Fiddler’ starts in 18 days
The Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune, Wednesday, August 1 1973
Hastings first to see smash-hit musical
Hastings audiences get the first look in Hawke’s Bay at the world-popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof” exactly 18 days from today.
“Fiddler” based on the story of Tevye the Jewish dairyman who is evicted from Tsarist Russia in 1905, has broken attendance records both as film and a musical in Britain, America, Europe and Africa.
It has been so popular that there are at least three different full-length recordings of this musical on the market in New Zealand.
Now it is being staged live in Hawke’s Bay with the flavour, music and dancing of the original production which made the actor Topol a household name.
In the lead role of Tevye is Napier baritone Robert Houston, who is described by the producers as one of the few New Zealanders capable of doing the Topol part.
The producers are Napier Operatic Society whose string of successes in their 99-year history include last year’s joint production of “Oliver!” “Camelot”, “Sound of Music” “Vagabond King” “Music Man” “New Moon” and “Merry Widow.”
They are staging the musical for 2½ weeks, the first week in Hastings from Saturday fortnight to the following Saturday. On Wednesday August 29, the show will transfer to Napier.
The revolving stage, scenery and lighting will be set up in the Hastings theatre next Sunday when a team of men from Wanganui arrive to help the Napier stage crew assemble it.
When the job is completed later in the week, the cast will move into the theatre for intensive dress rehearsals, which will continue until the opening matinee on August 18.
Surprise in post for Diana
Diana Stewart, the leading lady in “Fiddler on the Roof” is playing a role she never expected to get.
She is a Dunedin-trained singer who came to Napier a number of years ago and established herself with Napier Operatic Society and Napier Repertory.
She waited in the queue for 61 people who auditioned for roles in “Fiddler” and went home after a strenuous session, hoping that she had qualified for the chorus. A week later she got a letter in the post saying she has been chosen as Golde, Tevye’s wife and mother of five girls.
“I was stunned. It took a long time for it to sink in, but I’m enjoying every minute of it,” she said.
Her five daughters are being played by Robyn Houston (Tzeil), Jan Fulford (Hodel), Lynda Poynter (Chava) Bridget Alexander (Sphrintze) and Pauline Davidson (Beilke).
Stage will be raised ten inches
The stage in the Hastings Municipal theatre is to be built up by 10 inches for “Fiddler on the Roof”
And when the show’s week-long season has ended, the staging is to be lifted carefully and transported to Napier for the Napier season.
The extra height is to accommodate the wheels and transistorised controls of a 30 ft diameter revolve which will swing Tevye’s house in and out of the seasons.
The revolve is much larger and more sophisticated than the unit which changed the scenery in “Oliver!” last year. It needs to be. It travels in two directions and at variable speeds.
Instead of sitting above the stage as did the unit last year, the stage is being built up to meet it and the revolve will be barely discernible. Sitting on top of it will be a large peasant cottage which swings round to reveal the interior.
The effect of the revolve will be that scene changes will take 30 seconds compared with the two minutes it would take to do the job manually. With 19 scene changes that would add 38 minutes to the duration of the show.
City’s top performers in “Fiddler on the Roof”
The 13 Hastings people who qualified for the cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” include some of the city’s top performers in musical theatre.
Sadie Brown, whose character acting and powerful singing voice won her acclaim before she took on the direction of plays and musicals is coming back to the stage as Yente the matchmaker.
Christopher Gibbs, last seen in melodrama for Keirunga Players, Havelock North, is an Englishman with a rich baritone which has won him years of leading roles in British productions of “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific,” “Showboat,” and “Rose Marie.” He will be playing the role of the grotesque butcher, Lazar Wolfe.
David Pipe, who last year made an impact in the lead role of the “Boy Friend,” is appearing as the radical student Perchik.
June Keough, who as Mrs. Sowerberry the undertaker’s wife in “Oliver!” last year, will fly across the stage in a harness and swoop among the cast as she signs the scary nightmare song. She is playing Frumasarah, the butcher’s bitter selfish wife, dead 20 years.
Also in the role of a person long-since dead is Jill Tobin as Grandma Tzeitel, who haunts Tevye in his sleep for making the wrong decision about his daughter’s marriage. Jill played the lead in “Merry Widow” earlier this year and was understudy to Nancy in “Oliver!” last year.
Digby Edgecombe, a Havelock North schoolteacher who featured as Barnaby in “Hello Dolly” plays the bumbling poor tailor Motel Kamsoil.
Anthony Bewley, the undertaker in “Oliver!” plays Nachum the beggar.
Terry Kelliher, an up-and-coming member of workshop groups, plays Mendel, the Rabbi’s son.
Other with minor roles are Brian Overend, Jean Hill and Beryl Ritchie.
And then there are Peter Dixon and Wayne Anderson as Sasha and Duvidel, two of the Russian dancers.
For all of them there has been a 15-mile journey from Hastings to Coronation St, Ahuriri, twice, thrice and sometimes four times a week for rehearsals. Some Sunday rehearsals have begun at 10 in the morning and ended 12 hours later.
Photo caption – Robert Houston in the role made famous by Topol.
Hastings Municipal Theatre 18-25th August
(including 2 matinees)
NAPIER – August 29-September 8 (including 2 matinees)
NOTE – SCHOOL HOLIDAYS COMMENCE 18th AUGUST
BOOK BY POST
FORGET THE WORRIES AND QUEUES – JUST SIT DOWN AND COMPLETE THE CUT-OUT FORM BELOW
GET THE SEATS OF YOUR CHOICE
Postal Bookings received until 13th August (no booking fee). Book at Foster Brooks from 13th August.
TO: The Secretary
Napier Operatic Society
P.O. Box 756,
Please send me by return the following seats
NUMBER Adults Children
PLEASE SEND STAMPED SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE
Postal Booking Prices for all performances throughout Theatre
ADULTS $2.50, CHILDREN 50c.
Proceeds from first night only (of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Municipal Theatre, Hastings) go to the Hastings Lions Club and tickets for this night only –
SAWYER + SONS
MAKE A HOUSE INTO A HOME
Prestige is a proud new Valiant
CHRYSLER REGAL 770
Six Seater Saloon.
CHRYSLER RANGER XL
4 door family car
CHRYSLER CHARGER 770
Cars of Distinction
with safety in mind
Courteous after Sales
JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY
Peter Fleming 68-132
Fred Robinson 82-107
Trevor Darby 85-717
I.H. Gay 712
HASTINGS 68-198, WAIPUKURAU 694
POWER TOOL & AAPLIANCE
HECTOR JONES LTD
POWER TOOL CENTRE
CORNER OF KING & QUEEN STS, PHONE 89-049.
WE COLLECT AND DELIVER IF REQUIRED.
for all HOME APPLIANCES and SOUND EQUIPMENT
ULTIMATE, THORN, FOUNTAIN, MAJESTIC AND ORION
see ARNOLD and BETTY McIVOR
220 Heretaunga St West,
Phone 85-974 Hastings.
Make it a “NIGHT OUT”
for a Delightful Meal
before going on for your
Full a-la-carte menu
AND A WELCOME ALWAYS
MARIO’S COFFEE LOUNGE
310 Heretaunga St East
We, at Hutchinsons, wish the Producer and Cast every success in their presentation
“Fiddler on the Roof”
May every performance play to a packed house!
THE CARPET, FURNITURE & DRAPES SPECIALISTS
Ray Hutchinson LIMITED
HERETAUNGA ST EAST, HASTINGS, PHONE 82-144.
drive into Firestone FOR FAST ECONOMICAL SERVICE
FIRESTONE TYRE SERVICE CO. LTD
CORNER TOMOANA AND HERETAUNGA ST,
MAXIMUM INTEREST FOR REGISTERED
DEBENTURE STOCK AND UNSECURED NOTES
Interest payable each quarter.
Applications can only be accepted on an application form issued with a printed copy of the Prospectus
GENERAL FINANCE LIMITED
Branches at Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Napier, Hastings, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Christchurch and Dunedin. Associates in Gisborne, Masterton, Palmerston North and Invercargill.
Any Special Events Coming Up?
Perhaps a wedding, Dance or a 21st Birthday, Come and see our range and ask for a quotation.
HERALD TRIBUNE PRINT LTD.
200 Queen St E., HASTINGS. Phone 68-100
HASTINGS LIONS CLUB
FIRST NIGHT’S PERFORMANCE PROCEEDS
“Fiddler on the Roof”
WILL BE USED TO ASSIST A CHARITABLE ORGANISATION