‘Tradition’ and Tevye as 'Fiddler on the Roof' plays in Littleton

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A large cast of community actors is rehearsing under the direction of Kelly and David Kates, polishing a production of the much-loved, Tony Award-winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” which will play June 27 to 30 in the sanctuary of Littleton United Methodist Church.

The 60-member cast ranges in age from 5 to 75, with Vince Guerrie in the role of Tevye, who wants his five daughters to observe all the traditions he holds dear.

Alex Raab, a teacher at Centennial Fine Arts Academy in Littleton, an accomplished violinist and a church member, inspired Kelly to propose “Fiddler.” “And,” she said, “it’s ideal for a church.”

Set in Czarist Russia, the little village of Anatevka’s Jewish families are under pressure to change or leave. Tevye and his wife Golde (Kelly Jo Eldredge) watch as their daughters find outside influences, and boyfriends, instead of the match suggested by a matchmaker. Life as they knew it cannot last.

The musical, which opened for a long run on Broadway in 1964, was written by Jerry Bock (music), Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and Joseph Stein (book), based on a story by Sholem Aleichem: “Tevye and his Daughters.”

While Kelly directed a Broadway musical two years ago at LUMC (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”), and has considerable experience with choreographing them at Town Hall Arts Center, this is David’s first go at a Broadway show — a switch from the complex choral arrangements he directs for his church choirs.

People from the church and the community are rehearsing twice on the weekends and on Tuesday nights. Some, Kelly said, are experienced, but many are not accustomed to singing and moving simultaneously.

There aren’t the community theater opportunities available that used to exist for children or adults, Kelly added. This experience fills that need in the community as well as providing help for a worthy project.

While admission is free, donations will be welcomed and they will go to Field Elementary School’s Food Pantry — a new project for the church to support.

A total of 82 percent of the children enrolled at Field receive free and reduced cost lunches. They take home weekend supplies to share.