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FDSH?to present ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Musical is more serious than in previous years, say student-performers

May 6, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

This week, Fort Dodge Senior High students will bring some "tradition" to the stage with the presentation of their 85th annual musical, "Fiddler on the Roof."

"The primary reason is it's a great story. The story is one of love of family versus devotion to faith and tradition," said Joe Svendsen, vocal music director. He is directing the show, along with Mary Jo Laupp, theater director, and Laura Cooper, pit director.

The play follows a poor Jewish milkman named Tevye living in a small village in Russia in 1905, said Svendsen.

Article Photos

-Photo by Steve Kersten
Fort Dodge Senior high students are preparing for their spring musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” From left, Meg Fink, Natalie Dillon, Kjerstin Grindberg, Seth Nelson and Janessa Laupp.

"During the show, his three daughters all fall in love for different reasons, and each one of them falls in love with someone who's a little father away from the tradition and expectations that Tevye has for his life. So he's tested - does he side with his children, or does he side with his community and his faith?"

The play is a bit different from many other high school productions, said seniors Joe Bruen and Caleb Henkelman.

"It's much more serious than any of the musicals I've been in before because it deals with such big issues," Henkelman said. "You have to take it more seriously in some sense, which is a different thing for me. On stage I've always played comedic roles, so I have to tone that down."

Fact Box

If you go

What: "Fiddler on the Roof"

Who: Fort Dodge Senior High musical

When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Where: Decker Auditorium, Iowa Central Community College

Tickets: Students, $5; Adults, $10; available at the door, Hy-Vee or Choice Printing

'Fiddler on the Roof' cast list

Tevye - Seth Nelson

Golde - Janessa Laupp

Tzeitel - Kjerstin Grindberg

Hodel - Natalie Dillon

Chava - Meg Fink

Schprintze - Harper Lee Martin

Bielke - Natalie Halverson

Motel - Tyler Teske

Perchik - Joe Bruen

Lazar Wolf - Tim Hatton

Yente - Kelsey Chingren

Rabbi - Daniel Peet

Mendel - Jacob Amhof

Avram - David Kilian

Nachum - Caleb Henkelman

Grandma Tzeitel - Madeline Ascherl

Fruma-Sarah - Sarah Amhof

Constable - Jordan Narber

Fyedka - Ben Ahlers

Shaindel - Libby Redmond

Sasha - Austin Sanford

Yussel - Eddie Shimkat

Mordcha - Nick Shaw

The Fiddler - Nathan Moore


Golde - Jamila Shing-Hon

Hodel - Kenzie Elsbecker

Perchik - Rob Leigh

Tzeitel - Chloee Narber

Henkelman plays Nachum, the beggar, and Bruen plays Perchik, one of the love interests.

"The setting is completely different," Bruen said. "It's in Russia. The previous two years we were just plain Americans, so we have to change our behavior."

"We have to try to follow the traditions as close as possible, which is what the whole play is about," Henkelman said.

One of the challenges has been getting all the large group scenes together, he said.

"This is a very chorus-involved show, compared to last year that didn't really have any big chorus numbers."

Bruen added, "There's a lot of different people doing different things at the same time."

He really enjoys playing his character.

"I get to act really cocky and intelligent. It's a fun role," Bruen said. "I really enjoy his lines. They're really funny. They're still serious, and somewhat heartfelt at times, but there's other times where it's really ridiculous things that I get to say."

Henkelman said his favorite part is doing the dream sequence.

"Essentially we play ghosts in that, so it's creepy but funny at the same time," he said. "I think that's one of the scenes people will go away remembering."

"Also one of our songs, 'To Life,' is going to be really fun," Bruen said. "We've had fun working on that."

Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or



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