The musical Fiddler on the Roof couldn’t be more relevant in the world today.
“It is set in Ukraine,” says Jack O’Brien who plays Fyedka, a Russian, in the touring production of the musical, which runs at Altria Theater through April 10. “It’s very poignant to what is happening now. They become refugees. We are dedicating our performance to Ukraine and encouraging donations. Our hearts go out to the people in Ukraine.”
O’Brien has been with the tour since 2018. He is a member of the original touring cast. “I love being part of the show,” he says.
Picking back up after a long hiatus because of COVID-19, has been an interesting process, he says.
“You had to build up your stamina because we perform eight times a week. About half the cast came back so they know the show like the back of their hand. Half are learning it for the first time. It’s a wonderful reunion with friends. Everyone is so excited to go back to performing,” he says.
Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love, and laughter. Classic Broadway hits include To Life (L’Chaim!), If I Were A Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset, Matchmaker, Matchmaker, and Tradition.
The original Broadway production of the musical, which opened in 1964, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year.
O’Brien loves the collaboration involved in musical theater. “There are so many moving parts to it to make it work,” he says, adding there are more than thirty members in the cast of this show. “That’s what drew me to it. Being live and having an audience is such a great experience.”
The show has extra meaning for O’Brien because he is able to tour with his husband, the show’s merchandising manager.
In the production, Fyedka is the third suitor to the third youngest daughter of Tevye, who isn’t happy with the actions of his daughters because they wish to marry for love.
“Fyedka is Russian, not even Jewish. I represent this outside pressure,” he says. “It’s a complicated character to play. He is very educated and wants to make a difference. In the end, he ends up marrying the daughter and gives up his privileged life to be part of this community. Everyone is being forced out of Russia. They choose to leave and become refugees.”
He sees a lot of himself in his character – the way they both envision a behttps://broadwayinrichmond.comtter world though the power of education. Even though the show has some somber moments, it is also “very funny with love, heart and family,” he says. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful production. We are giving people a good show and also leaving people with something to think about. I am just a puzzle piece in the whole thing.”
Tickets are on sale at these official websites BroadwayInRichmond.com and AltriaTheater.com, the Altria Theater Box Office and by phone at 1.800.514.3849 (ETIX).
Important Notice: Beginning April 2022, Broadway in Richmond is no longer requiring proof of vaccine or a negative test for entry but is encouraging wearing of masks for all patrons, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. Children under two years old will not be admitted to Broadway in Richmond performances.