‘Fiddler on the Roof’ will be performed at West Branch High School
It’s “A Tradition” that the music department at West Branch puts on professional quality shows year after year. Ironically, Fiddler on the Roof, the show chosen for this winter musical, also focuses on the underlying theme of tradition. Just like Tevye, the leading role father of five young daughters tries to bestow the traditions of his faith and family. The West Branch Music Department director, John Zamarelli, is instilling the tradiitional musical theatre concepts in the cast of students currently putting on a show in the face of the worldwide pandemic. Do rehearsals look different? Yes. Will the audience be smaller? Yes. Are masks being worn throughout rehearsals? Yes. What won’t change? The passion and expertise Zamarelli brings to the students and the stage in this small rural community mesmerized by the tradition of excellence always seen and heard in the musicals on the West Branch stage.
As the musical begins, Tevye, a Jewish milkman, sings of the customs in the little Russian town of Anatevka. It is 1905, and life here is as precarious as a fiddler on the roof; yet, through their traditions, the villagers endure. At Tevye’s house, his wife, Golde, and their five daughters prepare for Sabbath dinner when Yente, the town’s matchmaker, arrives. She tells Golde she has a possible match for Tzeitel, their eldest daughter. However, Tzeitel has already secretly pledged her love to Motel Kamzoil, a tailor, who has yet to find the courage to ask Tevye for her hand. But, when Lazar Wolf, a wealthy butcher, later reveals he is the match, Tevye (even though he dislikes Lazar Wolf) agrees, knowing that his daughter will never starve.
The following day, Tzeitel and Motel plead with Tevye to rethink her marriage arrangement to Lazar Wolf, and to consider Motel instead. Tevye eventually agrees but must convince Golde. He creates a story where Golde’s grandmother and Lazar Wolf’s late wife appear to him in a dream and threaten to curse Tzeitel if she marries Lazar Wolf. Golde believes this is a sign and agrees to the new match. Tzeitel and Motel are married in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.
Meanwhile, Tevye’s second daughter, Hodel, has fallen in love with Perchik, a student. They break tradition by telling Tevye they love each other and will be married, asking only for his blessing and not his permission. This causes Tevye and Golde to contemplate their own marriage and love for each other after twenty-five years.
Weeks pass, and Tevye’s third daughter, Chava has fallen in love with a Russian villager, Fyedka. However, marrying outside the Jewish faith is unacceptable to Tevye, and he forbids her to see him again. The next day, Chava and Fyedka secretly elope, and Chava is disowned by her family.
The fear of the Russian revolution, which has been simmering throughout the play, finally boils over when the Russian constable tells all the Jewish villagers they must
pack up and leave Anatevka. Everyone prepares to leave, and Chava and Fyedka come to say goodbye and make peace. Tevye refuses to look at her, but has Tzeitel wish her well before they all depart, the fiddler playing as they exit.
Starring in the ever popular role of Tevye is senior Cullen McKay. Cullen is the son of Victor and Lisa McKay, and he enjoys participating in the music program at West Branch. He is currently studying electricity at MCCTC and plans to become a certified electrician upon graduation. Many may recognize him from the February 2020 production of Annie where Cullen portrayed the bald powerhouse, Daddy Warbucks. Junior, Julia Zamarelli, will portray the part of Golde Tevye’s wife. Julia is the daughter of John and Jennifer Zamarelli. She enjoys participating in the West Branch music program and also serves as our junior drum major for the Marching Band. Julia has been a part of many West Branch productions throughout her life , and she is so excited to be bringing the character of Golde to life. Rounding out the rest of the cast is senior Gabby Harrison as Tzeitel. Gabby is the daughter of Dave and Crystal Harrison and is a member of the show choir and majorette squad. Gabby is a 4.0 student and has performed in all the musicals since her freshman year. Junior, Jillian Zamarelli the daughter of John and Jennifer Zamarelli, is playing the part of Hodel. Jillian is also a member of the show choir and majorette squad. She was last seen in our production of Annie as Grace Farrell. The part of Chava will be portrayed by senior Macey Stancato. Macey is a member of the show choir and the majorette squad as well. She is also in the top ten and excels at dancing and academics. Other main cast members include senior Danny Harrison daughter of David and Crystal Harrison as Yente the matchmaker. Danny is in the show choir and plays 1st chair trumpet in all the bands. She excels in academics and carries a 4.0 average. Sophomore Croesus Brock, son of Christopher and Coria Brock, portrays Motel the Tailor. Croesus is in the show choir and excels at academics and musical theater. Junior, Kyle Hoopes will play the part of Perchick and is the son of Kevin and Michelle Hoopes. Kyle is in band, show choir, cross country and has been in many shows at West Branch and Stage Left Players in Lisbon. Sophomore Devin McKean will be playing the part of Fyedka the Russian soldier. Devin is the son of Jessica Luzader and Scott McKean. He is in the show choir and has participated in various shows at West Branch. Middle School students Alaina Schluneker, daughter of Angela and Robert Schluneker and Sutton Clay, daughter of Corey and Krista Clay will be playing the parts of Shprintze and Bielke, respectively. Close to Fifty other students round out the choruses of papas, mamas, sons and daughter and include:
Cullen McKay, Jacob Brooks, Owen Hoopes, Ben Sparks, Parker Derry, Peyton Clarkson, Xavier Burkhart, Gaige Burkhart, Andrew Phillips, Christian Mikol & Mason Brown SONS: Croesus Brock, Devin McKean, Peter Blanchard, James Fitzsimmons, Craig Brown, David Peterson & Kyle Hoopes
MAMA’S :Julia Zamarelli, Amber Caruthers, Niah Muniz, Allyson Hartzell, Lydia Bates, Emma Kosenski, Kate Slutz, Katie Kent, Danny Harrison, Ella Scofinsky, Klary McKay, Maddie Davis, Morgan Brown & Isabella Hall
Sophie Harper, Kylee Moreland, Elizabeth McCune, Gabby Harrison Macey Stancato, Jocelyn Woods, Kiersten Hoffman, Jillian Zamarelli, Hannah Jones, Mayze Leask, Ariana Aldridge, Alaya Kiser, Haley Close, Charity Glista, Eris Dugan,Ava Parris & Liana Gabrelcik
The cast and crew of Fiddler on the Roof! includes over sixty students and volunteers. Audience members will love the popular songs from the show which include : “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Tradition,” “Sunrise Sunset” and “To Life”. Characters that perform solos in the musical have been coached by local voice teacher Bill Ambert. Music director and artistic director John Zamarelli and student director Macey Stancato have worked very hard on the musical numbers. Dance coordinator, Tessa Wells, has transformed the stage into a whirlwind of energy and has taught the students an array of stage movements, gymnastic feats and all styles of traditional dance steps.
The costumes, designed by the students and seamstress Nancy Hughes, are very true to the historical time period. Crews of parents have been working to complete them for the past two months. The set designed and built by Joe Courtwright is exquisite and fits the needs of the production’s scenes and musical numbers. Kevin Hoopes, the artistic designer, brings the audience to various scenes in a Jewish village of Russia. The talented set and painting crews have been working on the set for several weeks. Some parents and community members have been working late into the evenings to finish what might be called a theatrical “work of art”.
The technical directors for the show are Eric Waggoner and Victor Trimmer. They will be running 36 wireless microphones and making sure all the special effects are executed as planned. Special effects include the use of smoke machines and high tech lighting. Over 50 hours was spent setting over two hundred light cues that are required by the production.
Fiddler on the Roof will be an incredible production. The show will run Friday, February 26th at 7:30pm, Saturday, February 27th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm and Sunday, February 28th at 2:00pm. All seats are reserved and socially distanced. Masks must be worn to cover both the nose and mouth at all times within the venue, and as per CDC guidelines, audience temperatures will be taken upon entry. There are only 130 tickets available for each show to allow for social distancing. If there is a need, another performance may be added on Sunday night February 28th at 7:30. Tickets are only available at http://wbmusic.org and cannot be purchased at the school or at the door. Adult tickets are $12 and senior citizen and student tickets are $10.