Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre stages ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre stages ‘Fiddler on the Roof’
Kyle Holman plays Tevye in Red Mountain Theatre Company's "Fiddler on the Roof." (Stewart Edmonds)

The cast and director of Red Mountain Theatre’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” are thrilled about tradition but are most inspired by how its message resonates with today’s issues.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a classic story is based on a dairy man, Tevye, and his daughters as they progress through life and Tevye strives to hold fast to his beliefs and traditions while his people are being oppressed because of their faith.

“Yes, it is traditional, yet there are moments where I think you will think, ‘Was that always in it?’,” RMTC Executive Director Keith Cromwell said.

Cromwell has been with RMTC for almost 10 years and has a 25-year career in theater. He is no stranger to the area and hopes the audience will find truth and authenticity in the production.

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“This will be the ‘Fiddler’ that you know and love,” Cromwell said. “I think we will be drawn to things that will stick out from the story as history regrettably repeats itself.”

Kyle Holman (son of Cliff “Cousin Cliff” Holman), plays Tevye. Holman is a familiar face among the RMTC cast and said he is honored to play this iconic role. To Holman, the production is special because his acting career was sparked by the movie and live show of “Fiddler on the Roof” when he was a child.

The RMTC production will hold true to tradition. Cromwell brought in experts to immerse the cast in Jewish culture. Cromwell encouraged the cast to ask questions and to read the original railroad stories that inspired “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“He (Cromwell) wants us to approach every scene and every moment in the play with truth and honesty,” Holman said.

The cast spent time with Rabbi Jonathan Miller from Temple Emanu-El, they asked questions and sought a deeper understanding of the religion. Among the cast is Temple Emanu-El’s Cantor Jessica Roskin, who is helpful daily in keeping the production true to culture.

Megan Hill, a junior at the University of Alabama, plays Tzeitel, the eldest daughter of Tevye, and is no stranger to the culture. Hill is playing in her second Jewish role and said she was able to pull from her research as well.

“This is my second time within a year that I have been a part of Jewish culture,” Hill said. “In the fall I went to the Jewish center on campus and met with the Jewish studies faculty in the Religion Department and did a ton of research.”

Cromwell put together an almost entirely Alabama cast. There are a lot of new faces and some familiar favorites from previous RMTC and local productions.

“In this show, I, in particular, wanted to make sure we have all shapes and sizes, so that the slice of life that we create, in this authentic moment in history, is representative of all different looks and that we feel that we are looking at ourselves on stage,” Cromwell said.

Hill said the set design, costumes and orchestra will take the production to new heights night after night.

“When we came in on Thursday and we got to touch the set for the first time and see our home it was so beautiful,” Hill said. “Our costumes are gorgeous too, I love them. I’m obsessed with my wedding dress, it’s fabulous!”

The audience will experience a wide range of emotions during RMTC’s “Fiddler on the Roof.” Those who are familiar may even sing along.

“My father use to sing ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ in my kitchen growing up,” Hill said.

RMTC wants the audience to enjoy the performance but hopes to change the conversation with its production and spread awareness on today’s issues.

“Hopefully seeing an emotional story and people being able to connect to the characters and connect the story to what is going on today, maybe it will make them think,” Holman said. “Maybe it will do some good.”

The modern relevance is easily recognized.

“All we want to do is share this beautiful, beautiful story,” Hill said. “There is so much in the show that caters to all different kinds of people. It has this beautiful message for everyone.”

In addition to the message, the quality of the production will be what the audience leaves talking about.

“What you will see is something that will hold up against anything that comes through here with the Broadway series or on tour from New York or other parts of the country,” Holman said. “I promise you, if you come see this show you will be thoroughly impressed.”

 

Red Mountain Theater Company (RMTC) presents “Fiddler on the Roof,” at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater in Birmingham, directed by Keith Cromwell.

Dates June 9-25, 2017. Purchase tickets here.

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