Barrington Fiddler on the Roof, With Brad Oscar, Opens June 17 in MA; Sheldon Harnick's in the House
By Kenneth Jones
Barrington Stage Company's Fiddler on the Roof, starring Brad Oscar as Tevye and Joanna Glushak as Golde, opens 5 PM June 17 on the BSC mainstage in Pittsfield, MA. Tony Award-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick will be on hand at 3 PM for an onstage discussion.
The Tony Award-winning 1964 musical about changing traditions in the Russian-Jewish village of Anatevka in the early 20th century is directed and choreographed by Gary John La Rosa. Previews began June 13. Performances continue to July 14.
Tony-winning composer-lyricist William Finn will moderate the chat with Tony-winner Harnick, who will talk about "his life and career and his experience creating Fiddler on the Roof" with composer Jerry Bock and librettist Joseph Stein. The talk is free, but reservations are highly recommended.
The Fiddler company includes Rebecca Kuznick (Tzeitel), Dawn Rother (Chava), Stephanie Lynn Mason (Hodel), Colin Israel (Motel), Gordon Stanley (Rabbi), Rachel Coloff (Yente), Abbey Schilling (Bielke), Alex Levin (Perchik), Emma Foley (Shprintze), Travis Nesbitt (Fyedka), Jason Simon (Lazar Wolf) and Michael Scott (Constable). The ensemble includes Adam Brown, Erica Cenci, Taylor Hilt Mitchell, Jesse Coleman, Michael J. Farina, Hannah Kiem, Andrew Mayer, Rusty Mowery, Matthew Rickard, Rebecca Stavis (as Fruma Sarah), plus BSC musical theatre apprentices Ben Holtzman, Danny Harris Kornfeld, Rebecca Kuznick and Meagan Michelson.
Oscar is a Tony nominee for creating "Franz" in The Producers. He was recently Fester in Broadway's The Addams Family. Glushak was seen in Broadway's Sunday in the Park with George, Les Misérables, Rags and Sweet Smell of Success.
Fiddler on the Roof features a score by Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and a book by Joseph Stein, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem.
Playbill reached out to Oscar on June 15. "I am loving this experience, what a role and what a beautifully constructed show," he said. "I have never played Tevye before, but I was born on Sept. 22, 1964, opening night of the show, and my first real exposure to performing in musical theatre was as Motel at the JCC in Rockville, MD, when I was 12! So it's in my blood and DNA.
"I have always wanted to play the role at some point, though I didn't think it would happen so soon, but suddenly I'm the right age. Oy! As we rehearsed, and I began to think about my ancestors more and more, I realized that I really am from these very people. I am the classic Jewish 'mutt' if you will, family from Russia, Poland and eastern Europe, but in their desire to assimilate in The New World not much of that history or knowledge was passed down to me. But I feel it resonate more as each day goes by, so I do feel in many ways it is a role I was born to play, and I have known the show so well for most of my life that it feels like a natural progression."
He added, "I was amazed at how quickly I was able to memorize the text, already being so familiar with the score, and I think that speaks to both the clarity and brilliance of [librettist] Joe Stein's work, and my own connection to the piece and the resonance it has had in my life, both as a Jew and a 'student of the American Musical Theater.'"
The BSC Fiddler production team includes scenic designer Jack Mehler, costume designers Michael Bottari and Ron Case, lighting designer Jeff Davis, sound designer Ed Chapman and production stage manager Renee Lutz.
The BSC Mainstage is at 30 Union Street, Pittsfield.
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