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Theater

'Fiddler on the Roof' message still resounds, especially in Pittsburgh

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, 12:03 a.m.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is one of those classic pieces of musical theater with a message that is just as relevant today.

Pittsburgh audiences will be among the first to experience the national touring production of “Fiddler” when it comes to the Benedum Center for eight performances Nov. 20-25 as part of the 2018-19 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Broadway Across America.

The production that opened in Philadelphia on Oct. 28 is led by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher and acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, bringing their vision to the popular Broadway musical by Tony Award-winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

The original Broadway production of “Fiddler” opened in 1964 and featured choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Jesse Weil of Long Island, N.Y., is among the cast members buckling in for a tour that will visit more than 30 U.S. cities in its first season.

Love and pride

For the Brown University graduate who portrays Motel the tailor in the show, the experience is even more special, as this is his first national tour.

“It’s so exciting,” he says. “I’m already feeling the love and pride in the community we’re building.”

Weil grew up in a Jewish home and says that “Fiddler” was an important play to his family. It was one of the first Broadway productions he saw in New York.

“For me, it’s a story about tradition and navigating in a changing world, something we can all connect with today,” he says. “I think it’s impossible not to receive this show in the context of the world we’re living in.”

He says the cast was in Philadelphia for performances when they heard about the Oct. 27 shooting in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Feeling empathy

“We were trying to figure out how to best support the victims’ families,” Weil says. “We need to create empathy in the face of those who hate.”

Israeli film and TV star Yehezkel Lazarov plays the leading role of Tevye in “Fiddler,” the father of five daughters who struggles to preserve his Jewish cultural and religious tradition despite outside influences that threaten them.

Maite Uzalas, a graduate of the Musical Theatre Conservatory Program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, portrays Tevye’s wife, Golde.

Weil’s signature song as Motel, “Miracle of Miracles,” is part of a memorable score that also features Broadway favorites “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life (L’Chaim!).”

Know before you go

One hour before the Nov. 21 performance, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will offer its free Know the Show Before You Go event for ticket holders at 6:30 p.m. at the Trust Arts Education Center, 807 Liberty Ave. Designed to educate audiences about its Broadway performances to enhance their theater experience, the event includes refreshments.

Those planning to attend must register at trustarts.org.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is one of those classic pieces of musical theater with a message that is just as relevant today.

Pittsburgh audiences will be among the first to experience the national touring production of “Fiddler” when it comes to the Benedum Center for eight performances Nov. 20-25 as part of the 2018-19 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Broadway Across America.

The production that opened in Philadelphia on Oct. 28 is led by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher and acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, bringing their vision to the popular Broadway musical by Tony Award-winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

The original Broadway production of “Fiddler” opened in 1964 and featured choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Jesse Weil of Long Island, N.Y., is among the cast members buckling in for a tour that will visit more than 30 U.S. cities in its first season.

Love and pride

For the Brown University graduate who portrays Motel the tailor in the show, the experience is even more special, as this is his first national tour.

“It’s so exciting,” he says. “I’m already feeling the love and pride in the community we’re building.”

He says the cast was in Philadelphia for performances when they heard about the Oct. 27 shooting in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

“We were trying to figure out how to best support the victims’ families,” Weil says. “We need to create empathy in the face of those who hate.”

Know before you go

One hour before the Nov. 21 performance, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will offer its free Know the Show Before You Go event for ticket holders at 6:30 p.m. at the Trust Arts Education Center, 807 Liberty Ave.. Those planning to attend must register at trustarts.org.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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