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Thursday September 18th 2014

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A Tale of Tradition

Broadway in Pensacola Series Presents “Fiddler on the Roof”
By Jennie McKeon

Maybe you can’t do the bottle dance or belt out “Tradition,” but you can be a part of “Fiddler on the Roof”—in the audience, that is.

For one night only, the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof” will be in Pensacola Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

“‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is a timeless, classic tale that people all over the world can relate to,” said Kathy Summerlin, marketing director for the Saenger Theatre, in an e-mail interview. “The Broadway performances at the Saenger Theatre are top-notch, quality entertainment.”

“Fiddler on the Roof” comes to Pensacola as part of the Broadway in Pensacola Series. The star of the show is John Preece who plays Tevye. This is Preece’s ninth national tour with “Fiddler on the Roof”; he has been in the musical over 3,100 times and within more than 1,500 of those performances he has played Tevye.

“He’s pretty much fallen into my body,” said Preece about the character Tevye. “I’ve done it enough that he’s become a pretty big part of me. Tevye is the best written role for a male in musical theatre.”

Traveling with the show for as long as he has, Preece doesn’t feel pressure about performing in Pensacola for only one night.

“It’s consistently a good show,” said Preece. “We do the best we can every night.”

The play follows traditional Tevye as he watches his daughters grow up and fall in love. Each daughter defies the traditional arranged marriage either by marrying the poor tailor or telling her father who she will marry or even by falling in love with a Russian gentile. Every time, the end result is the same: Tevye’s love for his daughters overcomes his stubborn traditions. The play’s constant themes are both tradition and change, which are relevant today.

“All of the things happening in this play are happening today,” Preece said. “It’s a story that will last forever.”

Not only is it still relevant, but it’s a classic that is loved by everyone. It’s a tale that everyone in the family can enjoy.

“My favorite part of the play is the song ‘Tradition,’” Summerlin said. “It’s a lot about what the play is all about: the Jewish life and their traditions and family bonds. Every family has its own traditions and with the holidays coming up, traditions are very important for our family.”

“You learn about the Jewish people and that period of time,” Preece said of the play. “It’s a great show. You go through every emotion.”

Joseph Stein, the Tony award-winning playwright behind “Fiddler on the Roof,” recently passed away at the age of 98. Now, more than ever, the play is a tribute to him and the everlasting story of tradition and family.

“If anybody hasn’t seen the show on stage, I encourage them to come out,” Preece said. “It’s going to be an excellent show.”

SAENGER THEATRE PRESENTS “FIDDLER ON THE ROOF”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13
WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox Place
COST: $38-$58
DETAILS: pensacolasaenger.com