5 Highlights from the BroadwayCon Fiddler Panel

News   5 Highlights from the BroadwayCon Fiddler Panel
The wealth of knowledge shared on the Mainstage at BroadwayCon's "To Us and Our Good Fortune — The Fiddler on the Roof panel" made us all feel like rich men.


Joined onstage by Alexandra Silber, Samantha Massell, Jessica Hecht, Adam Kantor, Jeffrey Schecter and Michael C. Bernardi, we dug deep into the world of Anatkevka, the cast's personal connections to the story and its Jewish roots and what they've learned from being part of Broadway's sixth revival of the emblematic show.

1. Fiddler makes you take a walk in someone else's shoes — literally
While so many families have ties to Fiddler, Michael C. Bernardi (who plays Reb Mordcha the innkeeper) follows in grander footsteps. His father, Herschel Bernardi took over for Zero Mostel in the original Fiddler on Broadway. When Bernardi was cast in this production, he wanted to wear his father's boots from the original show but they were too small. So he took them to a local cobbler. When he went to pick the boots up, Bernardi told the cobbler about the boots. Unbelievably, the cobbler's father had worked on the boots from the original production of Fiddler.

Michael C. Bernardi and Jeffrey Schecter
Michael C. Bernardi and Jeffrey Schecter Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

2. Choreographer Hofesh Shechter taught Jessica Hecht to find her inner dancer
"I was terrified, even though I had done a small amount of modern dance growing up, I thought, 'Oh sh*t, this is really intense,'" said Hecht. "The thing about Hofesh is he is just a really incredibly deep presence in the room. I can't imagine anybody not following along what he was doing emotionally," said Hecht. "He would use words like 'liquid' and 'juicy,' [to describe the moement in rehearsal]," said Schecter. 

Jessica Hecht and Samantha Massell
Jessica Hecht and Samantha Massell Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

3. Even Fiddler's cast plays Secret Santa
"We do secret Santa at Fiddler on the Roof," said Schecter. "Absolutely. Real American Jews. Channukah was like crickets, but Christmas ruled at the Fiddler house."

4. Some crazy traditions that have formed
During "L'Chaim" there is a section of improv slow motion, and every night someone, usually Melanie Moore (who plays Chava), gives a direction to the men in that number of how to perform the slow-mo. Some nights it's "do it like Gollem" others "you're all flight attendants." "If you went to see the show every single night, in that section you'll probably see something very different," said Jeffrey Schecter. The whole cast gathers in the wings to watch.

5. There is an instagram account devoted to Silber and Massell's dressing room shenanigans
The two were making so many dressing room videos they had to make a separate Instagram account. "We wear 8,000 pounds of clothes…just all the skirts," said Silber. They wear so much that the "sisters" race to see who can get dressed the fastest. "Do you guys know 'Henry Ford' from the musical Ragtime? So 'Henry Ford' is exactly 1:32 long. We hit play and see who can get dressed the fastest before the song ends. And that's just for undergarments," said Silber. Follow their silliness @dressingroom51.

Samantha Massell and Alexandra Silber
Samantha Massell and Alexandra Silber Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Lightning round:
What is your favorite song from the show?
Silber: "L'Chaim
Massell: "Matchmaker"
Hecht: "Rich Man"
Kantor: "Tradition"
Schecter: "Do You Love Me?"
Bernardi: "Far From the Home I Love," God it makes me cry every single night
The cast: The Rumor!" Oh The Rumor!

What's the most Jewish you've felt during this experience?
Hecht: Just complaining, when we complain.
Massell: One night I went to synagogue with Jessica, that was pretty Jewish. 
Hecht: My synagogue is very very left of center.
Bernardi: I had two bagels and lox sandwiches. I had one for breakfast at Murray's Bagels, went did the show and then during the break had another one from Barney Greengrass.
Silber: I feel super proud of it. Some of you might have caught it but some of you might not. The Kamzoils. Adam and I fought really hard to have this beautiful post-wedding moment called a Yichud. It's like orthodox porn downstage left. But it is so authentic and intimate and it's something we both wanted to….

Ruthie Fierberg is the Features Editor at Playbill.com. She has also written for Backstage, Parents and American Baby, including dozens of interviews with celeb moms and dads for parents.com. Follow her on Twitter at @RuthiesATrain.

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