JHC stage show spans generations

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James Hargest College Year 11 pupil Lydia Blomfield transforms into the lead role of Tevye, the milkman, for the school's production of Fiddler on the Roof.

ALTHOUGH written in the 1960s and set in a small Russian village in 1905, Fiddler on the Roof is still relevant today.

From tears of laughter to tears of sadness, the classic musical will no doubt appeal to all ages with its intergenerational themes and portrayal of wartorn communities and of people being displaced.

More than 150 James Hargest College (JHC) pupils were involved, with 40 cast in the various roles, 35 in the orchestra and many others working backstage.

Based on a book by Joseph Stein, the story centres on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colourful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instil traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Tsarist Russia.

With more than 50 JHC shows under his belt, director Jonathan Tucker said this would be the first time the college had performed the show.

Playing the lead role of Tevye, Year 11 pupil Lydia Blomfield described her character as a “very unique, diverse character, who shows multiple emotions.

“He is a really good challenge to play.”

It took 15 minutes for the 16-year-old to transform from a young woman, to the traditionally Jewish dressed milkman with a full beard, which she described as “warm” to wear.

Although Blomfield had not seen Fiddler on stage, she had seen the movie.

Her previous stage experience included playing an orphan in Annie, as well as in the youth production of the Invercargill Musical Theatre Company’s The Wizard of Oz.

Recently, she took part in the Sehilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington, which she described as an “amazing experience”.

Tucker described her audition as “stunning” and her performance as “powerful”.

“She will pull it off with aplomb,” he said.

Musical director Emma Jarman said Blomfield’s ability to maintain a low male growl throughout the production, especially through all songs, was also astonishing.

Year 13 pupil Tessa Wells was choreograper for the production, while Jarman would assist Year 12 pupil Brianna Loan to conduct the orchestra.

Well-known songs include Tradition, If I Were A Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset and Matchmaker, Matchmaker.

“Everybody that walks through that door will have a connection with a character and the show,” Jarman said.

  • Fiddler on the Roof, JHC senior campus auditorium, Tuesday, June 29, Wednesday, June 30 and Thursday, July 1, 7.30pm. Tickets, Adult $12, students/children $8, available from the senior campus office.
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