What began as a small project for my colleague, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, has now become very big. I am referring to the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society and their spectacular presentation of the classical musical Fiddler on the Roof. I was among those fortunate enough to attend the May 22 VIP preview presentation of the show at the Giovanni Palatucci Facility (former Wagar High School) on Parkhaven
The production features professional actors Sam Stein as Tevye and Kalie Rae as Golde.
“Our community theatre has taken another step forward by recruiting professional actors in our two lead rolls,” said Councillor Brownstein, who is responsible for the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society and a long-time community theatre actor. “I think people are going to be amazed by how good community theatre can be.”
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The show is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. The original Broadway production of the show opened in 1964. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
Sam Stein is absolutely magnificent as Tevye. Ditto for Rae as Golde. Others who shine among the very large cast are Michelle Sasson as Tzeitel, Moriel Shahin as Hodel, Einav Ne'eman as Chava, Daniel Harroch as Motel, Kenny Stein as Perchik and Hannah Sheffren as Yente. We must also mention Grade 4 JPPS student Aidan Catriel as the Fiddler.
Councillor Brownstein and his brother Herb (a Dollard councillor) turn in fine performances as Lazar Wolf the butcher and the Rabbi respectively. Councillor Sam Goldbloom stands tall as the innkeeper. Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, who by day is the executive director of Le Waldorf in CSL, is part of the cast while Mayor Anthony Housefather and Hampstead Councillor and mayoral candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum have cameo roles, as does CSL's Director of Parks and Recreation David Taveroff.
And hats off to several of my District 2 constituents in the cast: the father and son team of Steve and Jesse Stein, Mike Rappaport, Cheryl Everett-Rajchgot and Seymour David. Dr. Jerrold Rappaport, a noted general practioner, serves as videographer and assistant to the director.
Brownstein has built up a very healthy organization, bringing in multiple corporate sponsors. The program book has a healthy supply of advertisements. And if you think Fiddler is a success, wait until next year's planned collaboration with the Black Theatre Workshop unfolds with the presentation of Hairspray.
The special preview show included a VIP reception, attended by many dignitaries and guests.
I will be back to see this show in June when we hold a special presentation in honour of our volunteers.
Tickets are available online at CSLDramaticSociety.com. Those without a computer can purchase tickets in person at the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.), Parks and Recreation office (7500 Mackle Rd.), or the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Blvd.).