Over the last few years, the Somerset High School drama department has performed many classic musicals that have been fun, light hearted and entertaining. This year, the department is tackling a much deeper musical in "Fiddler On The Roof," which has the cast and crew excited to take on a bigger challenge.
"Fiddler is a lot more impactful that we have done before. We've done classics like Princess Bride and Bye, Bye Birdie, and those are fun. But Fiddler on the Roof is a real classic and has a meaning to it. Especially in today's climate it has a lot of meaning about how we should treat others," said senior Sophie Dunleap.
The drama department will put on three performances of Fiddler in the high school's multi-purpose room at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17; at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov 19.
"It is about a loving family who is very strong in their beliefs. They know what they want and aren't afraid to go after it," said sophomore Eve Goldstein, who plays the mother, Golde. "The three daughters are trying to marry who they want and the parents don't agree, but they abandon their families and go against tradition. The fiddler on the roof is the metaphor for the tradition, following the family through whatever happens."
Although Fiddler is a famous musical, a few students weren't familiar with it before the school announced it as its fall selection.
"I've heard my mom talk about Fiddler a lot because it is her favorite movie and I'd seen it when I was really little," said freshman Olivia Milles, who is in the chorus and plays a musician throughout the musical. "To be honest I just wanted some new experiences now that I'm in high school and when they said it was Fiddler, I asked my mom about it and she was happy to educate me."
For Goldstein, being part of the musical means more than just getting a chance to test her acting chops with a challenging role.
"I knew I wanted to be Golde because I'm Jewish and I have this background and have talked about it with my family," Goldstein said. "It means a lot of me, because when I told my grandma I got a part in the musical, she said that she was so proud of me because it is the dream role for our family."
Along with learning the play, the actors and members of the crew had to adjust to a new rehearsal schedule this year, which asked students to take more responsibility for practicing their parts outside of regular rehearsals.
"We changed a lot about the rehearsal schedule this year. In past years ... we would stay for later for weeks up until opening night drilling and rehearsing over and over. But this year, we have shifted to learning during practices and then rehearsing at home," said Dunleap, who is playing the third eldest daughter, Chava. "We memorize our lines and practice the choreography at home, but at school we are supposed to be learning, refining and fixing things. It has been a bit of a shift, but I think it is a great idea and that it has worked really well for us."
With opening night just over a week away, the cast is understandably nervous to perform such a classic in front of their friends and family for the first time. However, many of the casts members also feel like this year's ensemble of actors and actresses is a near perfect fit for the characters in the musical.
"At first, it was just about everyone figuring out who their character is and what kind of person their character is," Turner said. "For me, it took a while to figure out what kind of person the Rabbi is, but now, everyone knows who they are and how their character, and as an extension, they would act. It is beautiful. I genuinely feel like everyone is in the right role and it is just working."
For more information contact Carolyn Spoerl at firstname.lastname@example.org.