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Paynesville Press - February 22, 2006

PAMS choir to stage 'Fiddler on the Roof Junior' this weekend

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Middle School Seventh and Eighth Grade Choir will present their second musical this weekend. Last year choir members performed "The Music Man Junior," and this year they will stage "Fiddler on the Roof Junior," a condensed version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Tevye and Golde Nearly four dozen choir students are part of the production, which will be staged first to the middle school students and staff on Friday, Feb. 24. Public performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the school auditorium on Friday, Feb. 24, and at the same time on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Eighth grader David Ruprecht will star as Tevye and Mariah Fuchs is Golde.

"Fiddler on the Roof Junior" is a one-act edition of the well-known Broadway musical, which was made into a movie in 1971. The Broadway version won nine Tony Awards in 1964, including Best Musical. The film version was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won three, but not Best Picture.

Familiar songs in "Fiddler on the Roof Junior" include: "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," and "Tradition." In all, this version of the musical features 11 songs and should last approximately 70 minutes.

All of the students in the choir are participating in the production. Auditions for the main parts were held in December, and cast rehearsals began after Christmas vacation in January. The students practiced both during the regular school day in choir lessons and in the evening.

The play is set in a Jewish village in Czarist Russia (circa 1905), starring milkman Tevye (David Ruprecht), his wife Golde (Mariah Fuchs), and their five daughters (Tzeitel, Kristine Hoeft; Hodel, Jackie Skoglund; Chava, Aly Schultz; Shprintze, Josie Magnan; and Bielke, Christy Escalera).

In the face of the changing times, Tevye is forced to choose between traditions and his daughters' wishes, especially when it comes to love. At the end of the play, the entire village is forced to leave, further splitting the family and friends.

Choir director Cheryl Bungum said she did not originally intend to stage another musical this year, having done "The Music Man Junior" last year with the seventh and eighth graders and "Bye Bye Birdie" this fall with the high schoolers. But she heard good things about this junior version of "Fiddler on the Roof," she said, and felt the students really benefit from doing a musical.

"I think the kids get a lot out of it in confidence, singing out, and getting on stage and into a character," she said.

Villagers in Anatevka She thanked the students and their parents, along with everyone who has helped with the production, for the committment to make the musical possible.

A lot of people have told Bungum that "Fiddler on the Roof" is their favorite musical of all time.

Villagers in Anatevka learn at the end of "Fiddler on the Roof Junior" that they must leave their Russian village. Cast members, from left, are: Trevor Spanier, Matthew Lennzmeier, Ethan Brown, Matt Everson, Matt Frenchick (hidden), Crystal Roberts, Briana Temple, Holly Twedt-Coulter, Marian Fuchs, and David Ruprecht.

"Fiddler on the Roof Junior" will take the place of the seventh and eighth grade choir's spring concert.

"Fiddler on the Roof Junior" is part of the Broadway Junior Collection. It is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019.

There is no charge for admission. Instead, a freewill offering will be taken at the door to defray the costs of this production and support future productions.

Performances Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m. The PAMS Seventh and Eighth Grade Choir will present "Fiddler on the Roof Jr." on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

A freewill offering - to defray costs - will be taken at the performances.

Cast of Characters:
Fiddler on the Roof Junior Tevye: David Ruprecht
Golde: Mariah Fuchs
Tzeitel: Kristine Hoeft
Hodel: Jackie Skoglund
Chava: Aly Schultz
Shprintze: Josie Magnan
Bielke: Christy Escalera
Motel: Michael Vaske
Perchik: Sam Bungum
Lazar Wolf: Zach Cole
Fiddler: Jessica Briggs
Yente: Briana Temple
Constable: Trevor Spanier
Fyedka: Adriano Ihrke
Mordcha: Mitchell Meed
Yussel: Randy Shelton
Rabbi: Matthew Lenzmeier
Mendel: Matt Frenchick
Avram: Matt Everson
Sasha: Brent Schlangen
Russians: Brent Schlangen and Jon Solum
Women: Melissa Hawkinson, Janice Boeck, and Kayla Youngs
Men: Cody Lieser and Ethan Brown
Papas: Ethan Brown, Adriano Ihrke, Matthew Everson, Matthew Lenzmeier, Cody Lieser, Randy Shelton, Jon Solum, and Hayden Spaeth
Mamas: Janice Boeck, Kelli Fuchs, Rachel Fuchs, MaKayla Gottwald, Melissa Hawkinson, Jenna Kincade, Crystal Roberts, Alyssa Schmid, Briana Soine, Megan Wolters, Megan Wuertz, and Kayla Youngs
Daughters: Shelby Goltz, Taylor Hendrickson, Greta Keller, Holli Kern, Jenn Kiffmeyer, Emily Magedanz, Kristyn Osterhaus, Holly Twedt-Coulter, Bridget Weber, and Brianna Zenner
Sons: Matt Frenchick, Mitchell Meed, Brent Schlangen, Trevor Spanier, and Tanner Wendroth

Director: Cheryl Bungum
Stage Managers: Brianna Fischbach, Karla Leitzman, and Lauren Vaske
Set: Ian Pelton and Gretchen O'Fallon
Props: Robyn Spaeth
Lights: Mike Putzke and Jeremy Schmidt
Costumes: Colleen Pelton and seamstress crew

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