Show rewards viewers with challenging songs |

Show rewards viewers with challenging songs

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Jim DeZerga, left, as Tevya, confers with John Vettel, as Lazar Wolf, in a tense scene from "Fiddler on the Roof" during rehearsals Wednesday.

From the moment Tevya the milkman opens “Fiddler on the Roof” with the throbbing, vibrant song “Tradition,” to the closing scene when the whole cast sings “Anatevka,” it’s a night rich in Jewish customs, love, perplexity and resolution.

Before Tevya opens the show, however, there’s the Fiddler on the Roof, in this case Chris Willson, a last-minute recruit.

“Fiddler” is a musical comedy that rewards the viewer with a slice of complex Jewish life from a small village in Czarist Russia. Not your average musical fare.

The songs – “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Do You Love Me?” – worked their way into popular music out of context simply because of their beauty. The rhythms are lusty, the words flowing, the singing here full of life.

Most know the story: A Jewish milkman with daughters has problems with their marriages, as well as with his headstrong wife. How he solves them is the story.

A veteran cast is on hand, led by Stephanie Arrigotti as Golde and Jim DeZerga as Tevya. Then there are the other 58 members of the cast, the orchestra led by Joshua Jessup, the choreography by Gina Kaskie-Davis, and an award-winning book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harick.

And on top of it all, Arrigotti not only stars but also directs and produces the show.

“I come from a Greek family, so I know all about tradition and superstition,” Arrigotti said, during a break at rehearsals. “So I’m right home with it. ‘Fiddler’ touches so many cultures, not just mine.”

But pulling off a triple play?

“It’s been hectic. Every day a new frustration, every day a new adventure. Frantic! But the show is worth it. It touches the heart, it has a pure kind of humor. You don’t have to be Jewish to understand it. Tevya’s love of God gets him – and us – through it.”

For DeZerga, “playing Tevya took three months of study. I Iiked the way he talks to God directly about practical things, like a sewing machine. The role is an opportunity to share my faith in life with an audience.”

The roles of the troublesome daughters are filled by Lynette Brown, Rachael Jackson, Ashleigh Petrell, Emmy Heller and Alice Sady. Acting coach for the lead actors is Gary Aldrich, and Denise McMasters is costumer.

It all comes together in a swirling night of dance and song, good guys and bad ones, beauty and simple life with complex problems, all, happily, solved. You’ll leave the show perhaps feeling better about your own life.

Show times are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., Nov. 11-12 and Nov. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 6, 13,19 and 20 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18 general, $16 students and seniors, $14 youth 17 and younger at Comma Coffee, 312 South Carson St., and WNCC Performing Arts Office. Charge by phone at 445-4249.

– Contact reporter Sam Bauman at or 881-1236.

If you go

What: WNCC Performing Arts presents “Fiddler on the Roof”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11-12, 18-19; 2 p.m. Nov. 13,19 and 20

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Cost: $18 general, $16 students and seniors, $14 youth 17 and younger

Tickets: Available at Comma Coffee, 312 South Carson St., and WNCC Performing Arts Office.

Call: 445-4249.