WHS to present 'Fiddler on the Roof'

by Jeff Eason
The songs are timeless.

The story of love and family is universal.

"Fiddler on the Roof" is a musical that is a half century old, telling a story of people who lived a century ago, and yet it feels as fresh as a spring bouquet.

Written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, with choreography from Jerome Robbins, "Fiddler on the Roof" features some of Broadway's most beloved songs, such as "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Matchmaker."

The Watauga High School production of "Fiddler on the Roof" will hit the stage on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 11 to 13. Performances are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10 per person. Advance tickets are available at the high school, and the show is assigned seating.

"'Fiddler on the Roof' was the first musical I was in as a kid," said Sarah Miller, drama instructor at WHS and director of the musical. "This was back in 1981, when the Blue Ridge Community Theatre did a big spring musical every April. Janet Speer was our director, and we had a big chorus with kids and their families in it. Graydon Eggers was in that production in 1981, and he will be one of the musicians in the current version."

According to Miller, all of the roles in the current production of "Fiddler on the Roof" are played by drama students at Watauga High. The music will be played live by a band comprised of WHS students, ASU students and faculty, and local musicians. Shauna Godwin is serving as the choreographer, and Lisa Combs is the musical director.

"The kids are more familiar with the musical than you might think," Miller said.

"This has always been one of my family's favorite musicals," said Annelise Coffey, the actor who plays Golde. "I get to sing 'Do You Love Me,' a duet with the character, Tevye. It's very relatable to modern day romance."

"Fiddler on the Roof" tells the tale of a Jewish village in Russia, right before the Bolshevik Revolution. The village is called Anatevka, and the story revolves around a dairyman, named Tevye, who is trying to pass on the virtues of faith and family to his five daughters amid the anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia.

"I am so proud of my cast and crew," Miller said. "They have put hundreds of hours per student into this musical production."

The WHS production of "Fiddler on the Roof" includes more than 50 actors.

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