A troupe of Marion High School students will summon comedic and dramatic talents when they perform “Fiddler on the Roof” at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14 at USD 408 Performing Arts Center.
The classic musical features many recognizable songs, including, “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”
The main action centers on Tevye, (Adam Kjellin) a father of five daughters who attempts to maintain his religious and cultural traditions as outside influences invade his family’s lives.
“It’s about a man and his family in a tight-knit Jewish community in 1905 at the beginning of the anti-Semitism in Russia,” director Janet Killough said. “I think the universal theme of tradition is something that we’re all familiar with.”
Tevye must cope with the edict of a tsar that evicts the Jews from their village and with the strong-willed actions of his three oldest daughters, who wish to marry for love. Each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of Jewish faith.
Kjellin will have multiple monologues throughout the story that reveal his inner thoughts to the audience as he wrestles with a changing world, Killough said.
“During practice the kids asked, ‘Why is Tevye so against change?’” Killough said. “I told them, ‘Well, think about it. What would you say if they told you there would be no homecoming this year?’” They said, ‘You can’t do that. It’s tradition.’”
She said “Fiddler on the Roof” is different from productions performed in recent years because some cast members need to portray a wide range of emotions.
“It has a deep meaning to it,” Killough said. “People will laugh and experience joy and feel great sadness.”
She said the cast has taken a liking to the heavy subject material.
“They like the drama because it is more of a challenge for them to make the audience cry than it is to make people laugh,” Killough said. “I think there will be some tears by the end, but there is an underlying message of hope.”
Senior Katie Nordquist plays Tevye’s wife, Golde, while seniors Shyla Harris, Elizabeth Meyer, and Bailey Robson play the couple’s three eldest daughters beset-upon by the love of impassioned suitors.
John Lind, Alli Boyd, Emily Schneider, and Matthew Baker are other seniors in the cast. Regardless of their characters, Killough said all seniors have played integral roles in not only the production, but also in leadership, and grooming younger cast members for next year.
“This year we are losing a lot of seniors,” Killough said. “Many of them have been instrumental in all the plays and active in music and forensics. We have many good underclassmen learning what it takes to put on a production. The seniors’ positive leadership has been appreciated. It helps perpetuate the program.”
She said everyone on the cast and crew has worked hard to make the production come together, even with schoolwork and other extracurricular activities.
“Sometimes the musical gets overshadowed by things like athletics, but these kids put their heart and soul into every production,” Killough said. “It’s sort of a gift they give the community. I know they will do great.”
Tickets are $5 at the door on Nov. 13 and 14, but discount tickets are available prior to the production for $2 for children 12 and under and $3 for adults at County Seat Decorating in Marion.
Killough said most of the cast would also perform “Sabbath Prayer,” a song from the musical, Sunday at Marion Presbyterian, Marion Christian, Valley United Methodist, and Eastmoor United Methodist churches.