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Porter Theater to feature 'Fiddler on the Roof' in fall

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Saturday, July 27, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

“Fiddler on the Roof” will be performed at the Edwin S. Porter Theater in the Greater Connellsville Area Community Center this fall, with the husband and wife team of Michael and Tricia Rohlf, directing and producing the show.

The Rohlfs have been involved in local theater for decades. Auditions are planned for next week.

“We have chosen to do ‘Fiddler on the Roof' because in 1979 it was the show that the theater had reopened with,” Tricia Rohlf said. “Bill Dreucci had directed a show for Actors and Artists there and it was ‘Fiddler on the Roof.' It was meant to get the theater up and running again back then. So when we were approached about doing theater at the community center again we said to ourselves, wouldn't it be cool if 35 years later we opened with the same show. Interestingly, Dreucci will play Tevye, the lead in our production, so there will be a historic tie-in from then to now.”

Auditions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Those who audition are asked to bring their sheet music, any musical theater genre piece, and be prepared to sing 32 bars of the song. An accompanist will be provided. This production is multigenerational, so all ages are needed. The Rohlfs want to use as many people as they can. They point out that grandparents can act opposite their grandchildren, for example.

“We are hoping that many of the people involved in the 1973 production will be around for this one,” Michael Rohlf said.

The Rohlfs met while performing in Pittsburgh. They have made theater a family event with son Jonathan, now a senior musical theater major at Point Park University and daughter Lexie, who will be a freshman musical theater major there. Daughter Kara is still in high school and recently played Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” at the Geyer theater in Scottdale.

They point out that theater is a wonderful activity for the whole family to get involved in; it's what they do and believe it is a good way to keep kids out of trouble.

“Friends of ours at the Geyer theater, where we often perform, asked us about maybe directing a show in Connellsville and we were interested in looking into the idea,” Tricia Rohlf said. “When we went to see the Porter Theater we were blown away by its beauty. It truly is a gem and it needs to be used for theatrical production. It is beautiful, it has aged very well, with many renovations, it is gorgeous.”

She added that they are hoping for a lot of community support so they can plan a bigger, better season next summer.

“It will all depend on community response to determine whether we can continue. Hopefully it will be there,” Tricia Rohlf said. “The Pretty Good Theater Company will be helping us out. We would like to set long-term goals, eventually making it like Pittsburgh Public Theater, depending on how the community supports it. We are excited about this.”

“Fiddler on the Roof” will be performed at the Porter Theater on Sept. 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. The admission is $12.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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