Schools prepare production of ‘Fiddler’
Members of the community, parents and educators who share a love for theater, music and kids have worked tireless hours for the sake of Douglas County’s youth to put on the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School drama teacher Don Baumann, one of three directors for the musical, said the production provides an opportunity for students that doesn’t exist in any other way.
“For many students, this is an area where they excel,” he said of the show that includes a combination of visual, vocal, acting, dancing and instrumental.
He said the production also providedunity among the Valley’s three secondary schools, Pau-Wa-Lu and Carson Valley middle schools and Douglas High School.
“This is like competing on the same team,” he said.
Michelle Baumann, Don’s wife and director of Fiddler’s orchestra, said she’s involved with the production for the kids’ sake.
“The kids grow so much from this experience,” she said.
Michelle Baumann, who teaches band and chorus at PWLMS, in return benefits from the kids.
“I get energized from working with these kids,” she said. “They want to be here. They are definitely willing to do an excellent job.”
Tim Crane, another director, said the production is put on by two casts.
The reason for the double cast is to include more kids, he said.
“We included everybody we could,” he said of the 200 students who auditioned for the play over four days.
The only requirement of participation was to be in good standing with grades and conduct at school.
“For most kids, it might be their only shot at doing something like this, so it’s nice to include everybody,” said Crane, a video production teacher at PWLMS.
Crane said the 120-person cast even included about six parents who wanted to get involved with their children also in the play.
He said having parents involved helped to provide stability back stage.
The tri-school production is put on every other year.
“Every other year the insanity occurs,” Crane said of the 200 hours each of the directors has put into the production starting in December.
“If we do another one immediately, I think we’d all burn out – the kids and the directors,” he said.
The young actors, musicians and artists with seemingly endless energy take on the musical along with school and other extra-curricular activities.
Heidi Alder, who plays Tzeitel in the 30-year-old musical, said participating in the play is a lesson in time management.
“It taught me to be responsible and self-reliant,” she said of memorizing lines.
For Alder, 16, the play is also a family affair with her brother Brett playing the lead male role of Tevye.
“It is nice because we would practice at home,” she said.
Brett, 18, juggled his advanced placement classes, DHS student government and a part-time job to be in the play.
“I really enjoy it,” he said of his fifth play production. “I don’t have much free time so I have to be organized.”
Anticipating opening night Friday, the students hope they will have a good audience turn out.
“I think everybody will really enjoy it to see how the kids and the community have worked together, and that there are not all these bad kids,” said Meghan Riley, 16, who plays Frumah-sarah. “These are good kids – kids who really appreciate music.
“I think people should come out and support us and the school, so we can continue to do these plays.”
Admission funds the cost of the production, including personnel, sets, costumes and $2,000 for the rights to the play.
“We also try to set aside a seed for the next musical,” Don Baumann said.
The directors said they are appreciate all the support they received from the community.
Some of the lumber and siding for the sets came from victims of the New Year’s flood who had to repair their residences and gave the old material to the school.
Crane said this donation helped keep the cost of the sets down.
Gwen Marsh is the accompanist who played for all rehearsals.
Don Baumann said, “We could not do this musical without her.”
Crane said Ann Peters and Lisa Weiss of the Dance Workshop “volunteered a ton of time” to the choreography of the musical.
Doors open for the 7:30 p.m. production at the PWLMS cafetorium at 6:45 p.m.
Tickets for April 18, 19, 25 and 26 are $6 for adults, $4 for children, students and seniors. They can be purchased at the school offices of PWLMS and CVMS, Dance Workshop, Carson Valley Medical Center and the DHS commons at lunch.
Front row seats can be reserved for each performance by stopping by the PWLMS office or calling 265-6100. They are $7 for adults and $5 for children, students and seniors.