Tradition. It's part of the success of the Woodminster Summer Musicals, and it's an important theme and a popular tune in the group's first show in the Oakland hills this summer.
Producers Associates will open its 46th season with "Fiddler on the Roof" this weekend. The production will be presented at 8 p.m. July 13-15 and July 19-22 at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park.
"We've been wanting to do 'Fiddler' again for a few years, and we're really happy to be opening our season with it this year," said Harriet Schlader, managing director. "We pay attention to what our audiences ask for, and Fiddler gets a lot of requests. Beyond that, it's a beautiful musical that has something to say, it makes you laugh and cry, and it's a pleasure for us to produce such a fine piece."
The play tells the story of a poor milkman and his daughters. It is set in a poor Jewish village in Czarist Russia after the turn of the century. First produced on Broadway in 1964 and then made into a film in 1971, some of its most memorable songs are "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Matchmaker."
Cast members come from around the Bay Area -- including residents of Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and Castro Valley. "This is my first time in a big theatrical production," said Spencer Dean, 12, an eighth-grader at Piedmont Middle School who plays the role of the fiddler. "Things have been going well at rehearsals, and it's really a
The Woodminster production is directed by Joel Schlader, with choreography by Jody Jaron, music direction by Richard Vetterli and vocal direction by Trente Morant. The leading role of Tevye is played by Bruce Winant, who is supported by a cast of about 40 professional and community actors.
"I especially enjoy the 'Bottle Dance,' when we have to balance a bottle on our heads," said Oscar Tsykayama, 16, a junior at Skyline High School and Oakland resident who plays the role of the rabbi's son Mendel. "The whole show is comical and full of energy. It's a fun, interesting story with lots of twists to it, too."
Tickets for the show are offered at a discount for children, seniors and groups. Free tickets also are offered for most kids 16 or younger with some restrictions. (See www.woodminster.com.)
"I find myself singing some of the show's songs sometimes," said Dean, who has been playing the violin for about five years. "They're catchy and sound good. Music is a big reason to come to the show, and the actors are really great, too."