Barlow's 'Fiddler On The Roof' Challenges Student Actors

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An enthusiastic cast from all Redding and Easton public schools will perform Fiddler at Joel Barlow High School Thursday through Saturday. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind
Cooper D’Agastino (right), a Joel Barlow senior, plays Tevye in the school's production of Fiddler on the Roof., Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

REDDING, Conn. – "Not even a hurricane" could stop the large cast of students performing "Fiddler on the Roof" at Joel Barlow High School from “bringing you the best show they possibly can,” says director Diana Canova.

Four performances, Thursday through Saturday night, plus a Saturday matinee, are scheduled.

Redding resident Canova chairs the theater program at John Read Middle School and has directed musicals at Barlow for 15 years. The cast includes 35 Barlow students and 15 from Redding and Easton middle and elementary schools, Canova said.

"Fiddler," which tells the story of a Jewish peasant in turn-of-the-century Russia, is a great play to present at Barlow because “it exposes kids to different cultures and opens their world, which is valuable because we’re in the forest here in Redding,” Canova said.

The actors have been writing essays on their characters and diaries of what their lives would be like in Czarist Russia in 1905, she said.

Katrina Karl, a Joel Barlow sophomore who plays Yente, has performed in school productions since fifth grade and has attended summer acting camp. “The challenge of 'Fiddler' is getting the physical characterizations down,” she said. “Some roles are easy to slip into, but Yente is a nosy old woman, and the accent is difficult unless you have the character down.”

Cooper D’Agastino, a Joel Barlow senior who plays Tevye, started acting in fifth grade and has sung in children’s choirs. “Tevye is a phenomenal role, comedic yet tragic and serious," D'Agastino said. "He’s a character with so many facets to him. The challenge is to remain in the mindset.”

Karl and D’Agastino will sing some of the great "Fiddler" songs, including “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Tradition” and “Miracle of Miracles.”

The show opens Thursday night at 7 p.m., with additional shows Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2. Tickets, available at the door, are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors. You can also buy tickets at www.joelbarlowps.org on the Student Activities page.

The performances take place at the Joel Barlow High School Auditorium, 100 Black Rock Turnpike, Redding.

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