The Acting Out! Theater Company will present “Fiddler on the Roof” for four shows Feb. 15 to 17 at the Rogers Center for the Performing Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover.
Based on Sholem Aleichem’s short stories about a milkman named Tevye and his daughters, “Fiddler” is set in a poor Jewish village in Czarist Russia in the early years of the 20th Century. The themes -- tradition, family, love and marriage, regret and optimism -- are presented by honest, funny characters and memorable songs like “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Matchmaker.”
Andover resident Kyle Rys plays Motel the tailor and suitor of Tevye’s oldest daughter. Rys shares a similar family history with that of his character, according to Acting Out. His family immigrated to the United States from Russia and Poland. One family tale includes a great grandfather who “missed the boat” to America. This turned out to be fortunate as the boat was in fact the Titanic.
“The story of Fiddler is a reflection on my own family’s history,” Rys said in a release. “Like Teyve’s family, my own ancestors dealt with the hardships of living in that area of the world at that time. They too struggled with oppression, prejudice and (most likely) exile from their homeland before making their way to America. Performing in this show is my way of reconnecting with my roots and experiencing a taste of what my ancestors went through in that difficult era.”
“It is a piece of historical fiction and many of our cast/crew members have their own stories to tell that mirror those in this rich musical theater piece,” said Director Linda Schoonmaker. “Our cast is comprised of many families, friends, and that alone is a great reason to see the show. There is a cohesiveness on stage that makes you believe that you really are in Anatevka.”