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HomeArtLive Oak Theatre's "Fiddler on the Roof"

Live Oak Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof”

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The winner of nine Tony Awards, “Fiddler on the Roof,” is the creation of Broadway legends Jerome Robbins and Harold Prince, songwriters Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and playwright Joseph Stein. Deemed a musical theater staple by many, the musical is set in the fictional village of Anatevka and focuses on the lives of Tevye, a poor milkman, his wife, and his five daughters. This avowedly Jewish family strives to raise these young people with traditional values in the face of change and upheaval.

The filmed version of “Fiddler on the Roof”—which features much-beloved songs such as “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”—was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Picture and won a Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical. And now, this signature stage classic comes to life on the stage of the Live Oak Theatre.

Live Oak Theatre Company (LOT) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) repertory company of local artists located at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, 21030 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville, FL 34601. The Live Oak Theatre Company exists to enrich families, individuals, and the community as a whole by providing positive artistic experiences in the Performing arts, including excellent, affordable, and edifying family-friendly entertainment, performances, and educational opportunities for theater patrons and participants of all ages.

“Fiddler on the Roof” will be performed by two casts, with the orange cast set to perform Friday, 9/22, 7:30 pm; Saturday, 9/30, 2:30 pm; Saturday, 9/30, 7:30 pm; Friday, 10/6, 7:30 pm; and Saturday, 10/7, 7:30 pm; and the YELLOW cast, Sunday, 9/24, 2:30 pm; Friday, 9/29, 7:30 pm; Sunday, 10/1, 2:30 pm; and Saturday, 10/7, 2:30 pm.

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This production claims a very important place in the heart and history of Live Oak Theatre, where open auditions were conducted for the musical. “It has now been ten years since Live Oak Theatre arrived in Brooksville and performed ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ to an amazing sell-out crowd at Faith Evangelical Church Gym in Brooksville,” said Vince Vanni, spokesman of Live Oak Theatre. “We are truly excited to now perform it in our new home. Many of our students, who were children ten years ago, looked forward to auditioning for young adult roles. But this was a great time for nonmembers to take the opportunity to audition for the company. The ‘Villagers’ are very diverse in age.”

The lead character of this musical holds special meaning for Vanni, himself a seasoned thespian. “I performed the role of Tevye three times locally: in 1991 at Stage West, 1997 at the Show Palace (Now Suncoast Broadway), and 2013 at Live Oak Theatre,” he said. “Randi (Olsen, founder and artistic director of Live Oak) and I performed together in 1997 and 2013. I was 70 years old when I performed it in 2013. This time, I only auditioned for one of the oldest characters in the village of Anatevka. Randi will direct. I will help in coaching the actors to become Russian and Jewish villagers.”

A great deal of research and preparation by theater members have gone into this production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” “This will be the third time that Randi and I have collaborated on this production. By now, I believe that we have absorbed as much as anyone about the production, the history, and the Eastern European culture. For me, growing up in Brooklyn in a culturally diverse area (especially Italian and Jewish) brought me into very close and constant contact with Eastern European, Jewish, and Hasidic Jewish Communities. It is why this production has been so close to me,” said Vanni. “So many of our cast members voluntarily researched this. Discussing culture, etc., is a common conversation. What has truly grabbed many of us is the impact of the events in Ukraine, where the story takes place.”

Vanni says that his cast faced some substantial challenges in bringing “Fiddler on the Roof” to the stage. “First of all, a huge cast in an intimate theater setting means that the show’s principals are double cast… but, in their off days, they are in the ensemble, which means that the principals must totally absorb two roles,” he said. “Our choreographers and dancers are committed to reproducing all the dances accurately, including the bottle dance and the highly energetic wedding dance customarily performed by men only.”

Live Oak Theatre season passes are still available, as are reservations for “Fiddler on the Roof.” Live Oak season passes allow patrons to purchase multiple passes at a discount that can be used for any of our in-season productions, both main stage and youth theater productions. The purchaser may choose when they wish to attend an in-season show.

TICKET OPTIONS for 2023/2024
Main stage productions, individual seats:
$25 for adults and $10 for children 13 and under with the purchase of an adult seat.
Youth theatre individual production seats:
$20 for adults and $10 for children 13 and under with the purchase of an adult seat
Live Oak season passes:
Three admissions: $55 for adults, $25 for children 13 and under with the purchase of an adult seat.
Five admissions: $90 for adults, $40 for children 13 and under with the purchase of an adult seat.

The 2023-2024 season is as follows
Main Stage Musical Productions:
“Fiddler on the Roof”- Late September to Early October 2023
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” – Late March to Early April 2024
Youth Theatre Musical Productions
“Mary Poppins Jr.” – November 2023
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” – Early December 2023
“The Little Mermaid, Jr.” – May 2024

For more information about the Live Oak Theatre Company or to reserve seating or Flex passes, email [email protected], call 352-593-0027, or go to www.LiveOakTheatre.org. Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LiveOakTheatre.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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