Whether you have seen “Fiddler on the Roof” several times or have never seen it at all, you will want to catch this heartwarming production at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. which opens Tuesday, December 10 and plays through Sunday, December 15, 2019. The original show opened in 1964, created by Joseph Stein, and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. This revival is directed by Bartlett Sher and choreographed by acclaimed Israeli choreographer, Hofesh Schechter and inspired by the original choreography of the great Jerome Robbins with musical direction by Ted Sperling.
“Fiddler on the Roof” was the first musical to have over 3000 performances after winning best musical and eight other Tony Awards. Zero Mostel created the role of Tevye in the initial Broadway production and later revisited the role in a subsequent revival in the 1970s.
“Fiddler on the Roof” tells the story of a poor dairyman, Tevye, his wife, Golde and their three coming of age daughters. The music has become standards with songs like “IF I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “To Life (L’Chaim!)” just to name a few. It is full of wonderful choreography with roots in Russian and Jewish culture. The cast includes Israeli theatre, film and TV star Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye and Maite Uzal as Golde.
I had the chance to interview Carlye Messman who plays Mirala in the production.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your character(s)?
My character’s name is Mirala and I am part of the female ensemble. I am the Rabbi’s wife and Mendel’s mother. I also understudy the Shaindel/Grandma Tzeitel track. This means that on my downtime, I have the responsibility of learning the entire show as that character as well so that if they need me to fill in at any given moment, I am able to do so.
- Can you tell us something about your own background?
I am from Easton, Pennsylvania! (Fun fact; I was actually born in Maryland and lived there for 10 years before moving to Pennsylvania) I attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York where I received my professional training certificate. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theater at the A.M.D.A campus in Los Angeles. I later spent a year and a half living in Philadelphia, working at theaters such as The Candlelight Theater in Delaware and The Walnut Street Theater. I moved back to New York, and that is now my home base.
- What is your favorite song from the show?
This is a hard question! The music in “Fiddler on the Roof” is so incredible and so iconic! If I had to choose a song, I guess I would choose “Do You Love Me?” It’s a duet sung between Tevye and Golde that is so simple yet says so much about their relationship. When they were young, they were matched together by a matchmaker. Their marriage had nothing to do with love at the time. But after 25 years and 5 children later… we see through their comic, yet truthful, banter that they have in fact come to love and care about each other. It’s beautiful and genuine!
- Is there a musical you have not done, but you would like to do?
There are so many!! I would love to perform in “Come From Away” or “Sunday In the Park with George.” I think “Elf” or “The Wedding Singer” would be a blast. Truly, the list would be too long!
- Have you seen any of Zero Mostel’s performances on YouTube or have you seen the movie or any other video of the original production on Broadway?
Yes! I have seen the movie and have watched clips of the original Broadway production. Before rehearsals started, I wanted to get myself immersed in the world of Fiddler on the Roof and both proved to be beneficial in different ways, in addition to a lot of reading and research. And then, of course, I watched a good amount of the 2015 Broadway revival since that is the version of the show, we are currently touring. We actually used clips of the revival in rehearsal to help us with the staging and pacing of the show.
“Fiddler on the Roof” runs from Tuesday, December 10 until Sunday, December 15, 2019, at the National Theatre. For tickets online. For information on “Fiddler on the Roof” and for information on upcoming shows go to The National Theatre website. The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.