Originally created 11/07/97

Actor's role in 'Fiddler' accented

AIKEN -Malcolm Beers is accustomed to playing small roles, and he doesn't mind.

"I've had a lot of fun, that's for sure," said the 76-year-old actor, who plays the Rabbi in the Aiken Diabetes and Kidney Benefit's production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Mr. Beers, who recently moved to Aiken to be near his family, has been acting for only six years but has numerous small parts to his credit. "I've been on Saturday Night Live three times and Conan O'Brien five times," he said. "I did a lot of cable (television) work and extra work. I did some commercials."

He also had a small part in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces, and he has done some off-Broadway plays and dinner theater.

This weekend, Mr. Beers will get the chance to show off his best skill: "I do accents, so the Rabbi is the perfect one for me," he said, using his best stereotypical New York Jewish accent. It's sort of a male Fran Drescher of The Nanny fame.

Fiddler on the Roof is the tale of a poor family in a village that's kept together by tradition. Teyve (Robert King) is the family patriach who wants his five daughters to be conformists, but three of them want to break from the most important of traditions by going against the village matchmaker (Ginger Ingram) and finding their own husbands.

Sallye Rich plays Teyve's wife, Goldie. The 85-member cast and crew are all volunteers, said Catherine Stapleton, the show's vocal director.

Fiddler On The Roof, written by Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, won a Tony Award for best musical during the 1964-65 Broadway season. It was turned into a film in 1971 and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three.

Among the play's famous tunes are If I Were a Rich Man, Tradition, Matchmaker and Sunrise, Sunset.

"This show is about family values, community values, traditions. It's a spiritual kind of show," said Frank DiBona, who is directing the benefit show.

Dr. DiBona, an Aiken physician, is a board member and founder of the Aiken Kidney Benefit, one of two charities that will receive proceeds from the annual event.

"We've been using the money to help patients (with kidney disease) in the Aiken area. We've been using it not for medicine, because that's usually covered, but for food, transportation, dentures. Most of (the patients) can't afford the day-to-day needs," he said.

The Aiken Chapter of the American Diabetes Association will share the receipts.

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