CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Hendrick Hudson High School students in the spring production of “Fiddler On The Roof” say they’re not only learning about acting, singing and dancing, but they are also gaining a deep insight into social issues facing the world today.
The production of the Tony Award-winning musical starts with a free dress rehearsal open to senior citizens at 4 p.m. Feb. 28 with shows running from March 1 to March 3.
“Fiddler On The Roof” centers around a Jewish family living in Russia in 1905. To teach the students about the show's context, co-directors Suzanne Schneider and Paula Correale brought in historical experts and others knowledgeable about the time. The extra lessons have paid off for the students, Schneider said.
“It’s such a great mix of humor and sadness and incredible pathos and unbelievable reality that I think students need to know about,” Schneider said during rehearsal Thursday. “I’m Jewish, and I have a lot of history with what goes on in the show. I’ve shared my story with them, and I think they’ve appreciated that this is real. They are very insightful, smart kids who really seem to get it.”
Students and adults who see the show are also likely to gain a new perspective, senior Sara Ann Duffy said.
“I feel like this show itself is a journey that is so emotional, and it’s really up and down,” she said. “I think it’s relevant to our generation, and I think it’s been eye-opening to see how it relates to outside life.”
For senior Noah Ruff, who plays the lead character of Tevye, the musical gives deeper insight into humanity than other shows.
“I think it’s really relevant to today because we’re in a period of time where there’s a lot of rapid change politically, culturally and socially and that’s what’s happening in the show,” Ruff said. “I think the show does a very good job of showing the humanity of both sides of that conflict. Even the people who you don’t like or are your enemies are still people.”
Sophomore Roxanne Arecco, who plays Chava, agreed.
“I think that when you learn about the different cultures coming together and hearing they don’t like each other, you don’t think about it,” she said. “But in learning about it, you see how it caused problems in areas you wouldn’t think would be possible.”
The talented cast members help deliver the show’s message, said Junior Elijah Shaheen, who plays Motel Kamzoil.
“It’s such a great show, and I’ve always wanted to do a show like this that gets into those real changes,” Shaheen said. “I’m happy to be a part of this and act with some of the best actors in the whole world.”
Tickets for the show are $15 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children under 10. To buy reserved seats, go to showtix4u.com. For more information, call 257-5182.