Last night I finally had the opportunity to attend a special, volunteer night edition of the Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society’s presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. I’ve heard so many first hand comments and entertainment critic reviews on the musical now playing at the former Wagar High School. But seeing, and hearing, is believing and believe me, this was no ordinary play. This was an outstanding, high energy, musical and emotional roller coaster that gripped the audience for a thrilling ride from the opening scene to the closing of the curtain.
The stage was jam packed with nearly 40 talented and spirited volunteer actors, who also sang and dance with perfection. The acting was so sincere, so real, that you felt as though you too were transported back in time to the shtetle of Anatevka.
The show was directed and choreographed by the very talented Anisa Cameron and the lead performer playing the role of Tevye the Milkman, was none other than Sam Stein, a familiar face in Montreal theatre, particularly at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts and the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. Kalie Rae was remarkable as Golde as were lead performances by daughters Tzeitel (Michelle Sasson), Hodel (Moriel Shahin) and Chava (Einav Ne’eman) along with son-in-laws Motel (Daniel Harroch), Perchik (Kenny Stein) and Fyedka (Mike Rappaport). Yente the Matchmaker (Hannah Sheffren) was a riot!
Local politicians also got into the act with drama king, and CSLDS founder Councillor Mitchell Brownstein playing the role of Lazar Wolf, Reb Mordcha, the Innkeeper played by long time actor Councillor Sam Goldbloom, Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, singing and dancing in three different roles with his colleague, Hampstead Mayoral Candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum in a cameo role as the pious woman. Dollard Councillor Herbert Brownstein was decked out in a long black coat, fur hat and grey beard as the rabbi, while Mayor Anthony Housefather surprised the audience as the Russian Orthodox Priest.
A special shout out to 10 year old Aidan Catriel, the Fiddler on the Roof, a veritable junior virtuoso. This kid is truly gifted.
Without naming the rest of the cast individually they should all be proud of their incredible accomplishment on stage. Each of them added immensely to the story and the spirit of this musical classic.
Several members of city staff were very involved in ensuring the logistical, administrative and marketing success of Fiddler. Bravo to them along with the sound and lighting folks and the gifted orchestra.
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales) by Sholem Aleichem. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s fifteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals, a successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.
Run, don’t walk, to book your tickets now for one of the last performances. The show runs through this Sunday only. For tickets and information click on CSLDramaticSociety.com.