Next weekend, Valley View High School will present the musical "Fiddler on the Roof," the acclaimed comedy-drama set in Tsarist Russia in the 1900s. The musical tells the story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and traditions as the world around him changes.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, ran for more than 3,000 performances and held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years.
With that kind of legacy to live up to, director Gina Lupini and Jovanna Rusnak have worked hard for authenticity. Among they people they turned to was Rabbi Joe Mendelsohn.
"I had met him serendipitously at a local restaurant. We were introduced and I asked him if he would be interested in speaking to our students. He immediately replied yes and provided his contact information," Lupini said.
The following week Rabbi Mendelsohn attended a rehearsal and talked to the students.
"He provided great detail and insight about his religion that we otherwise would not know." Lupini added. "He even went as far as to allow us to borrow some of his personal vestments for the young man who is portraying the role of the Rabbi in our production. We are most thankful for his extreme kindness."
The directors also enlisted the assistance of drama/theatrical experts Tony Nicosia, Joseph Caputo and Theo Lencicki, who served as drama consultants.
More than 100 students are involved in this year's production along with several faculty members, including Ken Rupp, Paul Hansen and Amy Wilensky (art crew).
In addition to the weekend performances, the cast and crew will offer a morning performance for area school districts. MaryJean Eagen, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, has created a study guide which will be distributed to all educators who attend the morning performance.
This is not the first time the school has mounted a production of "Fiddler": it did it in 1982. The school has invited the 1982 cast/crew members to the Sunday performance and at the conclusion of the show they will take part in the final bow.
The performances will be Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 1 Columbus Drive, Archbald. Tickets are $10; $8 for students and are available in advance by calling 876-4110, or at the door.
Tzeitel, Rabbi and Motel:
Sarah Kandel, Adam Crimi and Jonathan Mengoni