Community theater brings Mount Pleasant residents together for 'Fiddler on the Roof'

Some members of the Mount Pleasant community have come together to tell the story of a family's journey through the ups and downs of life.

"Fiddler on the Roof" is a musical based on the Sholom Aleichem stories by Joseph Stein, which tells the story of a Jewish family living in Russia during the turn of the 20th century. The production will open at the Broadway Theatre, 216 E. Broadway St., at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26 and is directed by Central Michigan University Instructor of English Ted Troxell.
In the musical, both mother and father must watch as three of their five daughters are married away while coping with the dramatic change in family dynamic and struggling to maintain their faith.
Actors both young and old have come together to lend their own spin to this tale, Troxell said.
"Community theater is able to attract actors, artists and technical people who aren't necessarily associated with a particular school or program," Troxell said. "We have people in Fiddler who just got done with a production in high school, for instance, along (with people) in the theater program at CMU and still others who are community theater veterans."

Actors vary in age from elementary school children to senior citizens. Several of these actors are CMU students, including Southfield senior Joshua Finn.

"When I was in high school, I did a lot of theater productions," Finn said. "I didn't really follow my passion of doing theater (in college) until I stopped being a resident assistant."

After seeing the auditions for "Fiddler on the Roof" posted on Facebook, Finn joined the diverse cast as Avram The Bookseller and began rehearsals in February.

Gail Caleca and her three children have been involved in community theater for 12 years and have brought a unique family dynamic to "Fiddler on the Roof."

"In the play, my first-born is getting married," Caleca said. "In real life, my first-born, the same one, is getting married."

Caleca, who will be playing the female lead, Golda, expressed the importance of different generations working together toward a common goal.

"I watch the different generations working together, and it's an amazing thing," Caleca said. "It's not just the younger people who are being mentored by the older people; there's a mutual sharing that goes on."

Although there have been benefits to community theater, the arrangement does not come without its challenges.

"In high school, it's a bunch of kids your own age, and you all have the same free time," Finn said. "Here, everyone has a job, people are in school, some people have a career, (and) some people are coming from more than 30 miles away."

Finding a balance among so many different schedules has been an immense task, but Troxell has risen to the challenge.

"I think Ted's doing an awesome job balancing out when we can meet for practice," Finn said. "I think we all kind of make it work; we are a family now."

Sentiments of a family atmosphere were echoed by other members of the cast, as well.

"There's a number of the young people here who I had worked with when they were nine, 10 and 11-years-old," Caleca said. "So, it's been wonderful to see them grow up doing community theater together. It's developed into a real family."

Showings will be held at 7 p.m. April 26 and 27 and May 2-4 and 2 p.m. April 28 and May 5. Tickets are available for $10 at Ric's Food Center, 705 S. Mission St., and Ace of Diamonds, 128 E. Broadway St., or at the door one hour before each performance.


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