NFA Playshop stages 'Fiddler on the Roof'
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Tue., May. 24, 2011
A cast of 34 student actors brought the tiny village of Anatevka to the heart of Norwich May 20 and 21 with Norwich Free Academy’s Playshop production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
The classic musical, written by Joseph Stein and based on the tales of Jewish storyteller Sholem Aleichem, centers around Tevye (portrayed by Eric Barlow), an impoverished but devoutly religious milkman who lives in a small village in pre-revolutionary Russia. As he scrapes out a living for his wife and family, he must also contend with the challenge of marrying off his five daughters, whose dreams of marrying for love conflict with Tevye’s long-cherished traditions. Tevye must also confront the forces of prejudice and revolution that will soon drive him and his neighbors from their beloved village.
Playshop advisor and drama coach Patrick Barry, who directed the production, said that the larger-than-expected audience turnout led to running out of programs for both performances. “It was definitely a surprise, and very nice,” he said. “We had a bigger turnout than we’ve had in three years.”
Barry said that Playshop, an after-school activity at NFA, doesn’t always draw the same core of students. “There are a few kids I have known for a couple of years, but we tried to get a lot of new kids involved,” he said. “We were especially trying to recruit guys. A lot of kids in ‘Fiddler’ were new. A lot of them had never been on stage before, and I’m really proud of them for taking the risk.”
While Playshop stages three productions a year (a fall comedy, a winter drama and a spring musical), changes in NFA faculty led to the cancellation of last year’s musical. “So we were even more excited to do a musical again this year,” said Barry, who has been Playshop’s advisor for three years. “It turned out really well.” A 15-piece orchestra, which included 10 NFA students and several recent alumni, accompanied the performances.