A Christian-based theatre company is partnering with a local synagogue to present one of musical theatre’s most beloved shows in Halifax. Annapolis Valley based St. Joseph’s Stage Prophets Theatre Company in partnership with Halifax’s Beth Israel Synagogue will present its production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Spatz Theatre with three shows on November 2-3. Fiddler is directed by Mary Hanneman with Paula Rockwell as Musical Director.
Performances are Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 3 at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available from Ticket Halifax. Coming off a run of sold-out shows in the Valley, the production features over 40 cast members and a full pit band conducted by Dr. David Roe.
Fiddler centres on Tevye, a poor dairy farmer who with the help of a colourful and tight-knit Jewish community tries to protect and instill in his five daughters the traditions that have held his community together for generations. This heart-warming musical about tradition, family and faith features some of Broadways’ biggest hits: Sunrise, Sunset, Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man and Matchmaker, Matchmaker. The show has had five Broadway revivals since it opened in 1964.
Beth Israel Synagogue was formed in 1890 with only eighteen Jews, and became the focal point of Jewish life in Halifax for many years. Rabbi Yakov Kerzner said: “Our synagogue is excited to partner with St. Joseph’s Stage Prophets to bring this excellent production to Halifax. Watching Fiddler deepened my appreciation of my own grandparents’ early life and what shaped their personalities. Our community is lucky to have such talented actors dedicated to exploring and celebrating the many different cultures in Nova Scotia. Productions such as this only strengthen the bonds among the diverse populations that have come to this region.”
Fiddler on the Roof’s universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of religion, race and class and has left audiences crying tears of sadness, laugher and joy. Set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905, Fiddler has music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein. It held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost ten years until this record was surpassed by Grease. It won nine Tony Awards and in 1971 was adapted to a highly successful film, directed and produced by Canadian Norman Jewison. Based on a series of stories by famed Jewish author Sholem Aleichem written in Yiddish between 1894 and 1914, the show became one of the first popular post-Holocaust depictions of the vanished world of Eastern European Jewry. A documentary film about the musical’s history and legacy, Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, was released in 2019; it examines the show’s “creative roots in early 1960’s New York, when “tradition” was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving.”
The St. Joseph’s Stage Prophets community theatre group has been dedicated to creating and sharing professional level live theatre in the Annapolis Valley for over fifteen years. They produce a large extravagantly staged Broadway musical every Victoria Day weekend at the Acadia University Festival Theatre in Wolfville. Past productions have included Godspell, Les Misérables, Oliver, Anne and Gilbert and many more. In 2020 the company will present the Tony award-winning musical masterpiece, Jesus Christ Superstar with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.
The 780-seat Spatz Theatre is located in Citadel High School at 1855 Trollope Street. Tickets range from $20-$30 and are available online.