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Fiddler on the Roof

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Fiddler on the Roof

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of an American classic! More than just a poor milkman, Tevye is a humble Jewish father who finds his devotion to God severely tested by his headstrong daughters, who want to be their own matchmakers, and the increasingly ruthless government forcing him from his land. With a jubilant and masterful score including “If I Were a Rich Man;” “Sunrise, Sunset;” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Tradition,” Tony nominee Jonathan Hadary makes his Arena debut as Tevye in this celebration of family, community and life’s unexpected miracles, large and small.

Molly Smith by Tony Powell


“I love Fiddler. I grew up with this music and it was such an integral part of my family that it became part of our own tradition. It’s the concept of tradition and specifically changing tradition that is such an exciting, contemporary idea to me. I can’t wait to introduce this perfect American musical to young people who can carry on its music and its message for another 50 years.” –Molly Smith

Fiddler on the Roof is generously sponsored by Altria.
Additional support is provided by AT&T, Geico, Mr. & Mrs. Edward A. Burka, Charlotte & Hubert (Hank) Schlosberg, and the William S. Abell Foundation.

Win a wedding


ALEX ALFEROV (Fiddler) is making his debut at Arena Stage. Other D.C. appearances include Noah in The Thrush and the Woodpecker at Source Festival, Buddy in Come Blow Your Horn at American Century Theater, Ernst in Spring Awakening at The Keegan Theatre and Adam in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] at Olney Theatre Center. Alex is a recent graduate of The Catholic University of America.

ANN ARVIA (Golde) is honored to be making her Arena Stage debut in the same show that began her career. Washington audiences also saw her at the National Theater in Les Misérables. On Broadway, she played the iconic Bird Woman in Mary Poppins, Madame Thenardier in Les Misérables and appeared in Beauty and the Beast. Off-Broadway saw her as Mrs. Carmody in the New York premiere of Time and Again at MTC. Ann also toured extensively in both Les Misérables and Ragtime. She most recently played the historic Goodspeed Opera House as Meg in Damn Yankees and Marie in The Most Happy Fella and has appeared across the country in roles from Rose (Gypsy) to the Mother Abbess (The Sound of Music).

SHAYNA BLASS (Shprintze) is so ecstatic to be making her Arena Stage debut! She was last seen as Yentl in Yentl at Theater J. Other D.C. credits include Izzy in Rabbit Hole, Lulu in Cabaret and Logainne in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Keegan Theatre; Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical at Imagination Stage; Molly in Uses of Enchantment at Source Theatre; Jenny in Big Nate at Adventure Theatre; and Ensemble in Rocky Horror Picture Show and Ruth u/s in Tribes at Studio Theatre. She holds a BA in theater from American University. In her next performance, Shayna can be seen in Cabaret at Signature Theatre.

KURT BOEHM (Fyedka) returns to Arena Stage after previously appearing in My Fair Lady, Oklahoma! and She Loves Me. Other Washington appearances include Larry in the Helen Hayes Award-winning A Chorus Line and Mr. Gatch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Olney Theatre Center; Jerry in The Full Monty at Keegan Theatre; Jamie in The Last Five Years at Red Branch Theatre; and Lyle/Choreographer in Lyle the Crocodile at Imagination Stage. He has also performed at The Kennedy Center Gala alongside Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno, Shakespeare Theatre Company Gala honoring Elizabeth McGovern, Ford's Theatre, Signature Theatre and Adventure Theatre MTC. He has been a part of six Helen Hayes nominated casts for Outstanding Ensemble. He extends his love and gratitude to family and friends.

MAYA BRETTELL (Bielke) is thrilled to make her Arena Stage debut in Fiddler on the Roof. Previous Washington area credits include Teen Bertie in the world premiere of Beaches, the Musical at Signature Theatre; Cassidy in Appropriate at Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Girl in The Big Meal at Studio Theatre; MacDuff's daughter in Macbeth at Synetic Theatre; Echo in Eleemosynary at Compass Rose Theater; Mouse/Dish in Good Night Moon and Mary Ingalls in A Little House Christmas at ATMTC; and Annie in Annie at Toby's Dinner Theater. She was last seen onstage at the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival as Girl in Coming of Age. She can also be seen as Anne Frank in the permanent museum exhibit film Anne for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

HANNAH CORNEAU (Hodel) is making her Arena Stage debut! Hannah was last seen off-Broadway as Ethel Rosenberg in Ethel Sings: A Play at the Beckett Theatre. She has performed regionally at the Alliance Theatre and the Ahmanson Theatre where she played Ruth in Barry Manilow's new musical, Harmony. Her Chicago credits include female soloist in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Bailiwick Chicago), featured player in Annual Playwrights Festival (Victory Gardens) and Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Writer's Theatre). She is a proud graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in musical theater.

ERICK DEVINE (Lazar Wolf), for those with long memories, appeared at Arena in Merrily We Roll Along, and in D.C. in the Rose Corporation's acclaimed production of Starting Here, Starting Now. All but one of his national tours has played either the National Theatre or the Kennedy Center. Tours include Ragtime, Me and My Girl (Helen Hayes Award nomination), Grand Hotel and Annie Get Your Gun (with Cathy Rigby). Erick also toured with the Deaf West production of Big River. His Broadway credits include Ragtime, Sid Caesar & Co., Cats (first replacement to original company) and Seussical. Off-Broadway credits (all available on CD) include Enter Laughing, Anne of Green Gables and Lucky Stiff. Erick has directed Kristin Chenoweth in Candide, Kelli O' Hara in Anything Goes, Cathy Rigby in Annie Get Your Gun, Gavin MacLeod in Annie Warbucks and many others. For Jackson.

ERIC GREENGOLD (Male Swing) is honored to be performing for the first time in Washington D.C. at Arena Stage. Regional credits include White Christmas at the John W. Engeman Theater and The Producers and Mike in A Chorus Line at Palace Theater. Favorite stock performances include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Cats. Eric earned a BFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he had the pleasure of studying at the Experimental Theatre Wing and The New Studio on Broadway. He'd like to thank the entire creative team; and sends love and thanks to Mom, Dad and Wenhui for their constant support of his art, passions and dreams.

JONATHAN HADARY (Tevye) is a New Yorker with many Washington credits, among them The Little Foxes at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Matchmaker at Ford's Theatre and Wenceslas Square, Gypsy and Angels in America (Helen Hayes Award – Roy Cohn) at The Kennedy Center. Broadway credits include Awake and Sing!, Golden Boy, Spamalot, All Shook Up, Gypsy (1990 Tony nomination), As Is (Obie Award, ACE nomination) and Albert Innaurato's Gemini. His off-Broadway credits include last summer's Comedy of Errors at the Delacorte; The Destiny of Me; Assassins; Weird Romance; and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. On-screen credits include Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, the Coen brothers' Intolerable Cruelty, A Time to Kill, Private Parts and Adult Swim's The Heart, She Holler. He is a graduate of the Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda and a co-founder of the area's student-run Wildwood Summer Theatre, now in its 50th season. Jonathan used to usher at Arena Stage.

SCOTT HARRISON (Mendel) is delighted to make his Arena Stage debut. Other Washington area appearances include Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods at NextStop Theatre, Claude in Hair at UVA Drama, Enjolras in Les Misérables with the Reston Community Players, Henrik in A Little Night Music and Cliff in Cabaret with the Arlington Players, Jeff in [title of show] with the Little Theatre of Alexandria and numerous appearances with the Georgetown Gilbert and Sullivan Society (favorites include Charlie in Merrily We Roll Along and Bobby Strong in Urinetown).

TREVOR ILLINGWORTH (Ensemble) is honored to be making his Arena Stage debut with Fiddler on the Roof. No stranger to Anatevka, D.C. audiences may have seen him a few years back when the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Harvey Fierstein played the National Theatre. Originally from Irvine, California, Trevor received his BFA in musical theater from Cal State Fullerton. Additional tour credits include West Side Story, Fosse, Copacabana and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Regional credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Goodspeed Opera House), Riff in West Side Story and Prez in The Pajama Game. Over the past year, Trevor has collaborated with the Verdon/Fosse estate in reconstructing classic pieces, some of which haven't been seen for over 50 years.

VALERIE LEONARD (Yente) is pleased to return to Arena Stage, where she previously appeared in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, A Man's A Man and Theophilus North. A multiple Helen Hayes Award nominee, her D.C. area credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company (Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titus Andronicus), Signature Theatre (Sunday in the Park with George, A Fox on the Fairway), Olney Theatre Center (over 20 productions including Thérèse Raquin – Helen Hayes nomination, Copenhagen, Night of the Iguana, Jacques Brel), Rep Stage (A Lie of the Mind, Hamlet), Catalyst (The Elephant Man – Helen Hayes nomination), The Studio Theatre, Theater J and Bay Theatre (associate artist). On Broadway, Valerie appeared in Sir Peter Hall's An Ideal Husband and in two national tours as Gwendolyn Pigeon in The Odd Couple (with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor. Off-Broadway, she has performed at Signature Theatre Company, The Pearl Theatre Company and Mirror Repertory. Some of her regional credits include American Conservatory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Two River Theatre Company, Fulton Opera House and Missouri Repertory Theatre. Valerie is a proud member of Actors' Equity.

JOE MALLON (Nohum) is thrilled to be making his Arena Stage debut. Other Washington appearances include Nick O'Brien in Shear Madness at Kennedy Center; Paris in Romeo and Juliet at Folger Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Resident Play); Ray Dooley in Beauty Queen of Leenane at Round House Theatre; and Midsummer Night's Dream, Wallenstein and Coriolanus at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Other favorite regional performances include Montgomery Theater (Alan in Picnic, Peachy Weil in Last Night of Ballyhoo), Devon Theater (Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors), Theatre Horizon (Working) and the Kimmel Center (El Gallo in The Fantasticks). Joe received a BFA in acting from New York University and an MFA in acting from University of South Carolina.

JIMMY MAVRIKES (Yussel) is thrilled to be making his Arena Stage debut. Most recently Jimmy was seen as the title character in Bat Boy at 1st Stage Theatre, Tyson's Corner. Other Washington credits include Spamalot at Toby's Dinner Theatre, Pirates of Penzance with Washington Savoyards and 101 Dalmatians (workshop) at Imagination Stage, as well as several concerts at the Kennedy Center including one with John Bucchino. Regionally he has performed with Infinity Theatre Company (Arpad in She Loves Me; Sisters of Swing; Stories: Live and in Person!). Up next Jimmy will be seen at Adventure Theatre in Petite Rouge. Jimmy is a proud musical theater graduate from The Catholic University of America. Thank you to his friends and family, and to the amazing team at Arena for this dream of an opportunity.

JOSHUA MORGAN (Motel) returns to Arena Stage after performing here in Theater J's production of The Chosen. Other Washington appearances include roles at Olney Theatre Center, Theater J, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co., Folger Theater and Adventure Theatre-MTC. Regionally, Joshua has performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Triad Stage and The Riant Theatre (off-Broadway), among many others. Joshua is also the artistic director of No Rules Theatre Company ( and a proud alum of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

TRACY LYNN OLIVERA (Fruma Sarah) last appeared at Arena Stage in Damn Yankees. She was most recently seen as Electra, the pregnant stripper, in Signature Theatre's Gypsy, and has performed at Ford's Theatre (Hello, Dolly!), The Kennedy Center (Ragtime, Sunday in the Park with George), Signature Theatre (The Best Little Whorehouse, Brother Russia, Les Misérables, Company), Studio (Bachelorette), Shakespeare Theatre Company (Candide), Olney (Cinderella), MetroStage (The Last Five Years) and Rorschach. Tracy appeared in the 2009 Broadway Revival of Ragtime and has performed regionally at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (Candide). She is a graduate of Catholic University, a five time Helen Hayes Award nominee and is a teaching artist at Signature Theatre and Theatre Lab. Her debut LP, Because, is available on

JESSE PALMER (Female Swing) is very excited to be returning to the D.C. area after last being seen at Arena Stage in My Fair Lady. She is a proud graduate of Catholic University and a Maryland native! Credits include Spamalot (Ensemble, National Tour), The Visit (u/s Young Claire, Signature), The Music Man (Zaneeta, Washington Savoyards), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie Dillmount, way off-Broadway) and Grease (Frenchie, Toby's Dinner Theatre). Much love and gratitude to her big ol' family, her friends, teachers and mentors, Clear Talent, Elise and JBM. Inspired by LAA, JPT, SAB, JAW and PJP. Do what you love. Jesse is also the co-founder of Motivated Movers. Check them out at

FARRELL PARKER (Ensemble) is joyfully making her Arena Stage debut. Other performances in the D.C. area include two audience award-winning Capital Fringe Festival musicals (Superhero Celebrity Rehab and You or Whatever I Can Get); Bat Boy and Suite Surrender at 1st Stage; The Full Monty at Keegan Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble) and Dot in Sunday in the Park with George (Kensington Arts Theatre). While a student at Boston University, she appeared in The Corn is Green at the Huntington Theatre Company. Farrell is on staff at No Rules Theatre Company; a founding member of and writer for the all-female comedy group, WAIFs (Women Aren't Intelligent or Funny); and a current Digital Media graduate student at American University.

JOE PECK (Rabbi) is pleased to be returning to Arena Stage. Previously appearing at Arena in The Music Man and My Fair Lady, Joe has also appeared in productions at The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Ford's Theatre, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare Theatre Company and Olney Theatre Center, among others. On-camera projects have included House of Cards and Forensic Files. Joe performs regularly in voiceovers as a narrator and enjoys making his own music as a singer/songwriter. Songs from his first CD, Joe Peck: In the City Lights (2012, available online via, continue to be heard on independent radio stations both at home and abroad.

BARBARA PINOLINI (Shandel) is making her debut at Arena Stage in Fiddler on the Roof. Other D.C. and regional credits include Our Suburb (directed by Judith Ivey) at Theater J; All's Well That Ends Well (with Marsha Mason) at the Shakespeare Theatre Company; Elephant Man, Necessary Targets, Madwoman of Chaillot, Night of the Iguana and Venus at Olney Theatre Center; Children's Hour, Nude with Violin, Pygmalion and You Can't Take It With You at Everyman Theatre; The Diary of Anne Frank at Round House and Cumberland Theatres; Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center; Last Night of Ballyhoo and Steel Magnolias at Wayside Theatre; Blithe Spirit and The Millionairess at Washington Stage Guild; The Underpants and Lying in State at Totem Pole Playhouse and Menopause the Musical at Trinity Rep and the Hippodrome. TV credits include Veep; America's Most Wanted; PBS: Life and Death of the Federal Theatre Project; Homicide: Life on the Street and Discovery Investigation.

MARIA RIZZO (Chava) is proud and delighted to make her Arena debut. D.C. area appearances include Signature Theatre (Gypsy – Helen Hayes nomination, Spin, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Xanadu); Olney Theatre Center (Grease!); Keegan Theatre (Cabaret – Helen Hayes nomination, Sunshine Boys, Spring Awakening); Studio Theatre (Carrie); 1stStage (Bat Boy); and Toby's Dinner Theatre (Hairspray, Nunsense, Cinderella). Her university credits include Nine, Urinetown, Godspell and The Dorothy Fields Review at the Kennedy Center. Maria has a BM in music theatre from the Catholic University. She can be seen next at Signature Theatre playing Fr. Kost in Cabaret. For Dad.

MICHAEL VITALY SAZONOV (Perchik) is honored to be back at Arena Stage where he worked on The Fantasticks and Light in the Piazza. A native of Washington, some of Michael's favorite productions include Mister Roberts at the Kennedy Center; The Adventures of Homer P. Figg with the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences; Summer of '42 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Round House Theatre; and Falsettos with Ganymede Arts. Michael made his off-off-Broadway debut with Broken Watch Theatre in Michael Weller's Sex Good; Money Bad. Also in New York, he has enjoyed working with playwrights Susan Soon He Stanton and A. Rey Pamatmat at Ma-Yi Theater Company and terra NOVA Collective. Michael is currently under scholarship at West Side Dance Project and is a graduate of American University's School of International Service with a concentration on peace and conflict resolution.

KYLE SCHLIEFER (Sasha) is excited to be making his Arena Stage debut. D.C. area credits include Mike in A Chorus Line (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Resident Musical) at Olney Theatre Center, Jay in Lost in Yonkers at Theatre J, Arcadia at Folger Theatre, Barney Mackean in The Member of the Wedding at Ford's Theatre and Eric in Lord of the Flies at Round House Theatre. He was seen off-Broadway in Songs for a New World. Kyle recently originated the role of Kane in the U.S. premiere of The 8th Fold appearing in The New York International Fringe Festival. Kyle's film and TV credits include a principal role in Trident Gums "Anthem" campaign as well as John Adams (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS) and Who the Bleep Did I Marry? (ID Discovery).

DOREA SCHMIDT (Tzeitel) is delighted to be making her Arena Stage debut. Washington and Baltimore credits include Luisa in The Fantasticks, Clea in Black Comedy and Cathy in The Last 5 Years at No Rules Theatre Company; Babe in Crimes of the Heart and Cherry in The Beaux' Stratagem at Everyman Theatre; Procne in The Love of the Nightingale at Constellation Theatre Company; and Cat in Goodnight Moon at Adventure Theatre. Dorea earned her BA from Messiah College, and also studied at the National Theatre Institute and the William Esper Studio. Upcoming projects include at water's edge (written and performed by Dorea Schmidt) at No Rules Theatre Company; and Carrie in Carousel at Olney Theatre Center. She is a proud company member of NRTC and Only Make Believe.

CURTIS SCHROEGER (Ensemble/Assistant Choreographer) could not be happier to make his Arena Stage debut with this incredible company! He recently performed as the Russian tenor in Fiddler on the Roof at the Goodspeed Opera House and in the New York City Center's Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Broadway tours include Lincoln Center's South Pacific, Disney's Mary Poppins and the Topol/Harvey Fierstein tour of Fiddler on the Roof. His career highlight was performing in the opening number of 65th Tony Awards. Curtis is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association. He holds a BFA from Florida State. He'd like to thank Parker (you rock!) and Molly Smith, and sends love to his beautiful family. For the air I breathe.

THOMAS ADRIAN SIMPSON (Mordcha) returns to Arena Stage, where he was last seen as Abraham Lincoln in Mary T. & Lizzy K. Other Arena appearances include Pickering in My Fair Lady, Roy in The Light in the Piazza, The Fantasticks and The Great White Hope, among others. Tom's recent D.C. performances include The Threepenny Opera and Company at Signature Theatre; Hades in Orphie and the Book of Heroes at The Kennedy Center's Family Theatre; 1776 and Liberty Smith at Ford's Theatre and Candide and The Boys from Syracuse at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Tom's regional credits include Candide at The Goodman Theatre, Quixote in Man of La Mancha at The Wayside Theatre, Javert in Les Misérables at The Riverside Center and Outside Mullingar at New Mexico's Fusion Theatre. Tom is a graduate of U.N.C. School of the Arts.

CHRIS SIZEMORE (Constable) is excited to be making his Arena Stage debut. He has been performing in the D.C. area professionally for 11 years. Some of his favorite credits include Les Misérables (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actor and Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), Miss Saigon, Chess, Crossing, Parade, The Civil War (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble), 1776, Candide (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble) and My Fair Lady in concert featuring Jonathan Pryce and Laura Michelle Kelly. He has been seen at Signature Theatre, Ford's Theatre, Olney Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Toby's Dinner Theatre and The Kennedy Center. Chris has performed in many concerts and cabarets. Thank you to all of my family and friends for their support.

JAMIE SMITHSON (Avram) is making his Arena Stage debut. D.C. and Baltimore credits include Boeing Boeing (Robert) at No Rules Theatre; Crimes of the Heart (Barnette Lloyd) at Everyman Theatre; and Seussical, the Musical (Cat in the Hat) at Imagination Stage. Regional credits include Romeo and Juliet (Paris) and A Comedy of Errors (Pinch, Nell, Duke) at The Acting Company/Guthrie Theatre; An Evening of Short Plays (Ensemble) at The Guthrie Lab; Sandlot Ball (Josh) and Scapin (Sylvestre) at Mile Square Theatre; The Understudy (Harry), ART (Serge) and Lobby Hero (Jeff) at Crescent Stage; and A Flea in her Ear (Chandebise/Poche) and Urinetown: The Musical (Bobby Strong) at The Village Repertory Co. Jamie earned an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.


JOSEPH STEIN (Book) won the Tony Award and Drama Critics Circle Award for Fiddler on the Roof. His other musicals include Zorba (Tony Award nomination, New York Drama Critics Circle Award); Rags (Tony Award nomination); The Baker’s Wife (Laurence Olivier Award, London); Juno; Take Me Along; Irene (starring Debbie Reynolds); The King of Hearts; and So Long, 174th Street. He also co-authored, with Alan Jay Lerner, the musical Carmelina; and with Will Glickman, Mr. Wonderful (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) and Plain and Fancy. His plays are Enter Laughing, Before the Dawn and Mrs. Gibbons’ Boys. He began his career in TV and radio, writing for Sid Caesar Show, Your Show of Shows, Henry Morgan Show and many others; and for personalities including Tallulah Bankhead, Phil Silvers, Jackie Gleason and Zero Mostel. He wrote the screenplays of Enter Laughing and Fiddler on the Roof, for which he won the Screen Writers Guild Award. He also wrote the book for the musical All About Us, with a score by Kander and Ebb, based on The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, that premiered at the Westport Country Playhouse in April 2007. Joseph Stein died in 2010 at the age of 98.

JERRY BOCK (Music) was born in New Haven on November 23, 1928. Thirty years later he and Sheldon Harnick gave birth to The Body Beautiful in Philadelphia. In between was Catch a Star and Mr. Wonderful (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.). Bock and Harnick’s celebrated collaboration yielded five scores in seven years: The Body Beautiful, Fiorello (Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Tenderloin, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof (nine Tony Awards, including best Musical), The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds. In addition to the silver anniversary production of Fiddler on the Roof (from which a major excerpt was featured in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway), a highly esteemed revival of the The Rothschilds enjoyed a successful run off-Broadway. Since then, Bock and Harnick were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, received the Johnny Mercer Award from Songwriters Hall of Fame and were awarded the Spirit of American Creativity Award. But it was the award on an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Wisconsin that Bock held near and dear, for it was there that he met his wife, and it was there that he decided to be a composer. Jerry Bock died in 2010 at the age of 81.

SHELDON HARNICK’s (Lyrics) musical theater career began in the 1950’s with songs (e.g. The Boston Beguine, Merry Little Minuet) in revues on and off-Broadway. In 1957 he teamed with Jerry Bock to create the scores for a number of memorable musicals including Fiorello (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize), She Loves Me (Grammy), Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award), The Rothschilds and The Apple Tree. Other musicals include Rex (Richard Rogers), A Wonderful Life (Joe Raposo), A Christmas Carol (Michel Legrand), The Phantom Tollbooth (Arnold Black and co-librettist Norton Juster) and Dragons (for which he wrote book, lyrics and music). He contributed songs to the films The Heartbreak Kid, Blame It on Rio (Cy Coleman) and Aaron’s Magic Village (Legrand). In the world of opera, he provided librettos for Jack Beeson’s Cyrano, Dr. Heidegger’s Fountain of Youth and Thomas Z. Shepard’s Love in Two Countries. Honors include two Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, three gold records and a platinum record. He is a longtime member of the Dramatists Guild and Songwriters Guild.

JEROME ROBBINS (Choreographer/Original Director) is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production, Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director. Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At a Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world. His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996). In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins has received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. He died in 1998.

MOLLY SMITH (Artistic Director) has served as Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. since 1998. Her directing credits include Camp David, Mother Courage and Her Children, Oklahoma!, A Moon for the Misbegotten, My Fair Lady, The Great White Hope, The Music Man, Orpheus Descending, Legacy of Light, The Women of Brewster Place, Cabaret, An American Daughter, South Pacific, Agamemnon and His Daughters, Coyote Builds North America, All My Sons and How I Learned to Drive at Arena Stage. Her directorial work has also been seen at the Shaw Festival in Canada, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Centaur Theatre in Montreal and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998. Molly has been a leader in new play development for over 30 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects like How I Learned to Drive; Passion Play, a cycle and Next to Normal. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Wendy Wasserstein, Lawrence Wright, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, Eric Coble, Charles Randolph-Wright and many others. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the architecture and creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and by positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. During her time with the company, Arena Stage has workshopped more than 100 productions, produced 26 world premieres, staged numerous second and third productions and been an important part of nurturing seven projects that went on to have a life on Broadway. Molly recently made her Broadway debut directing The Velocity of Autumn, following its critically acclaimed run at Arena Stage in fall 2013.

PARKER ESSE (Choreographer) returns to collaborate on his fifth production with the brilliant Molly Smith after choreographing The Music Man (Helen Hayes nomination), critically acclaimed Oklahoma! (Helen Hayes Award), The Light in the Piazza and A Christmas Carol 1941. Also for Arena, The Mystery of Irma Vep and last season's Smokey Joe's Café. Last fall Parker choreographed A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, with music by Stephen Sondheim, starring Bernadette Peters and Norm Lewis. This was a special collaboration with New York City Center Encores! and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He also choreographed Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella and Carousel for Goodspeed and Guys and Dolls for Shaw Festival Canada, where he will return next season to choreograph Sweet Charity. Parker was the associate choreographer for Broadway's Tony-nominated Finian's Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities. Other associate director/choreographer work includes Kennedy Center, City Center Encores!, Goodspeed, Paper Mill and Asolo Rep. Parker was a featured performer in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Fosse, taped for PBS. He is currently in development with several Broadway-bound productions, including Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz and Bull Durham. His favorite credit is husband to Maria and father to Jaden!

PAUL SPORTELLI (Musical Director) returns to Arena Stage after musically directing My Fair Lady and The Light in the Piazza (Helen Hayes nomination). Paul is thrilled to work with Molly Smith again, after their collaboration on My Fair Lady and Mack and Mabel at Canada's Shaw Festival (Music Director since 1998), and is thrilled to do another Harnick and Bock musical, after doing She Loves Me (Shaw 2000). Other Shaw credits include Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along, Floyd Collins, Happy End and Sunday in the Park with George. Paul made his conducting debut on Broadway in Aspects of Love. His touring credits include Les Misérables and his Toronto credits include Miss Saigon and Beauty and the Beast. Paul is the co-writer of six musicals, two of which (Tristan and Maria Severa) premiered at Shaw and are available on iTunes.

TODD ROSENTHAL (Set Designer)'s previous Arena Stage designs include Mother Courage and Her Children, Good People, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Red. His designs for regional theaters include Steppenwolf (30 productions), Goodman (artistic partner), Guthrie, Mark Taper, La Jolla, Oregon Shakespeare, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center and many others. He has worked abroad at London's National Theatre, The Sydney Theatre in Australia and Ireland's Theater Royal. He designed six seasons for The Big Apple Circus. Honors include Tony, Laurence Olivier, Joseph Jefferson, Los Angeles Ovation, Helen Hayes and Michael Merritt Awards. Broadway credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; The Motherfucker with the Hat; August: Osage County; Of Mice and Men; This is Our Youth; and Larry David's upcoming Fish in the Dark. He was the lead designer on Mythbusters, the Explosive Exhibition and The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes (museum exhibitions). Todd teaches at Northwestern University and is a graduate of Yale Drama.

PAUL TAZEWELL (Costume Designer) is very excited to return to Arena Stage this season. Previous designs for Arena include Camp David, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Camelot (Helen Hayes Award), Guys and Dolls, The Women of Brewster Place, The Women, The African Company presents Richard III (Helen Hayes Award) and many others. Additional D.C. credits include the costumes for Sideshow and Carnival for the Kennedy Center, Showboat and Porgy and Bess at Washington National Opera and Peer Gynt (Helen Hayes Award) for Shakespeare Theatre. Broadway productions which Paul has designed include Memphis (Tony nomination); A Streetcar Named Desire (Tony nomination); Jesus Christ Superstar; In the Heights (Tony nomination); Guys and Dolls; The Color Purple (Tony nomination); Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Caroline, or Change; and Bring in da' Noise, Bring in da' Funk (Tony nomination). Paul's opera credits include Gounod's Faust for Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, Magdelena for Chatelet Opera, Margaret Garner for Michigan Opera and Little Women for New York City Opera.

COLIN K. BILLS (Lighting Designer) is pleased to be making his Arena debut. He is a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company where he has designed over 35 productions, most recently Totalitarians and the remount of Stupid Fucking Bird. As a conspirator with the devising company dog & pony dc, he has collaborated in the writing, direction and design of A Killing Game and Beertown. His recent work includes Les Misérables at Dallas Theatre Center, Così fan tutte at Opéra Royal de Versailles and The Threepenny Opera at Signature Theatre. Colin has won three Helen Hayes Awards and a Princess Grace Fellowship in Theater. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

LINDSAY JONES (Sound Designer) is pleased to return to Arena Stage after working on productions of The Mountaintop, A Time to Kill, Ruined, Well and Noises Off. His Broadway credits include Bronx Bombers and A Time to Kill. Off-Broadway credits include Bootycandy at Playwrights Horizons; Mr. Joy at LCT3; Wild with Happy at The Public Theater; Top Secret at NYTW; Rx at Primary Stages and many others. Regionally, he has designed for theaters such as Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Alliance, Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass and many others. International credits include Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Canada) and Royal Shakespeare Company (England), as well as productions in Austria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Scotland. Awards include six Joseph Jefferson Awards and 21 nominations, two Ovation Awards and three nominations, LA Drama Critics Circle Award and three Drama Desk Award nominations, as well as nominations for Helen Hayes, Barrymore and many others. Film scoring credits include Magnolia Pictures’ The Brass Teapot and HBO Films’ A Note of Triumph (2006 Academy Award, Best Documentary).

ANNE NESMITH (Wig Designer) is pleased to return to Arena Stage following last season’s Smokey Joe's Cafe, Mother Courage and Her Children and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. She also designed Other Desert Cities, My Fair Lady, Mary T. & Lizzy K. and The Music Man for Arena Stage. Her recent work includes Così fan tutte in Nishinomiya, Japan, Falstaff for Saito Kinen Festival (Matsumoto, Japan), Giulio Cesare at Wolf Trap Opera and Ford’s Theatre’s Driving Miss Daisy. Her designs have been seen at the Kennedy Center, Opera Philadelphia, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre and Lyric Opera of Baltimore. Anne was the resident wig/makeup designer for the Baltimore Opera and has constructed wigs for Scooby Doo! Live tour and the Asian tour of 42nd Street. Her work has also been seen in Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery programs, Ice Cold Killers for Investigation Discovery, the Military Channel’s Great Planes and the U.S. Army’s tour Spirit of America.

DAVID LEONG (Fight Director)'s Arena Stage credits include Mother Courage and Her Children, A Time to Kill, Oklahoma!, A View from the Bridge, Death of a Salesman, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Quality of Life, Legacy of Light, The Odyssey, I Am a Man and Coming of the Hurricane. His Broadway credits include Billy Elliott: The Musical; A Time to Kill; The Civil War; Carousel; Company; Hamlet; Macbeth; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; King Hedley II; Picnic; Sex and Longing; The Rainmaker; A Delicate Balance; The Homecoming; In the Summer House; Solitary Confinement and Conversations with My Father. Off-Broadway his work has been seen in more than 70 productions for Lincoln Center, NYTW, MTC, Public, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage. David's regional credits include nearly every major regional theater in the U.S., including the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Guthrie, Goodman, ART, ACT, Yale Repertory Theatre and many more. He is chair, professor and producer of Theatre VCU at Virginia Commonwealth University.

LYNN WATSON (Dialect and Vocal Coach) has worked extensively as a voice, speech and dialect specialist at leading regional theaters. She has coached many Arena Stage productions, including Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, A Time to Kill, A Moon for the Misbegotten, M. Butterfly and The Misanthrope. Other D.C. area productions include The Laramie Project and Parade at Ford's Theatre, The Threepenny Opera at Signature Theatre and The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Kennedy Center. West coast credits include four seasons at South Coast Repertory and critically acclaimed productions of A Streetcar Named Desire at A.C.T. San Francisco and Skylight at the Mark Taper in L.A. She has edited and written for the Voice and Speech Review and is a Professor of Theater at UMBC.

BRAD GARDNER (Assistant Musical Director) is thrilled to be back at Arena Stage after having been part of My Fair Lady in 2012. In New York, he was on the music team for The Addams Family (rehearsal pianist), Jasper in Deadland (associate music director/conductor) and Silence! the Musical (sub-conductor/keyboards). Brad regularly works with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, most recently having served as associate music director for Broadway Backwards 2014. He has worked regionally on the Broadway-aimed Sense & Sensibility (Denver Center), Marvin Hamlisch's The Nutty Professor (TPAC), and 9 to 5 (North Shore). Brad is the music director of several theatre education programs, including StoryShifters in NYC, The Performing Arts Project and Arena Stage Academy.

SUSAN R. WHITE (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be a part of Arena’s 65th season and to be working, once again, with Molly Smith. Susan is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

KRISTEN MARY HARRIS (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning to Arena Stage. Favorite Arena credits include The Normal Heart, Red, Mother Courage and Oklahoma!. Additional Washington, D.C. credits include The Three Penny Opera, Miss Saigon and Crossing at Signature Theatre; and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. Kristen holds a BFA in theatre production from University of Arizona.

GEOFF JOSSELSON (New York Casting) returns to Arena Stage after having cast The Velocity of Autumn, Camp David and The Shoplifters. He is also responsible for casting many acclaimed New York productions, including The Velocity of Autumn (Broadway), Yank!, Enter Laughing, Southern Comfort, Altar Boyz, Septimus and Clarissa and Perfect Harmony. He has cast productions for the York Theatre Company, Bay Street Theatre, Barrington Stage, Denver Center, North Shore Music Theatre, Kansas City Starlight Theatre and Sharon Playhouse. In addition to his independent casting office, Geoff teaches master classes around the country and is on faculty at CAP21.


Fiddler on the Roof – Now Playing

Critics and audiences can't stop singing their praises for Fiddler on the Roof. Enjoy highlights from this “DAZZLING” (Washington Post) production.

Fiddler on the Roof – What's the Buzz?

Enjoy highlights from Fiddler on the Roof, plus hear all the great audience buzz so far!

Matchmaker – Fiddler on the Roof

Get a sneak peek of "Matchmaker" in performance.

Fiddler on the Roof - In Rehearsal

Hear a preview of "Tradition," "If I Were A Rich Man," "To Life," "Far from the Home I Love" and "Sunrise, Sunset" in rehearsal.

Fiddler on the Roof

Your first look at Arena Stage's stunning 50th Anniversary production of Fiddler on the Roof.

65th Anniversary Season

It is awe-inspiring to think of Arena Stage's contribution to American theater over the past 64 years. And now, with our 65th season, we aim to honor that history by presenting a collection of stirring works to challenge and excite us as artists and audiences.

Photo gallery

Behind the scenes

Welcome to Off Book – Arena Stage's online forum featuring American artists at the top of their game, talking about what they do best. Actors, directors, writers, dramaturgs, designers – unscripted and unrehearsed.

When I think of Fiddler on the Roof I think of the precarious nature of being alive twinned with joy. What a moment to be producing this wondrous musical—as we live in a time when the world is cracking apart. As one of the gold-standard musicals, this musical demands to be reinterpreted for each generation. Why now? As traditions are being upheld or changed or dismantled in the world, from same-sex marriage to the possibility of a female president in America, we can rejoice in our ability to change radically and to preserve traditions. Read More

Tevye is a wonderful and quite unusual character to put at the center of a play. He's just a guy. He's not anybody special. He's a wonderful person, but his life is not full of riches or esteem. He's a poor man—a dairy man—he's got a couple of cows, there's a horse offstage, he has a wife, and five daughters. Five. Daughters. Who he has to concern himself with and to see married off well in the world. I mean, King Lear only had three, and look what a tragedy that was! Read More

It seems only fitting that, as we celebrate our 65th anniversary season at Arena Stage, we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof — a gorgeous, universal story of family, community, tradition and progress. Over the past 50 years, Fiddler has been embraced throughout the world; meaning different things to different people at different times — forever adapting, forever relevant. Read More

The lights go down, the stage is washed in blue. From the dark, a violin plays. Spotlights pick up the violinist high above and a man watching him with quizzical joy from the stage below. The man speaks: His first words are “A fiddler on the roof!” and with that, we are off and running in a quintessential American musical. Read more

In Rehearsal: Audio Clips


Barry DennenPost-Show Discussion with Actor/Singer Barry Dennen
November 5

Join star of stage and screen Barry Dennen, who portrayed Mendel in the original film version of Fiddler on the Roof, for an intimate look behind the scenes of this beloved screen adaptation and at his illustrious career in entertainment. Barry is probably best known for originating the role of the sharp-tongue Pontius Pilate in the original recording, Broadway run and film version of celebrated musical Jesus Christ Superstar. His personal memoir My Life with Barbra: A Love Story, was published in 1977, sharing for the first time in his own words the fascinating background behind the nightclub act he created and directed that launched Streisand's early stardom.

Fiddler on the Roof Opening Night
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

As part of the Fiddler on the Roof Opening Night, Arena Stage will present the American Artist Award to lyricist Sheldon Harnick and the American Voice Award to Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The evening will include:

  • 5:30 pm: Cocktail Reception and Seated Dinner
    Dinner will feature the presentation of the American Artist Award to Sheldon Harnick and American Voice Award to Senator Kaine
  • 8:00 pm: Opening Night performance of Fiddler on the Roof in the Fichandler Stage
  • Dessert reception with the cast, crew and designers of Fiddler on the Roof  following the performance

For information about purchasing a table to this special evening, please contact Maria Corso at or by phone at 202-600-4025.

Theodore Bikelclick here to reserveA Discussion with Theodore Bikel
Saturday, November 15, 2014 5:30PM

Through the generous support of the Ammerman family, and as part of our partnership with The Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program, we are pleased to present a special evening with Theodore Bikel—Beyond Fiddler: The Other Facets of Tevye.

Bikel, the legendary actor who played Tevye in more than 2,000 performances of Fiddler on the Roof, will share his perspective on Tevye and the literary world of Sholom Aleichem in an onstage conversation with Georgetown University Professor and best-selling author Deborah Tannen.


Alisa SolomonWonder of WondersPost-Show Discussion with Author Alisa Solomon
December 9

Join author, teacher and dramaturg Alisa Solomon to discuss Fiddler on the Roof and her most recent book Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof. Ms. Solomon teaches at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the Arts & Culture concentration in the MA program. A theater critic and general reporter for the Village Voice from 1983 to 2004, she has also contributed to The New York Times, The Nation, American Theater and other publications.

Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof has served as a great source of inspiration and information for Fiddler director Molly Smith. Read more

Alisa will be on hand after the discussion to sign copies of Wonder of Wonders, which are available through the Arena Stage Gift Shop.

Jeremy DauberThe Worlds of Sholem AleichemPost-Show Discussion with Author Jeremy Dauber
December 14, following the 2:00 pm performance

Join us for a post-show conversation with Jeremy Dauber, author of The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye. Hailed by the Huffington Post as one of that fall's hottest biographies, Mr. Dauber’s book received the Sophie Brody Honor Medal from the American Library Association and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. In addition to being the Atran Professor of Yiddish, Language, Literature and Culture at Columbia University, Mr. Dauber is the Director of Columbia's Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies. His research interests include Yiddish literature of the early modern period, Hebrew and Yiddish literature of the nineteenth century, the Yiddish theater, and American Jewish literature and popular culture.

Jeremy will be on hand after the discussion to sign copies of The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, which are available through the Arena Stage Gift Shop.

Post-Show Discussions

November 13 at 8:00 p.m.
November 18 at noon
November 19 at noon
November 25 at 7:30 p.m.
December 10 at noon


Audio Described

Beginning with the November 7, 2014 performance at 8:00 PM all remaining performances will be audio described.

Open Captioned

November 26, 2014 – 7:30pm
December 4, 2014 – 8:00pm
December 7, 2014 – 6:00pm

For complete information on Accessibility Programs at Arena Stage, click here.


Fresh off Smokey Joe's Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller, Parker Esse (Oklahoma!, The Music Man) spent the early part of his summer at Connecticut's Goodspeed Musicals choreographing their recent production of Fiddler on the Roof and we're thrilled he got the chance to warm up for our main event here: Fiddler on the Roof in the round!

A-List: You just choreographed Fiddler for Goodspeed. Since it's fresh in your mind, share your thoughts on the show and the importance of dance and movement to telling the story of Tevye, his family and their village Anatevka.

Parker Esse: Fiddler on the Roof is such a well-crafted masterpiece. The development of each character in Anatevka and each moment we share with their journey touches every audience member on such a personal level. The moments of dance in Fiddler come from the community's vulnerability as they dance to express their dreams, celebrations, conflicts and heartbreaks.

A: We understand you'll be able to take a few liberties with Jerome Robbins' choreography since it's being staged in the round at Arena. Daunting? Exciting? A bit of both?

P: I see this as an opportunity to work alongside a legendary choreographer whose visions helped shape many of our American musical theater classics. When a choreographer is granted the opportunity to choreograph Fiddler, as I have been for Arena, the Robbins' estate provides a manual – a bible, (or Torah perhaps) – of the original Robbins staging and choreography. At Arena, I'll have the fortunate opportunity to study it and honor his choreography in a new, reimagined way in the round, while being able to create original moments of my own to help accommodate Fiddler for the Fichandler Stage. I'm excited to work with Molly Smith and Paul Sportelli to create our own Fiddler on the Roof in the round while still honoring Jerome Robbins' original vision.

A: Without giving too much away since we want people to be surprised, is there anything you're particularly excited about working on in this vein?

P: I'm excited to create Tevye's dream sequence for the audience in the round! I don't want to give anything away, but it's going to be fun! I also can't wait to revisit the Bottle Dance and reimagine it for Arena.

A: Let's talk about the Bottle Dance. I saw the fabulous video from Goodspeed – Is it as hard as it looks?

P: Yes, it is definitely as hard as it looks… especially when done without tricks or gimmicks. It requires great concentration and skill from the dancers. I plan on teaching it very early in the rehearsal process so the men have plenty of time to feel confident with the challenge of not dropping their bottles during the dance. The Bottle Dance is one of Jerome Robins' most anticipated and iconic dance sequences. It's extremely challenging and thrilling to watch live.

A: So Velcro or no-Velcro on the hats at Arena?

P: We are not using any tricks to help the bottles stay on the dancer's heads. It will require pure skill!! Which includes balance, concentration and practice, practice, practice!


Tony-nominee Jonathan Hadary recently joined us to discuss his performance as Tevye in our holiday production of Fiddler on the Roof. He treated us to a sneak preview of “If I Were a Rich Man,” and shared insights about his career, his childhood in D.C. and his upcoming role-of-a-lifetime.

The A-List: We understand you've got a bit of history with Arena Stage. Can you share that background with us and tell us what it feels like to come back for Fiddler on the Roof, especially in the round?

Jonathan Hadary: My family, we're all from Chicago, but we moved to Bethesda in 1962 when I was in 8th grade. I went to junior-high and high school in the area and a lot of my theater-going as a young man was here at Arena Stage. I saw 18 shows here. I think I saw three in the Kreeger once it opened, but the rest were all in the Fichandler.

I started out ushering. My dad would drop me off since there was no Metro. I saw a lot of shows and I remember every one of them. And for one of them I even remember exactly where I sat and my angle towards the set. In here, it was always a heightened version of theater, instead of a proscenium, to have the audience be the frame. You surround the play. Instead of a frame surrounding it, it's surrounded by the community.

And this play in particular—this musical—I think it's particularly well-suited to this room. I had friends who were in the original production, and I heard bits and pieces of lore from the 3rd and 4th companies, who never met Jerome Robbins, but were told that the choreography was based on a circle—the circle of the community, the circle of the daughters, of the mamas and the papas, and then the larger community, within which these other circles exist. So here we're in a circle to begin with so it's all just elevated in this space. Bravo for doing it!

The A-List: What's your relationship with Fiddler like? How do you feel about the show?

Jonathan Hadary: When my family moved to Bethesda, we went to go see a matinee of Fiddler at the National Theatre the very first week it was here before it moved to Broadway. Zero Mostel was out; he was sick. I remember it vividly—some 4-5 years later I was a working actor in New York and I knew people in the show because it was still running. So I saw it again. I go way back with it. I saw the movie when it came out, but haven't seen the show since. Revisiting it has been a profound experience.

It's a wonderful show. It's better than you remember, and most things aren't! It's about family, it's about tradition. It's about the world changing, it's about nothing having changed. It's set 150 years ago, but it could be set tomorrow.

I've never been in it. And I never entertained notions of playing Tevye until I saw Arena Stage was doing it and I thought, 'Hmm ... I wonder who's playing Tevye.' It turns out, it's me!

The A-List: And how exciting is that?

Jonathan Hadary: I came down to D.C. on Amtrak. And, no one on the train was staring at me, but I kept feeling like people were looking at me because I had this peculiar little smirk on my face that kept returning every time I thought 'I'm going to play Tevye!'

I grew up hearing the Tevye stories of Sholem Aleichem. In fact, my family members could well be characters in the play. So there was a lot of connection to the material.

This whole production, of Fiddler on the Roof, here, for me, brings together an awful lot of threads in my life—my ancestry, my whole life as an actor, my family, my Washington roots, plus it's simply as good a role as has ever been written for a man in the theater. He who gets to do this role truly is a rich man!

The A-List: Tevye certainly has stood the test of time as one of the most iconic roles in American musical theater. Do you think he has the potential of becoming one of your favorites?

Jonathan Hadary: Tevye is a wonderful and quite unusual character to put at the center of a play. He's just a guy. He's not anybody special. He's a wonderful person, but his life is not full of riches or esteem. He's a poor man —a dairy man—he's got a couple of cows, there's a horse offstage, he has a wife, and five daughters. Five. Daughters. Who he has to concern himself with and to see married off well in the world. I mean, King Lear only had three, and look what a tragedy that was!

Tevye is certainly way up there as a role. My other favorites are Herbie in Gypsy, and I did a big production of Guys and Dolls and replaced Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit. I've been lucky to be an actor for a long time and been lucky enough to play some wonderful parts in big Broadway shows, but it's great to be back at Arena!

Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography.

Recommended Reading

Molly Smith, Artistic Director of Arena Stage and director of Fiddler on the Roof, shares some of her literary and visual inspirations for the look, feel and sound of this 50th Anniversary celebration of one of the most beloved, gold-standard productions in American Musical Theater.

By Sholem Aleichem
Translated and with an introduction by Hillel Halkin

Of all the characters in modern Jewish fiction, the most beloved is Tevye, the compassionate, irrepressible, Bible-quoting dairyman from Anatevka, who has been immortalized in the writings of Sholem Aleichem and in acclaimed and award-winning theatrical and film adaptations.

And no Yiddish writer was more beloved than Tevye’s creator, Sholem Rabinovich (1859-1916), the “Jewish Mark Twain,” who wrote under the pen name Sholem Aleichem. Beautifully translated by Hillel Halkin, here is Sholem Aleichem’s heartwarming and poignant account of Tevye and his daughters, together with the “Railroad Stories,” twenty-one tales that examine human nature and modernity as they are perceived by men and women riding the trains from shtetl to shtetl.


By Alisa Solomon

In the half-century since its premiere, Fiddler on the Roof has become a supremely potent cultural landmark, beloved by audiences the world over. Now, in a history as captivating as its subject, award-winning drama critic Alisa Solomon traces how and why the story of Tevye the milkman, the creation of the great Yiddish writer Sholem-Aleichem, was reborn as blockbuster entertainment and a cultural touchstone, not only for Jews and not only in America.

It is first a story of the theater, as Solomon follows Tevye from his humble appearance on the New York Yiddish stage, through his adoption by leftist dramatists as a symbol of oppression, to his Broadway debut and his starring role in a major Hollywood picture. And it is a cultural story, of a show that spoke to the deepest conflicts and desires the world over: the fraying of tradition, generational tension, the loss of roots. Entertaining and original, Wonder of Wonders reveals the profound legacy of a show about tradition that itself became a tradition. Available through the Arena Stage Gift Shop.

By Susan Tumarkin Goodman
With an essay by Kenneth E. Silver

Marc Chagall (1887–1985), one of the foremost modernists of the 20th century, created his unique style by blending richly colored folk art with Cubism, Surrealism, and imagery drawn from the Russian Christian icon tradition. This book explores a significant but neglected period in the artist’s career, from the rise of fascism in the 1930s through the end of World War II, which he spent in Paris and then in exile in New York.

Chagall’s paintings from this time express the horror of the Holocaust as well as hope for the survival of his people and belief in the ultimate triumph of love. Works use many of Chagall’s familiar figures—the Artist, the Bride, the Clown, the Wandering Jew—set in unexpected, often wrenching scenes. These contrast with lavish flower paintings that reflect the artist’s adoration of his wife, Bella. Less well known are Chagall’s canvases showing the Crucifixion of Jesus, often depicted as a Jew, and his rarely seen, dreamlike poems, eleven of which are published here. Susan Tumarkin Goodman and Kenneth E. Silver analyze Chagall’s complex iconography and phantasmagorical style, tracing his Jewish, Christian, autobiographical, French, and Russian sources.

By Ingo F. Walther and Rainer Metzger

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the 20th century. Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his native Vitebsk, and the great events that mark the life of ordinary people: birth, love, marriage and death. They tell of a world full of everyday miracles - in the room of lovers, on the streets of Vitebsk, beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Heaven and earth seem to meet in a topsy-turvy world in which whimsical figures of people and animals float through the air with gravity-defying serenity. This art album presents Chagall's work.

By Nancy Anderson, Charles Brock and Andrew Wyeth

One of Andrew Wyeth's most important paintings, Wind from the Sea, a recent gift to the National Gallery of Art, is also the artist's first full realization of the window as a recurring subject in his art. After completing the painting in 1947, Wyeth returned to windows again and again over the next sixty years, producing more than three hundred remarkable works that explore the formal and conceptual aspects of looking both in and out of windows. Spare, elegant, and abstract, these non-figural paintings are free of the narrative element inevitably associated with Wyeth's well-known compositions. In truth, these deceptively realistic images are skillfully manipulated constructions engaged with the visual and metaphysical complexities posed by the transparency, beauty, and formal structure of windows.

This richly illustrated catalogue presents a select group of Wyeth's tempera paintings - many of them never before published or on public view - along with two essays that explore Wyeth's fascination with windows. Addressing links between Wyeth's work and the poetry of Robert Frost as well as the paintings of Edward Hopper and Charles Sheeler, the authors consider Wyeth's statement that he was, in fact, an "abstract" painter, and in so doing offer an entirely new approach to his work.

By Jeremy Dauber

The first comprehensive biography of one of the most beloved authors of all time: the creator of Tevye the Dairyman, the collection of stories that inspired Fiddler on the Roof.

Novelist, playwright, journalist, essayist, and editor, Sholem Aleichem was one of the founding giants of modern Yiddish literature. The creator of a pantheon of characters who have been immortalized in books and plays, he provided readers throughout the world with a fascinating window into the world of Eastern European Jews as they began to confront the forces of cultural, political, and religious modernity they tore through the Russian Empire in the final decades of the nineteenth century.

In Jeremy Dauber’s magnificent biography, we encounter a Sholem Aleichem for the ages. Available through the Arena Stage Gift Shop.

Fiddler on the Roof runs approximately 2 hours and 33 minutes, including one intermission.

Fiddler on the Roof


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