Friday, July 19, 2019
‘Fiddler,’ Uncle Fester to Star at St. Thomas Playhouse
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Charlie Coulter sings “Like Animals” from “Dr. Dolittle Jr” as photographs from the production roll across the screen.
 
Thursday, February 7, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Tevye will sing “Sunrise, Sunset,” and the ghoulish Addams Family will parade out such songs as “Crazier Than You” when St. Thomas Playhouse presents “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Addams Family, The Musical” this coming year.

The community theater announced its 2019 season, which also includes “Flat Stanley Jr.,” Disney’s “Mulan Jr. Kids” and a performance of Celtic Tales and Music Wednesday during its annual Girlfriends Cabaret Luncheon.

“I’m Jewish and to me ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is the Mt. Rushmore of American musicals. We wanted to have ‘Fiddler’ last year but it went on tour so they took the rights back,” said Brett Moellenberg, who oversees St. Thomas Playhouse. “The Addams Family hit Broadway in 2010 with the daughter bringing her boyfriend home to meet the family so it should be real fun.”

 
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Isaac Brannon, Kagan Albright, Sarah Feltman, Lexi Black and Alayla Norton dig into the truffle fries.
 

The Girlfriends Cabaret Luncheon held at the Limelight Hotel  brought nearly 200 women together to hobnob over truffle fries, pizza bites, arugula salad, coconut cream and roasted tomato soup and beef and baked cod sliders.

“I used to live in New York so I live for the theater,” said Judy Blumberg. “And I love the energy of St. Thomas plays, whether you’re helping backstage with the costumes or watching from out front.”

A dozen teenagers and younger children entertained the audience with songs from last seasons’ “Sister Act,” “Dr. Doolittle” and “Little Mermaid,” while R.L. Rowsey and Claudia McCain led an ensemble in a preview of selections from next September’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“Our rabbi would play the fiddler if she was here—she’s played it before,” said Susan Blair.

 
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Quinton Norton sells a raffle ticket good for a variety of prizes including a package from Zenergy, the Sun Valley Writers Conference and other ventures, to Emily Kelly.
 

As it was, Blair and Robin Leavitt each bid $300 for cameo roles in the play about a poor Jewish milk man in Russia and his daughters.

“There are just two Jewish women in this room,” said Leavitt, as the crowd boasting a large congregation from St. Thomas Episcopal Church laughed.

A multitude of other women jumped in to bid on Peter Burke’s popular dance class.

Funds raised at the luncheon help build the scholarship fund that allows many of the valley’s youth to participate, noted Moellenberg. And some of the youngsters who have been involved with St. Thomas Playhouse’s Company B Camp and Summer Theater project extolled its virtues.

 
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Lizzie Loving, Ida Belle Gorby and Langley Bier sing “Sunrise, Sunset.”
 

“ ‘Shrek’ was a bunch of fun,” said Sarah Feltman. “I love the atmosphere at St. Thomas, how they’re willing to experiment with the arts. I’ve met a lot of friends, and it’s such a fun way to express yourself and share a story with the world that might make a difference in people’s perspective.”

Alayla Norton, a classmate with Feltman at Silver Creek High School, agreed: “I loved ‘Seussical the Musical’ because my whole family was in it, including my mother, brother and sister. The community’s really supportive and you feel such a connection with everyone.”

Suzanne Gerlits can look back on a lifetime of theater that began as a theater major at Northwestern University and more recently included a role in the Company of Fools’ production of “Dead Man’s Cellphone.”

“My feeling is that all actors are really shy. And, often, they’re more comfortable taking on another persona,” she said. “I tell parents: Don’t discourage your children if they’re interested in theater. Often it helps them with their delivery, their projection when they go into something like law or real estate.”

 
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Look for Susan Blair and Robin Leavitt in next fall’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
 

COMING UP:

“Flat Stanley, Jr.” – Company B Summer Performing Arts Day Camp, June 10-22

“The Addams Family-A New Musical”—Summer Theater Project for Teens and Young Adults, May 6-June 22

Celtic Tales and Music, Summer Performing Arts Conservatory Camp, June 24-29

“Disney’s Mulan Jr.—Company B Summer Performing Arts Day Camp, Aug. 5-16

“Fiddler on the Roof”—Sept. 19-22

 

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