Operetta tunes up for ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Cast and crew finds universal messages in ‘timeless’ play

‘Fiddler on the Roof’

By the Sequim High School Operetta Club

Directed by Robin Hall

Music direction by John Lorentzen

Choreography by Anne Lorentzen

At: Sequim High School auditorium,      533 N. Sequim Ave.

Shows: 6 p.m. Thursdays, April 30, May 7, 14; 7 p.m. Friday, May 1; 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2; 7 p.m. Fridays/ Saturdays, May 8-9, 15-16. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain

Tickets: Premium seats $15 (no discount for seniors, students, children), $12 adults and students without SHS ASB card; $12 seniors 65+, students with SHS ASB card, and children; $10 all balcony seats. Available in advance at www.shsoperetta.org and box office

More info: Call Robin Hall at 460-7860 or the district office at 582-3260.



Timeless. That’s the word used most among cast and crew to describe Sequim High’s latest operetta production “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“It’s about Russian Jews, how can we relate to that here, but it’s all about love and family and relationships,” director Robin Hall said. “It’s timeless.”

The Operetta Club stages the school’s 49th annual spring show on Thursdays-Saturdays, April 30-May 16 as part of the Sequim Irrigation Festival.

All the elements of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show are here from the powerful performances to the enlightening music to deep conflict between family and traditions.

“It’s a show that has a lot more meaning the older you get,” said music director John Lorentzen.

“I did it for the first time in my 20s and every time I see it, I think about this dad (Tevye) sending his daughters away,” Lorentzen said. “He’s got to live with his and their decisions and breaking traditions. It’s very poignant in that way.”

Senior Ben Heintz takes on the lead as Tevye, the poor dairyman living in the small Russian town Anatevka with his wife Golde (Victoria Hall) and their five daughters.

He’s tasked himself with trying to instill traditional values while an anti-Semitic culture grows around his community.

Tevye initially tries to pair his eldest, Tzeitel, played by Sarah Isenberger, with Lazar Wolf, a rich butcher, played by Jack Dismore, but Tzeitel and his two other eldest daughters Hodel (Sydney Negus) and Chava (Brianna Dalton) find love of their own.

The pairings are unconventional as Perchik (Nicholas Fazio), a revolutionary, falls for Hodel, Tzeitel for the timid tailor Motel (Dylan DePrati) and Chava for Fyedka (Danny Willis), a Catholic.



‘Fiddler’ emotions

Sequim first performed “Fiddler” in 1981 and again in 1998.

“It’s one I’ve been wanting to do,” Hall said. “I thought about doing it a few years ago when I took over (the operetta) for Christy Rutherford.”

In early rehearsals, Hall and the students take a section and will read through it a few times, she said, to learn the writer’s intent and discuss how the characters feel.

She said the conflict between Chava, Fyedka and Tevye with interfaith marrying in the early 1900s may be hard for some of the students to understand.

“Tevye is conflicted but he resolves it by saying ‘God be with you’ through Tzeitel,” she said.

“It gets me every time. When I saw the play a year ago I could barely make it through and it gets me now in rehearsals.”

Sydney Negus said she finds the play to be emotional for her, too, especially singing “Far From the Home I Love.”

“Ben (Heintz) and I come off stage and I’m still super-emotional even 15 minutes afterward,” she said.

Negus and fellow Sequim High senior Sarah Isenberger have appeared in multiple plays at Sequim High.

“(Fiddler) is kind of relatable me as a senior. I’ll be leaving soon and going to Westminster College in Salt Lake City,” Negus said.

Heintz finds “Fiddler” to be bittersweet as it’s his last high school play before pursuing musical theater in college and beyond.

“It’s kind of come full circle for me beginning in a minor role (as a mechanical stage hand in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” as a freshman) to today,” he said.



All the details

“Fiddler’s” music was written by Jerry Brock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and based on the book by Joseph Stein, which is based on “Tevye and his Daughters” by Sholem Aleichem.

Lorentzen leads a six-member orchestra, including his son Mark doing digital orchestration. Anne Lorentzen leads choreography.

“With the music, there’s not one song I don’t like,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of dancing this year compared to the nun chorus (in “Sound of Music”) last year.”

Isenberger said she loves the show especially for its music.

“All the chorus numbers are all so great,” she said. “You get a little bit of everything in this show.”

Heintz likes that the play has a lot of messages for people.

“It can apply to anyone,” he said. “It is timeless.”

“Fiddler” features Sequim students from elementary to high school.

Other cast members are Lily Mitchell, Jovi Weller, Niki McElhose, Seth Mitchell, Ryan Macedo, Chris Heintz, Jared Kneidl, Selesha McKibbon, Kaylee Ditlefsen, Spencer Neale, Colleen Carpenter, Hunter Cauffman, Thomas Hughes, Heidi Powell, Abby Norman, Annabelle Armstrong, Ava Fuller, Haelee Andres, Madison Millet, Mariah Franco, Genevieve King, Ally Cobb, Isabella Fazio, Payton Sturm, Amanda Weller, Fallon Greenspane, Gabi Simonson, Abe Mitchell, Falisha Dail, David Simonson, Anthony Cortani, Devin Anderson, David Burgher and Marshall Conway.

Tickets for the show are available in advance at shsoperetta.org or at the door. For more information, call Hall at 460-7860.



Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.