homepage logo

MAPA to stage ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

By Staff | Feb 20, 2014

Gary Shin-Leavitt plays Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” PHOTO BY JACK GRACE.

WAILUKU – Tickets are selling quickly for MAPA’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” playing Feb. 21 to March 16 in the intimate Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

From the company that staged the smash hit “Les Miserables” last summer, “Fiddler on the Roof” follows the story of Tevye, a poor milkman in 1905 Russia.

His five strong-willed daughters test the limits of Teyve’s faith and commitment to his traditional cultural values. Just like a fiddler on the roof, Tevye and his family live in a world off-balance – a vulnerable world disintegrating under the weight of sweeping social change and political and economic oppression in a country on the brink of revolution.

Although the story is set in Russia, the musical is so deeply ingrained in American culture, particularly American Jewish culture, that even if you’ve never seen the musical or the 1971 film, you probably feel like you have.

Many of the songs from the musical have become icons, such as “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker,” “If I were a Rich Man” and “Tradition.”

Howard Taubman of the New York Times called the play “one of the most glowing creations in the history of the musical theater.”

Director David C. Johnston, who also directed “Les Miserables,” said he chose to do “Fiddler on the Roof” because he believes this timeless story has a particularly important message for us now, as we navigate the fast-paced changes in our constantly shifting world.

“The best theatre creates a shift in the way we think and feel about our own lives,” said Johnston. “Fiddler inspires us to explore how to maintain our balance amidst this change without sacrificing our core beliefs. This show has a beautiful duality: the characters’ joy for life comes through in the comedy and dancing. But there is also a deep undercurrent of sadness that emerges as they say goodbye to the life they know in Anatevka. Ultimately it’s a story about hope and the jubilant resiliency of the human spirit.”

Johnston and Set Designer Caro Walker have altered the layout of MAPA’s Steppingstone Playhouse for this production to a theatre-in-the-round configuration. With audience seated on all four sides of the stage and additional playing areas for the actors inside the audience sections, the separation between actor and audience is blurred.

Veteran actor Gary Shin-Leavitt plays Tevye, heading up a professional-caliber cast that also includes Peggy Harmon coming out of retirement from her Broadway career to play Golde, Leighanna Locke as Tzeitel and Carolyn Wright as Yente the Matchmaker. In addition to Johnston and Walker, the artistic team includes Andre Morissette (choreographer), Cheryl Lindley (music director), Kathleen Schulz (costume designer), Kai Johnson (lighting designer) and Lina Krueger (stage management).

Growing in popularity over the past year with all of MAPA’s shows is a program called AfterWords (post-show talk story sessions with the director and cast). AfterWords for “Fiddler on the Roof” will immediately follow the Sunday matinees on March 2 and 9. AfterWords is free of charge.

“Fiddler on the Roof” runs Feb. 21 to March 16 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $22 for seniors and $18 for students (18 and under). Tickets are available at www.mauiacademy.org or by calling (808) 244-8760.