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Archive for Thursday, September 23, 1999

September 23, 1999

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The popular Broadway musical will feature a 30-member cast and a six-member band.

If you think "Fiddler on the Roof" has waned in popularity, just ask Lawrence Community Theatre staff.

The phone began ringing off the hook when tickets to its production of the Broadway musical went on sale.

"The pre-sales are enormous," Mary Doveton, LCT's managing/artistic director, said. "In the first four days of ticket sales " we took more than 500 reservations. It's the earliest response we've ever had."

Perhaps theater-goers are remembering what happened last year when LCT staged another popular music, "My Fair Lady."

"(We had) 250 people on the waiting list," Doveton said.

"Fiddler on the Roof" is set in the village of Anatevka, where Tevye, a poor dairyman, is trying to instill in his five daughters the traditions of the tight-knit Jewish community. But times in Anatevka are changing, with social and political pressures chipping away at the life Tevye has always known.

Doveton, who is directing the show, said the production features a 30-member cast, 15 of whom are newcomers to a LCT show. Cast members range in age from 9 to 71.

Michael Cormack, a familiar face at LCT productions, will play Tevye. Annette Cook will play his wife, Golde, while Beth Rea, Alisa Saville, Megan McNellis, Lindsey Kennedy and Timmia Hearn Feldman portray their daughters.

Shirley Cormack takes on the role of Yente, the matchmaker.

The show features such songs as "Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Tradition." Musical direction is by J. Richard Walker, who has assembled a six-piece band to back up the cast. Band members are Francene Beall, keyboards; Greg Basgall, bass; Cordelia Brown, violin; Steve Westphal, drums; Robert Friauf, clarinet; and Mandy Leibold, flute.

One of the challenges of directing "Fiddler on the Roof" is that it is so familiar. Singers typically know the melodies well, but they must be taught the harmonies.

"We have some very talented singers," Doveton said. "I've been really impressed with that."

Additionally, some audience members expect to see the movie version, which was shot to showcase its star, Topol.

"One of the difficulties is that the show's so familiar and so many people have seen the movie," Doveton said. "A stage play is always different than the movie. " The whole chemistry is different."

Finding ways to fit the large cast into the small performance space at the theater is another problem Doveton had to face. Actors needed to be placed where they could contribute to the action but not block the view of audience members.

"So we have folks going back into the aisles," she said, adding that putting the actors closer to the audience creates a sense of community within the theater.

Set design is by Jack Riegle. Choreography is by Kimber Andrews, with costume design by Cynthia Dahlberg. Julie Halbert is in charge of lighting design.

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is jbiles@ljworld.com.



TRADITION!

What: "Fiddler on the Roof."

When: Friday through Oct. 10.

Where: Lawrence Community Theatre, 1501 N.H.

Show times: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets: Call 843-7469.

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