Tradition!!! North Lamar Theater Department with an Epic Production

(Photo by Joe Watson) Seth Jones singing during a production of Fiddler on the Roof

(Photo by Joe Watson) Seth Jones singing during a production of Fiddler on the Roof

"A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no?"

The opening line of the play carries so much weight with it. It is something that you hear and it makes you ponder for a second. It's also the opening line for one of the most well-known musicals around.

Opening on Broadway in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. It also held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years. Currently it remains the sixteenth longest running show in Broadway history.

That's why there was both excitement and nervousness when Cody Head announced the North Lamar Theatre Department would be doing Fiddler on the Roof as their fall performance. This show has won nine Tony Awards for Best Musical, score, book direction, choreography, etc. Could a High School theatre pull off this masterpiece? Do they have the talent? What about the voices? The music is amazing?

The Show

Fiddler on the Roof centers around a Jewish family living in a small village in Russia at the turn of the 20th Century. Tevye (played by Seth Jones) and his wife, Golde (Sadi English) have five daughters: Tzeitel (Ellie Ables), Hodel (Reyna Hildreth), Chava (Sarah Carl), Shprintze (Amanda Dean) and Bielke (Annie Gibbons). The daughters are anxious to get married and start their own family. However, due to tradition, they can't get married until the Yente the Matchmaker (Ella Amis) finds them a suitable match.

The story progresses through this families journey of change. Tradition is a huge part of their heritage and customs. Introduce a little love and chaos ensues. Tevye has to find the balance between holding on to the past yet still embracing the change that is coming.

The Cast

If you had to describe this cast in one word, it would "perfect". Cody Head cast this production beautifully. The actors on stage made their characters come to life. It was to the point that you almost forgot you are watching high school students up there performing. Tevye is a person who is on stage for almost the entire show. Seth Jones brought so much energy and passion to this character in each and every scene.

Ella Amis was a major highlight of the show with her portrayal of Yente the Matchmaker. Her accent was brilliant. "Right? Of course, right?" Then you throw in Sadi English as Golde along with Reyna Hildreth as Hodel. Both of them have voices that would make the average person jealous. Well, ok, they made me jealous. The way they delivered the songs was mesmerizing.

Let's talk about Sarah Carl, though. Not only did Sarah have a big role as one of Tevye's daughters, she was also given the responsibility of choreographing the show. This is a musical production. This means there will be lots of dancing and synchronized movement on the stage. As someone who has done theatre before, this isn't an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. However, Sarah made it work. The dancing was superb. Kudos to every dancer on stage and to the choreographer.

The Music

It's hard to talk about a musical and not talk about the music itself. Most shows have a recorded track that is played and the singers perform accordingly. North Lamar decided to take a different approach to Fiddler on the Roof. When you have an award winning band, why not ask them to be a part of the production, right? That's exactly what Mr. Head did. Under the direction of Rebecca Hildreth, Fiddler on the Roof had an orchestra pit with live music being played. The music was so well done that there were people who didn't know it was live until later in the show.

The music in this show is well known, too. If you mess up some of these songs, people will immediately know it. However, mess up is something that didn't happen. The notes were delivered with precision and in a crisp manner. The songs started when they needed to and were delivered exactly the way they are on the broadway recording.

Final Thoughts

The first play I ever did at Paris Community Theater was Fiddler on the Roof in 2004. This play has a soft spot in my heart because of that. So when I heard North Lamar was going to be putting this on, I was excited. With the utmost confidence, I can tell you this production exceeded everything I could have hoped for. The delivery of the lines, the songs themselves, the cast, everything was exactly how I had hoped and more. This may be the best production I have ever seen this Theatre Department put together. And that's saying something, because they have put some great shows on in the past. This one, though, hit it out of the ballpark. Congratulation on a job well done.

(Photo by Joe Watson)  Fiddler on the Roof cast

(Photo by Joe Watson)  Fiddler on the Roof cast

Full Cast
Seth Jones - Tevye
Sadi English - Golde
Ellie Ables - Tzeitel
Reyna Hildreth - Hodel
Sarah Carl - Chava
Amanda Dean - Shprintze
Annie Gibbons - Bielke
Ella Amis - Yente
Sean Gist - Motel
Kyle Stanley - Perchik
Parker Freeman - Lazar Wolf
Brian Slater - Mordcha
Nathan Stone - Rabbi
Aaron Blair - Mendel
Richard Kelp-Torres - Avram
Wesley Crites - Nachum
Jillian Jones - Grandma Tzeitel
Sophie Carl - Fruma-Sarah
Bodee Robinson - Constable
Connor Dawes - Fyedka
Rino Moore - Sasha
Kylie Jackson - Shandel
Claire Jackson - Rifka
Jenna Gould - Mirala
Josef Daniel - Fiddler
Carter Renfro - Villager
Jasmin Estrada - Villager
Kaidynse Steed - Villager
Mackenna Miller - Villager
Taylor Pickering - Villager
Jessica Martinez - Villager
Hannah Jackson - Villager
Anlyn Newberry - Villager
Mason Candias - Villager
Bailey Scott - Villager
Felicity Sefcik - Villager
Trinity Willison - Villager
Harmony McKinney - Villager
l'leah Reynolds - Villager
Morgan Butler - Villager
Chisteny Sneed - Villager
Ivie Allmon - Villager
Kristin Knowles - Villager
Laney Young - Villager
Emery Watson - Villager
Ann Vukcevich - Villager
Will Rast - Villager
Allison Wood - Villager
Dylan Melvin - Villager
Zack Chappell - Russian
Mark Howell - Russian
Rex Head - Yeshiva boy
Liam Broadway - Yeshiva boy

Jayden Franklin - Flute/Piccolo
Stoney Shelton - Clarinet
Chloe Holbrook - Clarinet
Laura Daniel - French Horn
Ashlyn Leonard - French Horn
Jacey McGill - Trumpet
Jerron Newberry - Trumpet
Harrison Perry - Trombone
Cydney Holbrook - Sound Technician
Payton Buck - Percussion

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