Area cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” delights audience

Published 11:28 pm Thursday, February 20, 2014

“Fiddler on the Roof” runs tonight, Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center. (photo by Erik Olsen)

“Fiddler on the Roof” runs tonight, Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center. (photo by Erik Olsen)

by Robin Edgar

Tryon Little Theater’s “Fiddler on the Roof” opened this week at the Tryon Fine Arts Center.

The musical has been entertaining audiences since it opened on Broadway 50 years ago.

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Complemented by memorable music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein’s heartwarming story is based on tales by Yiddish storyteller Sholem Aleichem, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. There Tevye, a poor dairyman with a nagging wife and five daughters, struggles to maintain the Jewish traditions that he believes will hold his family together in spite of the changing times and a looming edict to evict them from their village.

The first musical theatre run to surpass 3,000 performances, the show kept the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years. It won nine Tony Awards, including for Best Musical and for the rousing score with songs like “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”

Fiddler has remained a favorite, not only for its music, but for it’s universal message about family and tradition. Audiences of various backgrounds can relate to Tevye, played with great comedic aplomb and vocal talent by Mark Schweizer, as he struggles between upholding the traditions that the he believes can protect his family and giving his blessings to allow his three eldest daughters to choose their own husbands and leave some of those traditions behind.

Susie Kocher shines as Tevye’s wife, Golde, who struggles to feed the family on her husband’s limited income. Kate Riedy portrays the oldest sister Tzeitel, with charisma. The first to break away from tradition and marry Motel, the young tailor (Eli Jenkins) for love, she frustrates the attempts of Yente the matchmaker, comically played by Helen Byrd, to earn her fee for arranging Tzeitel’s marriage to a much older Lazar Wolf, the Butcher (Guy Winkler). Miriam Jackson’s vocal talent shines as she plays the second sister Hodel, who runs off with the liberal-minded Perchik, the student (Price Marshall). The multi-talented Emily Kocher plays Chava, who chooses the Russian soldier Sasha (Alex Harrelson) over her family. The rest of the cast and chorus, too numerous to mention here, will sing and dance their way into your hearts as well.

The TLT production of Fiddler on the Roof, aptly cast and directed by Dan Harvey, will not disappoint you. The musical numbers are wonderfully executed under Pam McNeil’s direction and the set, designed by Lindsey Moore and lighting, by Richard Sharkey, is sensational. Sonya Monts choreographs the large cast with the flair of Russian dancing. One of the highlights of the show that blends many of these elements is the scene where Tevye pretends to awaken from a nightmare in which Golde’s grandmother (Carol Cox) returns from the grave to bless the marriage of her namesake to Motel, not to Wolf, whose deceased wife, Fruma-Sarah, played with great comedic gusto by Ten Greene-Porter, also appears and threatens retribution if Tzeitel marries her former husband.

“Fiddler on the Roof” runs Feb. 21 – 23 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center (34 Melrose Avenue). Tickets are on sale now at the TLT Workshop (516 S. Trade St. Tryon). Box office hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Visit or call 828-859-2466 for more information.