Originally created 09/29/05

Players bring back 'Fiddler on the Roof'



The set and the story are the same, but almost everything else about the Augusta Players' production of Fiddler on the Roof is brand new.

When the Players last staged the musical in 2001, it represented a bold step for the company. Investments were made in new costumes, props and a lavish set inspired by the art of Marc Chagall. Four years later, only the set seems familiar.

Richard Justice, the production director, said that although producing the classic musical again after only four years did cause the Players to pause, finances and public perception convinced them that it could be remounted.

"I think, as far as the public is concerned, four years seems like a lot longer," he said. "I think the ability to do this show, within our budget, outweighed the few ticket sales we might lose because someone saw this four or five years ago."

A revival of the play is now on Broadway, starring stage veteran Harvey Fierstein as the put-upon milkman Tevye. A few years ago, Alfred Molina was starring in a separate revival.

John Gary Pullen, who plays Tevye in the Players production, said that because the musical has been produced so many times and people have seen so many interpretations, there no longer is a right or wrong way to approach it.

"For the most part, this is a story that happens outside the general frame of reference," he said. "With the exception of a few egghead historians, and I mean no offense by that, there aren't going to be people sitting in the audience saying this is wrong or that wouldn't happen like that. That's very freeing."

Mr. Justice said the real pleasure for him has been returning to the play and tightening sections he felt were a little flat in 2001.

"You can always reinvent," he said. "We have an all new cast, a new approach. This gives us an opportunity to better what we did in 2001. This is our chance to polish."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

Onstage



What: Augusta Players production of Fiddler on the Roof

When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.

Cost: $12-$38

Phone: 826-4707