Family, tradition take stage

Pasadena troupe to open new home with `Fiddler on the Roof'



If a Baltimore-based troupe hadn't snagged the name in 1916, Pasadena Theatre Company might more aptly be called the Vagabond Players.

The nomadic group will open its new season next month with Fiddler on the Roof at Annapolis Area Christian School's Kerr Performing Arts Center in Severn - by rough count, its 13th home.

Founded in 1978, the group first performed in the old A&P building on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie. President Sharon Steele said it moved to the Old Mill school complex in Millersville, then to Glen Burnie High School, Northeast High School in Pasadena, St. Bernadette Parish in Severn, and Baldwin Hall in Millersville. Later locations included the Community Center in Severna Park, the Humanities Hall at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park, Carroll Baldwin Hall in Savage and the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie.

After hearing about the availability of the Annapolis Area Christian School facility, Steele contacted the school. She said she "was in shock to find their staff happy to speak with me about our coming to do shows there."

"We are truly honored to have worked out a partnership and be part of such a fine group of caring, supportive individuals who seem to understand what our needs are as a theatrical company," Steele said.

She hopes to include AACS drama students in future productions with Pasadena, the first resident theater company at the arts center.

Steele, who has been with Pasadena Theatre Company since 1979, and Chuck Dick, a member since 1987, when he was cast in an earlier Fiddler as Tevye, seem equally enthusiastic about this Fiddler.

The show was her late mother's favorite, Steele said. Steele recalled that a few months before her mother's death in December, her mother said, "The only show I want you to do again and hope to see before I die is Fiddler on the Roof. That's the best thing you ever did."

Steele plans to dedicate a performance to her mother's memory.

At Saturday's rehearsal, Dick said that this musical "shows the unity of the family and love of tradition. In playing Tevye, the idea is to make the layers of meaning clear that are found in religion and family traditions."

A cast of 55 was chosen from the 111 people who auditioned for the show.

Opening on Broadway in September 1964 with Zero Mostel as Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof won nine Tony awards. In 1971, it became a film starring Chaim Topol as Tevye. Other well-known actors who've played Tevye include Herschel Bernardi, Theodore Bikel and most recently in 2004, Harvey Fierstein.

Set in 1905 czarist Russia, the story centers on Tevye's trying to maintain family and religious traditions against outside pressures. Each of his five daughters grows up to select her own husband - actions that flaunted Orthodox Jewish tradition.

The score includes "Tradition," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Matchmaker" and "If I Were a Rich Man."

For the Pasadena Theatre Company's version, Steele serves as producer and Dick directs as well as stars as Tevye. Tom Jackson serves as music director. Christy Stouffer does double duty as choreographer and Tevye's wife, Golde.

The roles of the five daughters are double-cast with Christa Ladny and Jessica Maiuzzo playing eldest daughter Tzeitel, Victoria Ristaino and Olivia Ercolano playing Hodel, Camela Ebaugh and Kerry Cornelius playing middle daughter Chava, Alex Crilly and Marisa Balatico playing Shprintze, and Carly Snyder and Maddie Dwivedi playing youngest daughter Bielke.

Logan Marston plays Motel, Mark Tyler is Perchik, Vincent Van Joolen is Lazar Wolf, Peter Crilly is Mordcha, Greg Coale is the Rabbi, Matt Magayna is Mendel and Ed Wintermute is Avrahm the bookseller.

The musical will run from Sept. 8 to 24 at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with matinees at 3 p.m. Sundays and one matinee Sept. 16. Tickets cost $12, or $10 for students and children, and can be ordered online at www.pasadenatheatrecompany .com. The Kerr Performing Arts Center is at 109 Burns Crossing Road.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.