FAU Libraries, JCS to Present ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

FAU’s Libraries and the Jewish Cultural Society will present “Fiddler on the Roof: In Concert,” along with Aaron Kula’s 23-member Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) and a cast of 16 principal singers.

The Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra will present “Fiddler on the Roof: In Concert” on Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m. at Florida Atlantic University’s Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium.

By carol lewis west | 2/1/2017

Florida Atlantic University’s Libraries and the Jewish Cultural Society will present “Fiddler on the Roof: In Concert,” along with Aaron Kula’s 23-member Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) and a cast of 16 principal singers, on Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m., at the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, FAU Student Union, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.   

“Fiddler on the Roof: In Concert” will include a tour-de-force cast of more than 50 performers reviving this beloved musical, accompanied by the original orchestration used on Broadway. The complete musical score and libretto will be performed as a concert with the entire cast and orchestra on stage for the performance. The 2017 Kultur Festival was granted permission for a one-time performance as a concert by Music Theater International.

Based on Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye and His Daughters,” the 1964 Tony award-winning musical is a story about a milkman and his family confronting political and social changes that come to their Ukrainian shetl community during the early 20th century. Throughout the musical, the characters confront the dilemma of balancing cultural traditions with their wishes to embrace contemporary ideologies.

The humorous and powerful musical written by Joseph Stein and Jerry Bock more than 52 years ago still resonates with many complex life issues that Americans continue to struggle with today.

“I have a 50-year history with this emotionally charged show, first as a young boy seeing it with my parents on Broadway, then as an accordionist in the pit orchestra, and finally as a conductor,” said Kula, conductor and director of music performance and education at FAU Libraries. “Even after five decades, I still love this show and look forward to conducting my first ‘Fiddler’ in Florida.”   

Many of the show’s notable songs include, “Tradition! Tradition!,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “To Life!,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “Anatevka.”

Eleanor Reissa, a Tony-nominated and Drama Desk-nominated director, joins KCJO for her debut performance as Golde. Reissa is a “Yiddish diva” who performs in English and Yiddish all over the world. Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have praised her work calling her a “leading singer” in Yiddish songs. 

Avi Hoffman, a Carbonell award-winner and Drama Desk-nominated actor, joins KCJO for his debut performance in the leading role as Tevye. Hoffman has received national attention for his stage work and has performed on A&E, NBC, and more recently, Starz’s “Magic City.”

Daniel Bates, a native of Elmira N.Y., returns in his second appearance with KCJO as the role of Fyedka. He recently finished two years as a young artist with the Florida Grand Opera, where he performed many lead roles. Bates has also performed with the Santa Fe Opera and has won many prestigious competitions and awards.

Gloria Waldman makes her debut performance with KCJO as Yente.  A popular South Florida performer with her “Swing Combo,” Waldman also has performed in New York City cabarets such as “Don’t Tell Mama,” “The Village Gate” and “The Cotton Club.”

The concert is the cornerstone for Kultur Festival 2017, the FAU Libraries’ ninth annual celebration of Jewish music and arts that showcases the libraries’ special collections through lectures, humor, storytelling and music. The festival begins Tuesday, Feb. 28 and will end on Wednesday, March 8. The Jewish Cultural Society at FAU is the lead sponsor for the festival.

Other Kultur Festival 2017 events include a concert of 20th century Jewish chamber music that showcases Jewish-themed music by composers Sergei Prokofiev, Ernest Bloch, Max Bruch, Joseph Achron and others; a concert by South Florida’s Second Avenue Jewish Chorale that showcases contemporary hits and timeless classics that reflect the diversity of Jewish music in song; Reissa, a favorite from Los Angeles to New York, in her one-woman show; and a lecture-concert with Peter Sokolow of Klezmrfats, who will perform Klezmer tunes and speak about his time playing with the great “American Klezmorim” of the 20th century.