble, solos, and duets are the highlights of the show. Because the cast is so musically talented, numbers such as “Sabbath Prayer,” a song that showcases beautiful harmonies, were easily encompassed and brought to life. Roets said, “We’ve got a really strong musical tradition here. We’ve got a lot of powerful singers. Excellent choral singers as well as solo singers.”
Director Roets and his cast have been putting this show together since January. With their final rehearsal days among them, the cast has faced many challenges, but will hopefully be able to overcome them. “It always seems to come together, but it’s not magic. It comes together because we put in all that hard work because we went through all that frustration. Then we get to where we need to be.” Roets said.
Support the cast by coming to see a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The show runs on March 9 and 10 at 7:30 PM as well as March 11 at 2:00 PM in the Wethersfield High School auditorium. Advanced tickets are on sale on ShowTix4U.com at a price of $14 for adults and $10 for students. To purchase them, all you have to do is type Wethersfield High School into the search bar and select “Fiddler on the Roof.” We hope to see you there!