‘FIDDLER’ comes to life on David Douglas High stage

See why, based on our sneak preview, this production of Fiddler on the Roof looks as if it might be the best show that David Douglas High has mounted to date – which means you may want to reserve seats now, before they sell out …

The “men of Anatevka” rehearse a number where they try to out-dance each another, for the upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof, opening on December 1.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Considered by many to be the last show of Broadway’s “Golden Age” – the winner of ten Tony Awards – is the poignant musical comedy, Fiddler on the Roof.

On December 1, the combined David Douglas High School (DDHS) Performing Arts departments debut their production of this beloved musical.

It may be difficult for some in the audience not to sing along with the show’s well-known songs – including Sunrise, Sunset, If I Were a Rich Man, and Matchmaker.

The show’s cast works on a dance production number, on the set of Fiddler on the Roof.

Michael Givler, the show’s director, looks pleased with the progress the cast has made, as they prepare for their winter musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

The show opened on Broadway in 1964, and ran for 3,000 performances. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem – published in 1894.

“The themes of the show – dealing with a rapidly changing society – certainly apply to modern life,” smiled its director, Michael Givler, DDHS drama instructor.

“These days, we all need to question our role in this life,” Givler continued. “Can we ask the question, ‘Is God is smiling on us?’ when bad things happen? While the show is colorful and lively, we can hopefully also get some insight into both the good and the bad that comes along.”

Seasoned DDHS actor Johnny Nguyen – he played Jed in Oklahoma, and Perris in the Crucible – portrays the show’s central character, dairy farmer Tevye.

Tech crew members Abby Lestiko-Johnson, Rana Youssef, and Brandon Doyle are three of the 15 crew that help produce the show.

“This show is a classic,” Givler went on. “And, when you have an actor who can play Tevye, and so many other good actors in the supporting roles, we knew we had to put on Fiddler on the Roof.

In addition to offering a number of leading roles, Givler observed that the musical score is vocally challenging – meaning that the actors must also sing well. “And, our whole music department is really excited about the show – we put out a call for string players in our orchestra of 30 student musicians; we almost don’t have the room in our pit to fit in everyone who wants to play.”

In total, the production features 60 actors, singers, and dancers.

The on-stage performers are being ably aided by a 16-person technical crew. Under the guidance of Theater Arts instructor Mark Taylor, the sets and lighting already looked spectacular when we visited the auditorium for a sneak preview of the show.

Working on their roles are Ian Booth, who plays Fyedka; Vanessa Harris as Chava;  Hunter McAndrew as Perchik; Diedre Uehara as Hodel; Alex MacKaben as Lazar Wolf; Johnny Nguyen as Tevye; Dannah Hooper as Golde; Gabby Luther as Tzeitel; Pablo Iniguez as Motel; and, seated, are Kelsey Milks as Bielke, and Rene Olson as Shprintze.

Show opens December 1
On opening night at 7:30 p.m., the curtain will rise on Fiddler on the Roof. Evening performances continue on December 2 and 3.

  • Consider taking the whole family to see the matinee performance on December 4 at 2:30 p.m.
  • Evening shows return on December 8, 9 and 10.

With ticket prices at $10 for adults, and $7 for students and seniors, this show is sure to sell out quickly. Reserve tickets online: CLICK HERE to open their special box office site – OR call (503) 261-8270.

All performances will be in the David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center Auditorium, located at 1400 SE 130th Avenue, between SE Division Street and SE Stark.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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