A+E: Bosco Theatre Company Closes Season With Five Sellout Performances Of Fiddler On The Roof
by Brett Baligad, Senior Editor
Over the past two weekends, the St. John Bosco Theatre Company hosted their final production of the year, Fiddler on the Roof. With five out of the seven performances selling out, this production is the highest grossing show in Bosco history, while also being one of the most acclaimed shows ever produced by the company.
Directed by Mr. Martin Lang, Fiddler on the Roof is a Broadway classic following an early twentieth century Jewish community in the town of Anatevka, Ukraine. The heartfelt musical focuses on characters created by Yiddish author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, specifically Tevye, a poor dairyman played by senior Connor Sheehan, and his wife Golde, played by senior Eva Sadler, who are trying to navigate raising their five daughters while upholding Jewish traditions in an increasingly antagonistic world.
Debuted in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof stood as one of the longest running Broadway musicals in history with over 3,000 performances in the sixties. Along with its historic initial run, the original Broadway production was nominated for ten Tony Awards, with its revivals receiving several more Tony nominations.
Performing such an iconic musical is not common for the Bosco Theatre Company. However, the cast was eager to take on the project with great success.
“This is the first big show we have done since the pandemic, and it was time to produce something on a large scale again,” said Mr. Lang. “While I have directed Fiddler on the Roof in the professional world, I have not directed it for high school. It is a difficult undertaking, but I felt we had the right people to do it.”
A large reason for this production was the cultural relevance of Fiddler on the Roof. The play takes place in Ukraine and demonstrates similar elements to the current political turmoil presented in Russia’s invasion of the country, as the Jewish community in Anatevka must coexist with the rising Russian Revolution. Additionally, the production solemnly shows the persecution of Jewish culture in heartbreaking contrast to the warm, bright community of Anatevka. To put elements like these on display meant a lot to Mr. Lang and the cast as a whole.
“Anything that is art concerns the human spirit. Theatre and this story offer a glimpse into a group of people who were persecuted and singled out in a specific time in the history of the world and in a specific place, Ukraine,” said Mr. Lang. “It is my great hope that high school students, who are the future citizens of the world, see this story and that it might speak to them in a way that encourages them to speak and act out against any kind of hatred, bias or persecution.”
Even with a political message, Fiddler on the Roof is no short of a fun sing along musical. A large component of the musical is the comic acknowledgement of the extreme traditions of the people of Anatevka. Along with this, the play joyfully demonstrates Jewish culture and practices through its classic musical numbers. Lastly, Fiddler on the Roof displays the strong family values and devotion to God within the Jewish faith.
Bosco’s rendition of Fiddler on the Roof is chalk full of actors with experience, as nine seniors made appearances throughout the play. This is evident through the many familiar faces, such as seniors Kate Sheehan, Alex Palmer and Jack Scalas all playing memorable love interests through the course of the musical.
“With such a large cast we knew it would take all of us to make this production a success. Mr. Lang can’t do it alone and a lot of the responsibilities fell upon the seniors. I felt they held us to a high standard and raised the bar for our overall performance,” said junior Grant Hidalgo-Villanueva.
Overall, the two weekends proved to be a large success. With five sellout nights for Fiddler on The Roof, it will be regarded as one of Bosco’s most noteworthy productions, rivaling other classics like Ragtime, West Side Story and Sweeney Todd.
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The professional orchestra, conducted by Bosco’s own Director of Music, Ramon Villanueva, and including trombonist and Bosco alumnus Hugh Findley ‘16, was an outstanding complement to the strong voices in the cast.