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'Fiddler on the Roof' still pertinent almost five decades later

By: Carol Feineman News Messenger Editor
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Know and Go: What: Music Circus presents “Fiddler on the Roof” When: Tuesday through Sunday only. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m, and 2 p.m. Thursday and Saturday Where: Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento Tickets: $30-$70 Information: 557-1999, online at tickets.com or at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office. 'Fiddler on the Roof' still pertinent almost five decades later You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the current Music Circus production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” And parents bringing their children will simultaneously provide them with a history lesson of what it was like to live in czarist Russia if one happened to have a different religion than the ruling party. “Fiddler” is also a story of the lifelong bonds family members have for one another. The story centers on Tevye , whose older daughters’ approaching marriages play havoc with his traditions and faith in the midst of the Tsar’s actions to kick the Jews out of their village of Anatevka. The message of “Fiddler on the Roof,” first performed 48 years ago on Broadway, “is exactly the same” today, according to Bob Amaral, who plays Tevye in this production. Amaral has performed on Broadway in “Guys & Dolls” and “The Lion King” and in numerous television and touring Broadway shows. “It’s family, it’s love, it’s tradition, it’s faith,” Amaral said. “It’s bending with the times. And it’s family, love community, all of that. “ That theme is “absolutely” relevant today, Amaral said. “It’s more so with all the craziness today in the world to have the people close to you loving you, supporting you , loving you,” Amaral said. Amaral was referring to the recent senseless killings of innocent victims at the Aurora, Colo. movie theater and the Sikh Temple south of Milwaukee, Wis. “It’s kind of like in the show with the pogroms, when the non-Jews threw Jews off the land,” Amaral said. “There’s a smaller element that will attack a segment of society they don’t understand. That’s what this is all about, understanding Tevye’s Anatevka and how the czarist Russia would come in, dismiss people, throw them off their land. What’s happening today is that people for some reason don’t understand a religion or a belief and they attack it. The unknown puts fear into people, and instead of understanding, they attack. Understanding is the best way to go.” Although not Jewish, Amaral understands what the Fiddler characters went through. “It’s not just the Jewish community,” Amaral explained. “My background is Portuguese and it’s exactly the same. My family were farmers; they suffered in Portugal because of poverty. Suffering is suffering.” Audiences will relate, Amaral said, “because it is a universal message about family, faith, commitment, dedication and love.” The “Fiddler on the Roof” songs include “Tradition,” “Matchmaker,” “If I Were A Rich Man” and “Sunrise , Sunset.” Much of the music is accompanied by traditional folk dancing. Playing Golde in the Music Circus production is Adrienne Barbeau, who made her Broadway debut as Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof “and originated the role of Rizzo in the Broadway production of “Grease.” The original Broadway production, which opened Sept. 22, 1964 and ran for 3,242 performances, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1965 and won nine awards, including Best Musical and Best Composer & Lyricist. There were four subsequent Broadway productions in 1976, 1981, 1990 and 2004. This is the 12th Music Circus production of the show. The next Music Circus show will be “Crazy for You” from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2. For more information, visit SacramentoMusicCircus.com.