Artists in Action: Live theater for the holidays
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Nov 25, 2012 | 1845 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Live theater in this area is especially lively during the holidays. “Fiddler on the Roof” is on for Nov. 29 (one performance only) at the Ritz Theatre in Talladega. “A Christmas Story,” performed by CAST, runs Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at McClellan Theatre. The Dec. 4 auditions for “Private Lives,” CAST’s show for February, provide opportunities to get into the act on the other side of the footlights.

“Fiddler on the Roof”

This legendary classic is a heartwarming combination of music, dance, sadness and laughter. It will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29. At a time when families celebrate the holidays in their own traditional style, here is a play with a universal theme of tradition. Set in Tsarist, Russia, in 1905, the plot centers on Tevye, a hard working milkman and father of five daughters. Despite hardships from outside influences, he tries to maintain his family and his religious traditions at a time when their very survival is threatened.

George Culver, executive director of the Ritz, is certain the musical will be a crowd pleaser.

“To me, ‘Fiddler’ is one of those iconic titles of the Broadway stage, and it is a joy that the Ritz was able to book one of the performances on the company’s current national tour. After almost 50 years since it first opened on Broadway, the story is still timeless and has endured international popularity long after its record run (first show to pass 3,000 performances) on the Great White Way.”

The key to its popularity, he believes, is its universal theme of tradition that cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion.

“After our recent divisive national election, we all could use a little healing and reminder of the common values we as Americans share, putting aside political issues, which ‘Fiddler’ just might provide us.”

The character of Tevye is played by Jimmy Ferraro, an actor with a long list of credits. Ferraro’s career has taken him throughout the United States with appearances in regional theaters, Vegas’ Aladdin Hotel and a White House command performance. He has shared the stage with many celebrities including Shirley Jones, Rosemary Clooney, Cesar Romero, Abby Dalton and Rosemary Prinz. Ferraro, a native New Yorker, most recently appeared as Tevye and as Edna in “Hairspray” at the Sierra Repertory Theatre and Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Tickets are $23; call 256-315-0000 or visit www.ritztalladega.com.

“Even if folks get their tickets late and don’t get the best seat in the house,” Culver added, “I want them to know that, at our 500-seat capacity, there is really not a bad seat in the house.”

Auditions for ‘Private Lives’

A famous playwright can add distinction to a play’s title, but it takes an effective cast and crew in a community production to make it memorable. Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” is CAST’s choice for its Feb. 7-17 production, and a small but talented set of actors and backstage workers are needed for the comedy’s sophistication and gleeful entertaining intended by the British playwright.

Auditions are 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at First Presbyterian Church in Anniston. There are two males and three females in the cast.

The story takes place in the terrace of a hotel in France. The characters Elyot and Amanda, once married and now honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel, meet by chance, realize they are still in love and impulsively elope. But after a few days, they find their romance alternating between love and anger. Their distressed spouses appear and repeated emotional situations occur as the women at first stick together, and then part. The play was made into a film in 1931.

Artistic director Kim Dobbs requests help for the season from the community in carpentry, welding, sewing, basic painting, box office, group sales, concessions and props. To volunteer, call 256-820-CAST.
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Artists in Action: Live theater for the holidays by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star

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