Students from Malibu Middle School sang and danced their way into the audience’s hearts with their rendition of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened on Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Malibu High School amphitheater.
Produced, directed and choreographed by MMS science teacher Mark Larsen, “Fiddler” is a story about Tevye, played by Milo Sposato, and his five daughters as they fall in love with various men with whom their father does not approve.
One by one, Tevye’s daughters get engaged to men of their choosing, which goes against the traditional idea of men asking Tevye for his daughters’ hands in marriage and other Jewish customs. Even though Tevye hesitates at first, he ends up granting his blessing to all but one daughter, who marries a Catholic man against her father’s will.
The middle school’s rendition of the popular musical was well-executed and well-performed. Sposato as Tevye sang well throughout the show, and delivered his monologues perfectly and with the confidence and stage presence of a seasoned actor.
Claire Anneet, who played Tevye’s wife, Golde, was convincing as a woman who was strict and traditional, and expected her husband to be traditional as well.
The entire cast of characters gave justice to the music of the show, performing hits such as “Tradition,” If I Were A Rich Man” and “Matchmaker” in key and with precise harmonies.
One unique aspect of the musical was the stage background. Instead of going with traditional set pieces to tell the audience where a scene was located, there was a digital backdrop that was able to be manipulated in real time.
For example, during a scene when Tevye was walking gingerly from stage right, he mimed that he was carrying a heavy wagon behind him. To illustrate that, there was a wagon on the digital background that moved as Tevye pretended to pull it, making it seem like he was actually interacting with the wagon on the screen.
In the instances where the cast danced choreography, they were in rhythm and did not make mistakes. During a scene where four characters were in a wedding reception, they each put a bottle on top of hats they were wearing, and balanced them on their heads while doing their choreography. The crowd erupted in applause after that particular section of the musical.
Overall, the musical is a delight for both the eyes and the ears. For only being in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, the students at MMS conduct themselves with professionalism and know how to entertain.
Malibu Middle School also performed “Fiddler on the Roof” on Feb. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m., and Mar. 1 at 2 p.m.