Fiddler cast pic
I’m sitting here in the upstairs Beef and Boards dressing room. The monitor in the ceiling is conveying “Do You Love Me?”, which Douglas Stark and Lynne Perkins Socey are singing to each other onstage. It is the second to last performance of our Fiddler on the Roof, the penultimate show in what has been a remarkable eight weeks for me and the 20+ cast and crew members whom I have shared the experience with.

Having been a part of this very well received production certainly has afforded me many opportunities. First of all, experiencing my fellow cast members: I always love working with the talented kids (they’re in their 20s and 30s, but I still call them “kids”) I meet in these shows. I always say that I wouldn’t have the young friends and acquaintances I have if I didn’t work in theatre. It’s great to see them perform and to hear their viewpoint on things in life. I cannot help but remember when I was a young actor facing the uncertainties and successes that they are facing. Many of them are headed for great things, I can tell…

Secondly, this is a rare show in which I am not the oldest cast member. I truly enjoyed sharing past experiences in conversations with Lew Hackleman (who played the Rabbi) whom I shared a dressing room with and who is a mere ten years my senior. Lew is the former head of the Drama Department at Indiana State University and has mentored such well-known Indianapolis talents as Eddie Curry and Ty Stover (and many, many more). Lew amazed us with the number of visitors he had in our audiences. It seemed he always was getting notes sent backstage to alert him that one past student or another was attending the show.

Mark Goetzinger (Lazar Wolf) is another new acquaintance. I had seen this skilled and polished actor many times onstage and was grateful to be in the same cast as he. Being nearly the same age as myself, Mark and I had more than a few “good old days” conversations about the great aspects of our youth: old television shows, or toys, or just life as it was then in the 50s and 60s. I value him as a new friend in town.

Working with old friends: Michael Davis (Mordcha), Carrie Neal (Shaindel) and her daughter Lucy (Shprintze), and Lynne Perkins Socey (Golde) was a treat, as well. One very nice thing about theatre in our community is the shared experience of doing many shows together and of seeing each other onstage from time to time. It’s always a comfort to go to that first rehearsal and see that one old friend or another will be sharing the stage with you. I also got to meet Carrie Neal’s younger daughter Mallory (Beilke), who was appearing in her first show ever! Both Neal girls did admirable jobs with their roles as Tevye’s youngest daughters, and I hope to see them onstage again and again.

Finally, I think I can speak for most of my cast mates, if not all, when I honor our Tevye, our leader, our boss: Douglas Stark. Doing 51 shows performing the lead role, while running the theatre operation and, of late, directing the upcoming Christmas production at Beef and Boards, makes Doug “the busiest man in show business”, at least in these parts. All my scenes as the Constable were played directly opposite his character, and I must say – it has been a great experience working with the man. Furthermore, the wonderful family atmosphere at B&B, the incredible way that the actors and staff are treated here, by management and by each other, makes this theatre one of the finest places to ply our craft. Many thanks to Doug and his family, who insure this is the way B&B does business.

So – another show ends, but more activities are on the horizon. Several of my cast mates move right into A Christmas Carol, which runs concurrently with A Beef & Boards Christmas at B&B. I will be preparing to start rehearsals for Yasmina Reza’s great play, ART, which I will be directing at Carmel Theatre Company – opening in late February. A trio of Fiddler cast members are heading up north for their Sunday night rehearsal of their next show A Christmas Story at The Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, Indiana; although most out-of-towners are heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday. The endless theatre cycle goes on – I am happy I am still aboard.