Skip to main content

South Valley Journal

Fiddler’ presented by Riverton Arts Council

Jul 07, 2017 09:08AM ● By Kelly Cannon

Riverton’s production of “Fiddler on the roof” ran through June. (Riverton Arts Council)

For its summer production, the Riverton Arts Council produced “Fiddler on the Roof.” The musical ran from June 15–26.

The show focuses on Tevye, a Jewish milkman with five daughters trying to maintain his cultural traditions in the changing world of 1905 Russia. Director Doug Bishop described “Fiddler on the Roof” as being a popular and iconic show.

“It’s a wonderful show to do, and I enjoy doing it,” Bishop said. “I like the story. It’s a love story, and you put that in conjunction with the principles of tradition, and sometimes they collide and makes for a poignant wonderful story.”

Bishop said as a director, he believes his job is to tell a story and help the actors tell the story.

“I work with my actors and their individual motivations for how they start at the beginning of the show and what they are like at the end of the show,” Bishop said. “And through those transitions, they tell the story of Tevye, of Golde, of the daughters, and that tells the story. I’m a firm believer in telling a story.”

Bishop said his favorite big number in the show is when Tevye tells his wife the dream he has in order to convince her to allow their oldest daughter to marry the man she loves. His favorite smaller number is a song “Little Chaveleh.”

“That’s one of my very favorites because it’s so warm and mournful, and it just touches your heart because if you’re a parent and you see your children not doing what you want them to do, it’s difficult,” Bishop said.

Bishop hoped audience members experience both humor and understand that traditions, whether they are Jewish, LDS or Catholic traditions, are a big part of a person’s culture.

Don Smith, of Murray, played the lead role of Tevye . Smith said he’s wanted to play the role ever since the movie version of the play came out in 1971.

“Tevye is a man who wants to do the right thing by his faith, by his family, by his community,” Smith said. “He struggles with a world that is changing and trying to balance what is doing right in the circumstances that he finds himself in.”

Smith said playing Tevye is a big role and because of that, he was asked by Bishop to be the first actor off script to set an example to the other cast members.

His favorite part of the show is the way Tevye relates to his daughters. Smith said Tevye wants to do the right thing and treats his daughters as people first and not as property to be given away to the highest bidder. Smith hopes audience members feel hope when seeing the play.

“I think one of the main themes of the show is hope—hope in a world that is changing,” Smith said. “There are happy moments, sad moments, joyful moments but hope in the future.”

Karissa Kim, of South Jordan, played the role of Golde, Tevye’s wife. Kim has been involved with the Riverton Arts Council for the past 10 years. She originally was asked to be the music director for the show but turned it down because she didn’t believe she was going to have enough time. However, she auditioned for the play, thinking she would be Fruma-Sarah, a fictional ghost Tevye uses in his dream. 

“But they asked me to be Golde, and it’s such a great show that I might regret passing it up,” Kim said.

Kim described Golde as being tough as nails and a person who gets things done.

“She’s interesting in such a time where most of the time, she contradicts her husband, and she’s the head of the household even though she’s not,” Kim said. “But in the second act when it comes to the Chava situation and Tevye says she’s dead to us, she still has to obey because it was the culture. But she rebels in her own ways.”

For Kim, the challenging part of playing Golde is in giving her heart because she is so tough.

“I don’t want her to be portrayed as a witch because there is a lot of heart underneath that,” Kim said.