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Founders Hall brings 'Fiddler' to stage

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Wedding guests shout 'mazel tov' as Connor Shields, as Motel, breaks a glass to mark his marriage to Avery Goldinger, as Tzeitel.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Sadie Abrams, foreground at left, and other Founders Hall dancers impress fellow cast members and guests with the bottle dance during a rehearsal of 'Fiddler on the Roof.'
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Talona Jones, as Golde, and Antonio Grigsby, as Tevye, sing 'Sunrise, Sunset.'

McKeesport Area middle school students are getting ready for their future involvement in high school theater by staging a musical of their own.

Founders Hall students will perform “Fiddler on the Roof”

beginning Wednesday and continuing nightly at 7:30 through April 27 in the Francis McClure auditorium.

“Everyone is working so hard to get it done, and the show is amazing,” eighth-grader Avery Goldinger, who plays Tzeitel, said. “The characters all have different personalities, but they all seem to fit.”

“Fiddler,” set in early 1900s Russia, is the story of a milkman named Tevye and his struggle to maintain Jewish traditions within his family.

As his five daughters grow — the three eldest choosing husbands and drifting from their traditions — Tevye, played by Antonio Grigsby, struggles with his changing world. While weighing his daughters' choices, he also is faced with the Tsar's decision to push the Jewish people from their village.

Eighth-grader Talona Jones, who plays Tevye's wife Golde, said the show is challenging, but fun.

“We've become a family,” Talona said of the cast. “Theater is a great experience to meet new people.”

Seventh-grader Connor Shields, who plays Motel, said everyone contributes something unique.

“It feels like everyone is so important,” Connor said. “Without everyone involved, we would be nothing.”

Choreographer Julie Tomich, who teaches eighth-grade language arts at Founders Hall, said students are exceeding expectations.

“I'm very impressed with this age group — how well they picked everything up and how well they cooperate,” Tomich said. “They're so eager to learn and so excited.”

“Fiddler” producer Drew DeCarlo, who is the middle school band teacher, said theater programs enhance students' learning experience. At the middle school level, theater builds self-esteem and prepares students for high school performances.

“The arts are alive in our district,” DeCarlo said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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