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L’Chaim! This show is ‘timeless’: Broadway warhorse ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is at First Interstate Center through Sunday

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 11, 2022

It’s no secret that musicals can carry away audiences with stories and sets and music and dance. But for the performers, the cast and crew behind the scenes, it takes a special kind of show to bring them along for the ride.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is one of them. Presented by West Coast Entertainment (STCU Best of Broadway), the touring Tony Award-nominated Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” will stop in Spokane next week with performances running from Tuesday through Sunday at First Interstate Center for the Arts.

“There’s something about this show (and) I’ve heard this from every director I’ve ever talked to about it,” Troy Nickerson said. Nickerson directed “Fiddler on the Roof” with Heather McHenry Kroetch at Spokane Civic Theatre in 2014, the region’s last local production. “It’s one of those shows where the cast becomes incredibly close … it changes you.”

Prominent themes of family, faith and persecution are woven throughout the work.

“That really bonds people together,” Nickerson said. “It brings out a feeling of family, and watching my cast – it was very moving. It was just a very shared emotional journey that they came through together, and it really shows.”

Created by Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, the revival production is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I”) and choreographed by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter.

Set in the rural Russian village of Anatevka, the story follows Tevye (Yehezkel Lazarov), a poor Jewish milkman, his wife Golde (Maite Uzal) and their five daughters.

As the plot unfolds, the three eldest daughters – Tzeitel (Kelly Gabrielle Murphy), Hodel (Ruthy Froch) and Chava (Noa Luz Barenblat) – find love in increasingly difficult-to-accept relationships and marry. All the while, behind this series of family dramas, a darker theme emerges as the Jewish residents of Anatevka face being forced to leave their homes.

A tale of hardship, love, life and laughter, “Fiddler on the Roof” is filled with Broadway hits like “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Tradition.”

“But it’s not just the music and the songs that we love,” Nickerson said. “The story is so strong and, partially, because we still have the same struggle today. There’s still bigotry and persecution, and it’s still a conversation that we have. And in that way, it’s timeless.”

Premiering originally in 1964, “Fiddler on the Roof” won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical and was the first musical in history to exceed 3,000 performances.

“It’s one of the old warhorses of Broadway,” Nickerson said. And although, before directing the Civic production, he had already seen it performed about “a million times,” the show has never lost its magic.

“I was surprised at how much it touched me and how I continued to feel moved by the story every time I saw it,” he said.

The touring revival cast also includes Andrew Hendrick as Lazar Wolf, Brooke Wetterhahn as Yente, Daniel Kushner as Motel, Solomon Reynolds as Perchik, Jack O’Brien as Fyedka and Jason Thomas Sofge as Constable.

The ensemble includes Danny Arnold, Nick Berke, Andrea Marie Bush, Morgan Cohen, David Scott Curtis, Eddieomar Gonzalez-Castillo, Ansley Grace Hamilton, Jenna Harwood, Jonathan Hashmonay, Elliot Lazar, Randa Meierhenry, Carlye Messman, Ali Arian Molaei, Jacob Nahor, Max O’Connell, Honza Pelichovsky, Carly Post, Lauren Blair Smith, Alex Stone, Rosie Webber, Scott Willits and Audrey Rose Young.

For tickets and more information, visit broadwayspokane.com.

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