First of Its Kind: Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof is a well-known musical, renowned for the Jewish culture it demonstrates. Jews have been portrayed negatively in literature for hundreds of years, making Fiddler unique in that it presents the Jewish culture not only with multi-layered characters, but also with Jews as the main characters. The tale the Fiddler presents is one of tradition fighting the modern age, religion against revolution, and existence in poverty pitted against dreams of being rich.

The story follows Tevye, a very poor Jewish man, and the struggle to find husbands for his three oldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava. Although there is a town matchmaker, each of the three girls have their own plans for how to get married. The importance of this representation is that Fiddler takes a culture often demonized and presents it in a lovable light.

The technical side of performing the musical is led by the director, Mr. Morrell, who is in charge of overseeing the production of the musical.  “An easier question would be what don’t I do,” he says. Mr. Taylor, the vocal director; Mrs. Fulger & Mrs. Bay, the choreographers; and Mr. Whittaker, the pit conductor, with assistance from the orchestra director are other staff involved in the process. As we start seeing all the staff involved in creating the musical, it becomes apparent that this production includes many factions of the school.

This will be the first time in three years that the musical will be using a live pit orchestra instead of canned, prerecorded, music. Students and teachers agree that live music makes it easier to become immersed in the experience. It gives actors more freedom to perform with the atmosphere of the room.

The pit conductor and band director, Mr. Whittaker, expressed that there are moments when you are performing with a live orchestra where you can make small changes to the music to better accompany the specific production. If the actors are performing one part with some emphasis, he can follow that and help the orchestra do the same.  This ability to make small changes when necessary provides the opportunity for each performance to have a unique approach. The live pit orchestra adds to the rich fabric of the musical to create deeper emotions and embellish the overall experience.

Mr. Whittaker explained that the musical this year would be different than any other. This is his first year directing a pit orchestra, so it is a new experience for him. 

Mr. Morrell stated “I’m kind of approaching it from a hybrid model instead of going back to the way it was or last year.” The two models of theatre that Morrell is combining are the way it was last year with its numerous restrictions and the way theatre has always been done at Copper Hills.  Morrell is striving to provide a glorious experience for everyone involved in the musical, the musical this year will be unforgettable. Morrell believes there is no experience that matches going to live theatre.


Get musical tickets on the CHHS website, and come support our Copper Hills community on November 12, 13, and 15 in the auditorium.