Helias Catholic High School is producing the classic musical "Fiddler on the Roof" both as a form of entertainment and also as a learning experience for the students.
The show celebrates its 50th anniversary on Broadway this year, and artistic director Wyn Riley felt it was an appropriate show for the high school to present.
"The beauty of doing this show in an educational environment are the lessons to be learned about tolerance, traditions vs changes in the world and faith," Riley said.
The show has a large cast with 54 students on stage and a crew of 30 students.
Tevye is played by Trent Ludwig; Golde, his wife, by Maggie Jones; and the five daughters by Laura Miserez, Suzie Kunesting, Mary Conley, Elizabeth Troutwine and Samantha Sherman. The fiddler is violin student Thomas Asmar.
Riley is using a local couple, Robert and Roberta Herman, to help the students conduct the Hebrew Shabbat (Sabbath Prayer) and to better understand the Jewish faith and traditions. The Hermans are using a book loaned by Temple Beth El in Jefferson City to help with their instruction.
Musical direction is by Sue Logston (also conductor of the orchestra) and Matt Tolksdorf; choreographer is Liz Hansen, and production manager is Ron Voessen.
The sets for the show were built by the school's theater design class and represent the small village of Anatevka in the Ukraine.
The audiences may recognize many of the primitive props in the show. They are on loan from TLT from their first production in 1987 and the second in 2005, which again emphasizes what the show is about - tradition.
According to Riley, lighting a show with so many moods - joyful, sad and otherwise - is a great challenge in a non professional theater. The high school is limited to what is available but tries to create these moods through selection of focused and creative imagery.
The magic of the show was summed up by Riley who said, "Audiences still all over the world enjoy the show and songs like "Sunrise, Sunset,' "Tradition,' and "If I Were a Rich Man.' Proof of this is that within the next six months more than 200 productions of "Fiddler' will be presented by high schools, community and professional theaters over the United States."