UTA Groups Bring ‘Fiddler’ to Life

Johnathan Crawford, left, and Kimber Carter will star in UT Arlington's production of "Fiddle on the Roof" later this month. (Photo contributed)
Johnathan Crawford, left, and Kimber Carter will star in UT Arlington’s production of “Fiddle on the Roof” later this month. (Photo contributed)

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Maverick Theatre Company and the Department of Music will present the Broadway musical sensation, “Fiddler on the Roof,” Feb. 27 through March 3 in the Mainstage Theatre.

The classic play is directed by Dr. Anne Healy, Senior Lecturer of Theatre Arts. Dr. Soo Hong Kim, Associate Professor of Voice serves as music director, and Dr. Clifton Evans, Associate Professor of Music, is the performance conductor.

Rich in historical detail, “Fiddler on the Roof” has touched audiences around the world with its humor, warmth and honesty. The universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness. The story takes place in the little village of Anatevka, and features Tevye, a poor dairyman, who tries to instill in his five daughters the traditions of his tight-knit Jewish community in the face of changing social mores. The musical’s celebrated score includes “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man” and “Matchmaker.”

“One of the reasons that ‘Fiddler’ continues to resonate with audiences is that it deals with universal themes of family, home, community, segregation, fear and bigotry,” Healy said. “For as complex as this world has become, humans continue to deal with and work through these issues that cut to the very core of our existence.”

Healy said the UT Arlington production incorporates puppetry as a “heightened means of commenting on several of the social issues.” It’s just one of several challenges the director and her production team face.

“The biggest challenges regarding ‘Fiddler’ are inherent in the complexity of the art form,” she said. “Any time we integrate acting, singing and dancing we also increase the number of artist both onstage and behind the scenes. Each discipline works independently in other circumstances, but is asked to work collaboratively in musical theatre. It’s both exciting and challenging!”

“Fiddler on the Roof” features UT Arlington student actors: Jonathan Crawford (BFA in Theatre Performance, Junior) as Tevye, and Kimber Carter (BM in Music, Junior) as his wife, Golde. Tevye and Golde’s daughters are portrayed by Ashley Clyde (BM in Music, Sophomore) as Tzeitel, Molly Dobbs (BFA in Theatre Performance, Senior) as Hodel, Bridie Marie Corbett (BFA in Theatre Performance, Senior) as Chava, Nancy Lopez (BM in Music, Junior) as Shprintze, and Chelsea Hollenbeck (BFA in Theatre Performance, Sophomore) as Bielke. Rounding out the cast is Joshua Eguia (BFA in Theatre Performance, Senior) as Motel, Joseph Lee (BA in Theatre Arts, Junior) as Perhcik, Jordan Chambers (BFA in Theatre Performance, Senior) as Fyedka, Matthew Keller (BFA in Theatre Studies, Junior) as Lazar Wolf, Emily Burgardt (BFA in Theatre Arts Performance, Sophomore) as Yente, Miranda Culp (Music Intended, Sophomore) as Fruma-Sarah, Elia Maria Madrid-Onofre (BFA in Theatre Arts Performance, Junior) as Grandma Tzeitel, Dale Shelton (BA in Theatre Arts, Junior) as Mordcha, Devon Mowrey (BA in Theatre Arts, Junior) as the Rabbi, Robert Bell (BFA in Theatre Arts, Senior) as the Constable, Marcos Villegas (BFA in Theatre Arts Performance, Sophomore) as Mendel, Raul Luna (BFA in Theatre Arts Performance, Senior) as Nachum, Matt Craft (BA in Theatre Arts, Senior) as Sasha, Philippus Boshoff (University College/Theatre, Freshman) as Sergei, Ceara Taylor (BFA in Theatre Asrt Performance, Senior) as Shaindel, and Dylan Elza (University College/Music, Freshman) as Dimitri.  Also appearing in the chorus is Myke Holt, UTA College of Liberal Arts Director of Development, as Natalia. Olivia Aigbogun (BA in Theatre Arts, Senior) serves as Stage Manager.

“Fiddler” features a book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Healy said she hopes audiences connect with the musical’s universal message.

“As much as things change things are still very much the same,” she said. “We still value family, community and home.”

Performances are Feb. 27, 28 and March 1, 2 at 8 p.m., and March 3 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general public, and $9 for senior citizens, students, and UTA faculty and staff. The UT Arlington Mainstage Theatre (Fine Arts Building, North Section, Room 174) is located at 700 Greek Row Drive on the UT Arlington campus

For tickets/reservations, group rates, or further information, please contact the UTA Department of Theatre Arts Box Office at (817) 272-2669.

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