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'Fiddler on the Roof' to be presented this month by Family Musical Theatre


A 100-year-old taste of Jewish life comes to south county as Family Musical Theatre brings its summer 2004 production of "Fiddler on the Roof" to the Bayless High School Auditorium, 4530 Weber Road.

"Fiddler," featuring popular, beloved standards like the joyously wistful "If I Were a Rich Man,'' the comical "Matchmaker'' and the beautiful, heartfelt wedding ballad "Sunrise, Sunset,'' will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22, through Saturday, July 24, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 25.

Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets for children younger than 12 and seniors 55 years old and older cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For tickets or more information about the production, call (314) 894-0572 or (314) 481-3216.

Family Musical Theatre, or FMT, the production company for the summer shows headed by Mike and Diane Hesser of Oakville, has been presenting musicals for and by — literally, in some cases — families, as a "family" of community theater performers for the past 16 years each summer, according to a news release.

Aside from a great love of musical theater and after the audiences' enjoyment, an important part of the FMT's summer's production always is an opportunity to benefit others through the organization's efforts. Donating part of each year's production proceeds after expenses, the FMT has contributed from $60,000 to $65,000 over the past 16 years to local charitable organizations, the release stated.

The FMT's past productions have offered such diverse fare as "Mame,'' "The Wizard of Oz,'' "Bye, Bye, Birdie,'' "Camelot,'' "Oklahoma,'' "The King and I,'' and, in a seasonal change of pace, last year's winter presentation of "Nuncrackers: the Nunsense Christmas Musical,'' to close the holiday season.

This year's production of "Fiddler" marks the second time in 10 years the FMT has done the show.

The popular 1965 musical, based on stories by Sholom Aleichem — literally "peace be with you" in Hebrew — tells the tale of the small Jewish village of Anatevka, where dairyman Tevye, his wife, Golde, and their five daughters live a picturesque, though impoverished life.

The family as well as the town struggle to cope with love and community in the face of tradition, and the harsh existence of an ever-changing world under Russian rule in 1905. The production's message about tolerance, persecution, and perseverance is as contemporary today as it was 10 or 40 or even 100 years ago, the release stated.

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