This week, Fort Dodge Senior High students will bring some "tradition" to the stage with the presentation of their 85th annual musical, "Fiddler on the Roof."
"The primary reason is it's a great story. The story is one of love of family versus devotion to faith and tradition," said Joe Svendsen, vocal music director. He is directing the show, along with Mary Jo Laupp, theater director, and Laura Cooper, pit director.
The play follows a poor Jewish milkman named Tevye living in a small village in Russia in 1905, said Svendsen.
-Photo by Steve Kersten
Fort Dodge Senior high students are preparing for their spring musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” From left, Meg Fink, Natalie Dillon, Kjerstin Grindberg, Seth Nelson and Janessa Laupp.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Natalie Dillon, left, and Kjerstin Grindberg sort through some props backstage during a rehersal of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
"During the show, his three daughters all fall in love for different reasons, and each one of them falls in love with someone who's a little father away from the tradition and expectations that Tevye has for his life. So he's tested - does he side with his children, or does he side with his community and his faith?"
The play is a bit different from many other high school productions, said seniors Joe Bruen and Caleb Henkelman.
"It's much more serious than any of the musicals I've been in before because it deals with such big issues," Henkelman said. "You have to take it more seriously in some sense, which is a different thing for me. On stage I've always played comedic roles, so I have to tone that down."
If you go
What: "Fiddler on the Roof"
Who: Fort Dodge Senior High musical
When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Where: Decker Auditorium, Iowa Central Community College
Tickets: Students, $5; Adults, $10; available at the door, Hy-Vee or Choice Printing
'Fiddler on the Roof' cast list
Tevye - Seth Nelson
Golde - Janessa Laupp
Tzeitel - Kjerstin Grindberg
Hodel - Natalie Dillon
Chava - Meg Fink
Schprintze - Harper Lee Martin
Bielke - Natalie Halverson
Motel - Tyler Teske
Perchik - Joe Bruen
Lazar Wolf - Tim Hatton
Yente - Kelsey Chingren
Rabbi - Daniel Peet
Mendel - Jacob Amhof
Avram - David Kilian
Nachum - Caleb Henkelman
Grandma Tzeitel - Madeline Ascherl
Fruma-Sarah - Sarah Amhof
Constable - Jordan Narber
Fyedka - Ben Ahlers
Shaindel - Libby Redmond
Sasha - Austin Sanford
Yussel - Eddie Shimkat
Mordcha - Nick Shaw
The Fiddler - Nathan Moore
Golde - Jamila Shing-Hon
Hodel - Kenzie Elsbecker
Perchik - Rob Leigh
Tzeitel - Chloee Narber
Henkelman plays Nachum, the beggar, and Bruen plays Perchik, one of the love interests.
"The setting is completely different," Bruen said. "It's in Russia. The previous two years we were just plain Americans, so we have to change our behavior."
"We have to try to follow the traditions as close as possible, which is what the whole play is about," Henkelman said.
One of the challenges has been getting all the large group scenes together, he said.
"This is a very chorus-involved show, compared to last year that didn't really have any big chorus numbers."
Bruen added, "There's a lot of different people doing different things at the same time."
He really enjoys playing his character.
"I get to act really cocky and intelligent. It's a fun role," Bruen said. "I really enjoy his lines. They're really funny. They're still serious, and somewhat heartfelt at times, but there's other times where it's really ridiculous things that I get to say."
Henkelman said his favorite part is doing the dream sequence.
"Essentially we play ghosts in that, so it's creepy but funny at the same time," he said. "I think that's one of the scenes people will go away remembering."
"Also one of our songs, 'To Life,' is going to be really fun," Bruen said. "We've had fun working on that."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org