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I saw a gal from Waukesha West selling student art at yesterday's Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast. Because I truly wanted to see West's production of Fiddler on the Roof on this, the last weekend for the musical, I asked if she'd seen it and if she liked it.
"Seen it? I'm in it! "
Once I recognized Alcy Sivyer, a bandmember of "i Had Fun" I'd written about earlier, I knew I was going that night. Now that I knew someone in it, I didn't want to chance missing it on it's last day, Sunday the 21st, today.
I love the story of Fiddler on the Roof. It's got historical basis, love, happiness and sadness, religion and tradition. It's a snapshot of 1900s Tsarist Russia, but it's story will be relevant as long as there is religious persecution, hard-working poor, faith traditions...
I had a front row seat for one of my favorite musicals. Before it began I got a good look at the orchestra in the claustrophobic pit under the stage, wondered if the sound would emerge OK from the 3 holes in the floor, and saw someone else I knew: Heather Kascht on keyboards.
A side note: Yesterday, while out walking the blog, we met Alderman Joe Pieper in the neighborhood while he was out meeting voters. At the mention of where I'd be going, he asked if we'd been to "Fiddler" at Fireside Dinner Theater. I said we hadn't, and that this play would cost just $10.00.
Well, the play was just $9.00 and, without a doubt, had to be the most enjoyable musical I'd ever been to. Where the Fireside employs professional singers and actors, these young students couldn't have been more professional. There wasn't a flaw or uninspired movement in the entire two and a half hours. It makes me feel great to see this is what Waukesha schools are producing. It was a wonderful feeling to see Waukesha's future, if this is what it's like.
I'm somewhat familiar with the hours it takes to put on a play. To produce something this special, about 100 busy kids had to put this ahead of many other distractions for weeks and months, working twice as hard to keep grades up, etc.
A couple comments: Isaac Young, the Fiddler, is a prodigy. He's clearly the best sophomore violinist I'd ever heard, probably the best in Waukesha, and no doubt has a bright future. It wouldn't surprise me if this production was picked at this time mainly to take advantage of his skills. Among Isaac's many accomplishments: "he has appeared as a guest conductor in middle school, and has created and conducts the Waukesha Area Chamber Orchestra, a student-run summer organization which additionally serves as benefactor to local Christian organizations."
Justin Blodgett, I felt, was the most believable character. While all the costuming was superb, Justin, as Motel the taylor, really looked the part.
The best singing and acting by a newbie: Hannah Marti as Tevye's wife, Golde. For someone who hasn't acted before, you could never tell. She sang well and acted like a professional.
There was no doubt the beard was fake, but Ian Curtis turned in the best performance. As Tevye he had the most lines, but he was a perfect choice for the part as his singing, dancing and acting were all top notch.
And, finally, Linda Signer, a foreign exchange student from Switzerland, appeared as a Villager. It's amazing to me that a student would open her world to new experiences in a different country by trying out and performing in what's probably West's best production ever. I imagine she'll have stories to tell when she gets back home.
What can I say that hasn't already been said? I love the emotion and story of Fiddler. West performed it every bit as well as the movie. I laughed, I cried, and I applauded for all the right reasons. Congratulations West End Players, and thanks for a wonderful time!