‘Fiddler’ 2017 breaks all SCP records – L’Chaim!

By Ande Jacobson

This run just keeps surpassing itself. The Sunnyvale Community Players production of Fiddler on the Roof continues to receive not one, but two standing ovations every performance, and as of 29 September 2017 (one quarter of the way through its penultimate weekend), the run completely sold out. As written in the background pieces – promising cheers and tears, tech week chronicles from the pit, and why his run – this production means a great deal to everyone involved with the show. Rather than rehashing the background already discussed at length, this article attempts to provide some more video insights into this heartfelt journey.

Although some of the videos that follow have appeared in the aforementioned articles, not all of them have, and they tell quite a story. And now, given the tickets are all sold, they also allow many who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience a small whiff of this production. They also allow the many who have seen it (or lived it) to enjoy another look at some key moments.

This first video is the most recent and wasn’t planned. During warm-ups before the first performance of the fateful penultimate weekend, the orchestra had just finished polishing a particularly difficult portion of the John Williams piece that they play each intermission. Instead of stopping, they continued into the truly magical portion of this work. Co-Director, Steve Shapiro, did a little quick thinking, pulling out his trusty iPhone and capturing this impromptu display. The abounding comradery and admiration within this theatre family are quite evident.

The next video hearkens back to the beginning of the rehearsal period for this production in a promotional sequence interspersing early cast music rehearsals with pieces of Eric Sun practicing his violin cadenza. Piano accompaniment is provided by Benjamin Belew. The backstory of how Eric began his journey to master this challenging work can be found in the other A Good Reed Review articles linked above, and of course in the show’s program if you are lucky enough to have secured a ticket to witness this production in person.

This next video is from the first time the orchestra and cast met at Sitzprobe #1. Note that this was also the first time the orchestra members met each other in rehearsal. Up until this point, cast rehearsals were conducted with either a computerized rehearsal track, or piano only, and the orchestra members practiced their parts alone, in the privacy of their personal spaces.

The pictures in the next video are still shots of the stage action from scenes throughout the show during tech rehearsals, and the audio is from our recording session of the John Williams mini-symphony on the second night of tech. That recording session was part of the background for an upcoming feature story in a major national magazine.

The next several videos are also from tech week showing the cast (accompanied by the orchestra) in action.

Portions of the show’s opening number, ‘Tradition!’ follow:

A more somber number is captured in this video of portions of ‘Sabbath Prayer’:

There are numerous vivacious moments in the story as well, and this video shows a stunning compilation of celebratory dancing choreographed by Marcie Shapiro along with a bit of boisterous vocalizing:

Moving on to a critical point in the story, change being the one constant in the world, ‘Chavala’ is extremely poignant:

Much of the news focus for this production has surrounded Eric Sun, and for good reason. This feature story with NBC Bay Area was filmed the first Sunday of the run, and the piece aired two days later telling how Eric reenergized his music to connect so many others in the community while he still could.

Many of the people involved with this production have done the show before in various capacities, but for all involved, this run is by far the most memorable and poignant, and audiences agree.

It truly does take a village of dedicated people to mount a production of this magnitude, and although many audiences remember the cast, there are far more who are unseen. The cast, orchestra, and production staff for this extraordinary run includes:

Named Characters: Dan Kapler (Tevye), Sarah Bylsma (Golde), Julianna Garber (Tzeitel), Roxanne Couch (Hodel), Anna Feenstra (Chava), Amalya Salamo (Shprintze), Kennedy Bahr (Bielke), Merav Berger (Yente), Ted Sclavos (Motel), Sam Nachison (Perchik), Grégoire Martinseu (Fyedka), Dan Shaindlin (Lazar Wolf), Eric Sun/Griff Derryberry (Fiddler), Ben Hatch (Mordcha), Douglas Lippi (Avram), Jake Wolenberg (Nachum), Linda Solis (Grandma Tzeitel), Rob Hodges/Steve Shapiro (Rabbi), Giuseppe Vaccaro (Mendel), Smita Patibanda (Fruma-Sarah), Doug Eivers (Constable), Cynthia Rust Greaves (Shaindel), James Schott (Russian Soloist);
Remaining ensemble not previously listed: Stacie Allen, Elyse Cook, Kenneth Derryberry, Annika Diekgers, Jackson Hayward, Michele Melvin, Hannah Milton, Corrine Oestreich, Olivier Plamondon, Véronique Plamondon, Megan Reed, Joanne Rettberg, Julianne Shapiro, Melody Shapiro, David Yanez

Conductor: Kevin Surace
Strings: (Violin 1) Eric Sun, Nathaniel Mailoa; (Violin 2) Luke Peng, Griff Derryberry; (Violin 3) Karen Law, Jamie Yuen, Karen Kenrick, Sue-Mae Saw (2 each performance); (Viola 1) Judy Beck, Lori Jensen; (Viola 2) Geri Actor, Goetz Leonhardt, Lisa Antonio (2 each performance); (Cello) Annette DeSchon, Rob Gloster; (Bass) David Lake; (Guitar) Michael Perry
Accordion: Pauline Samson
Woodwinds: (Flute/Piccolo) Doreen Oroshnik, Eileen Wickemeyer, Asa Stern (1 per performance); (Clarinet) Ande Jacobson; (Bass Clarinet/Clarinet) Steven Holmes, Sarah Moulder (1 per performance); (Oboe/EH) Marty McHan, Rebecca Ritger (1 per performance); (Bassoon) Keith Leung
Brass: (Horn) Jerry Simon; (Trumpet) Bill Hunsicker, Ken Thomas, Mark Bishop, Rebecca Bishop (3 per performance); (Trombone) Jason Loveman
Synth (Harp/Accordion sub): Benjamin Belew
Drums and Percussion: Bob Wylie

Production Staff:
Directors: Steve Shapiro, Matt Welch
Music Director: Kevin Surace
Vocal Director: Mary Carroll
Choreographer: Marcie Shapiro
Producer: Raissa Marchetti-Kozlov
Co-Producer: Jen Maggio
Artistic Director: Matt Welch
Production Manager: Patti Reed
Technical Advisor: Alex Martin
Stage Manager: Rachel Nin
Assistant Stage Managers: Dana Cooper, Hailey Shapiro
Set Designer: Matt Welch
Lighting Designer: Rich Amerson
Costume Designer: Jo-Ann Birdsall
Sound Designer: Grant Huberty
Properties Master: Casey Keys
Master Carpenter: Dan Rich
Master Electrician/Lightboard Operator: Michael Bjorge
Follow Spot Operators: Bob Martin, Ryan Vosper, Blaire Chennault
Backstage Crew: Casey Keys (Deck Chief), Libby Brill, Shirley Brill, Deborah Cuddy, Susan Hayward, David Mitchell
Sound Engineers: Angela Yeung, Nick Moline
Assistant to the Choreographer: Shirley Brill
Dance Captain: Annika Diekgers
Audition Pianists: Benjamin Belew, Matt Bourne
Rehearsal Pianist: Benjamin Belew
Cultural Consultants: Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, Lorri Lewis
Production Assistants: Rosie Lewis, Sherwin Lewis
Set Build Team: Griff Derryberry, Juergen Diekgers, Susan Hayward, Dan Schkolnik, Kathy Stiles
Assistant Seamstresses: Sarah Birdsall, Kathy Stiles, Mari DeLaurier, Alette Mahler, Susie Lew
Doll Designer/Seamstress: Ana Williams
Bottle Dancing Consultant: Peter Schuurmans
Makeup/Hair Artist: Mia Ciravolo
Production Photographer: Lyn Flaim Healy
Box Office Manager: Barbara Moline
Lobby Helper: Hannah Reed
Marketing/Publicity: Marcie Shapiro
Sunnyvale Theatre Technical Director: Bill Rupel
Sunnyvale Community Services Manager – Arts and Marketing: Trenton Hill
Sunnyvale Performing Arts Coordinator: Nathan Truitt

Special Thanks:
Douglas Morrison Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Professor Oak Productions, South Bay Musical Theatre, Kevin Davies, Alex Martin, Bob Martin, Aaron Weisberg

The show ends 8 October 2017, and for everyone involved, this journey has created a lifetime of memories. L’Chaim!

Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition) by MGM (Video & DVD)
Fiddler on the Roof: Based on Sholom Aleichem’s Stories
Fiddler on the Roof (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Fiddler on the Roof: Vocal Selections
Tevye’s Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem
Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish classics) by Sholom Aleichem
Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem
An iconic tidbid from closing weekend:

Update – 20 December 2017: Eric Sun died on Thanksgiving Day 2017, but so many will remember him playing the way he did in this video of the John Williams Selections from Fiddler on the Roof played during intermission every performance shot closing weekend. Here’s to Eric, “to infinity and beyond.”

(Photos and videos courtesy of Sunnyvale Community Players)


2 thoughts on “‘Fiddler’ 2017 breaks all SCP records – L’Chaim!

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