BHS cast performs ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Andrew Pohl playing the part of Tevye dances and sings during rehearsal.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Andrew Pohl playing the part of Tevye dances and sings during rehearsal.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Many young actors and singers will be performing an old classic at Bremerton High School this weekend and the next.

The spring play at the school this year is “Fiddler on the Roof,” a classic tale centering on a traditional Jewish family in Czarist Russia, where tradition seems to keep falling by the wayside as milkman Tevye (Andrew Pohl and Glen Milligan) sees each of his three eldest daughters Tzeitel (Ruthann Saunders and Nicole Eckert), Hodel (Leslie Pohl) and Chava (Felicity Jaramillo and Shantrice Anderson) buck tradition in regard to their marriage plans.

Along the way, Tevye and his wife Golde (Courtney Caton and Carrie Jewett) take the time to examine their own marriage and the town of Anatevka struggles with a changing political world around it.

For Andrew Pohl, taking on the role of family patriarch Tevye has been a change of pace.

“It’s been interesting. It’s been a little different being the good guy,” Pohl said. “I’ve always played the villain in most (productions.)”

Pohl said he welcomes the opportunity to be involved in a bit lighter fare.

“I think it’s really a fun play,” he said. “It’s funny and that’s always good.”

The cast of 53, includes many of director Cassie Gillis’ choral students. Gillis said those students are “probably feeling the pinch” as the play is being performed in a small window between the choir’s return from a San Francisco performance and State finals.

“It’s been a long commitment and they have worked and persevered diligently,” Gillis said. “It’s a big show, a long show. With our really busy schedule, they’ve been able to step up really well.”

Gillis chose “Fiddler” as the spring performance for a number of reasons.

“I chose (it) because it’s such a classic piece of literature and it has so much to give the students and the community,” she said. “The songs are familiar and it’s such a poignant story.”

Indeed, to the generation of the performers, the song “If I Were a Rich Man” is familiar probably mainly because Gwen Stefani just did a remix of the song as “Rich Girl” and had a pretty successful hit with it.

Another generation has been a big part of the play, too, and it is that of the teachers and other staff who have been involved with the performance.

“So many staff are involved in this, the music staff with the orchestra and even our principal (Aaron Leavell) is playing the part of the priest,” Gillis said. “The staff support is really nice to have. The kids really appreciate it.”

The musical opened last night and continues tonight with a 7:30 p.m. performance. The play also will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20 through Saturday, April 22. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, April 22. At two of the performances, American Sign Language students and staff will be interpreting the musical. Tickets are $8.

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