Rehearsals are underway for the Golden Chain Theatre’s 12 performances of the classic musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” with opening night scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6. directed by Jennifer Piccolotti.
The Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Jerome Robbins, and Joseph Stein show, based on the emotional stories of Shalem Aleichem, is being directed by Jennifer Piccolotti, the Golden Chain’s creative director.
The story centers on the village of Anatevka where milkman Tevye complains to God from time to time, but basically enjoys life with his wife, their five daughters and his fellow villagers.
James Mierkey has the lead role of Tevye, a big, gruff patriarch with a heart of gold who somehow seems to balance tradition and adaptability. His hard-nosed wife, Golde, is played by Julie Riley.
Kelly Ravel, Lyric Piccolotti, and Alli Ruiz play the marrying daughters.
Epic songs in the production include “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker,” and “If I Were a Rich Man.”
Mierkey said he is honored to play the role of Tevye.
“Tevye is a complex character with a real sensitive side but also a hard edge produced by a life of displacement because of his faith,and his tradition,” Mierkey said. “He is met with serious challenges throughout the story and that manifests in a major personal crisis that is a challenge to portray on stage. With the help of a wonderful cast and solid direction I am becoming him and it is a thrill and an honor.”
Stephanie Brock is a mischievous Yente, Robert Britt plays Motel the Tailor, and 13 year-old Peyton Riley gets to open and close the show with her fine fiddle playing, both at stage level and from atop a 18-foot-high wooden roof.
The cast of nearly 70 is the largest ever for a Golden Chain production.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, held the record for the longest-running Broadway show for almost 10 years.
The production won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction, and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 movie.
Details: “Fiddler on the Roof” (rated G) - The Golden Chain Theatre, 42130 Highway 41, Oakhurst - Nov. 6-29, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p..m. - Tickets range $8-$15 - group rates available - goldenchaintheatre.org, (559) 683-7112.