Personally I am not that big of a fan of musicals. But after seeing how hard these kids were working behind the scenes and knowing the story of how they accomplished what they did, I knew I had to go and support “Fiddler on the Roof.”
For two nights the drama department at Newton High School put on this show and I caught Saturday night’s performance and walked away incredibly impressed.
Tim Stammyer absolutely nailed his role as the male lead in the play Tevye. He displayed such an incredible dedication to his craft that he even sang in his wonderfully hilarious Yiddish-accent. Stammyer managed to not only get a lot of laughs in his role as the father, but also managed to hush the audience in the rare moments his character was forced to act serious.
The scene where he disowned his middle daughter Chava (portrayed by freshman actress Leah Hunter) cemented his legacy as one of NHS greatest thespians in his final hurrah as the senior prepares to move on to even bigger and better stages.
The make-up and costumes were absolutely fantastic as was the whimsical set designed by Marvin Campbell and built by the students. The orchestra was pitch perfect. What was even more impressive about the orchestra is that they have only been learning there parts since January and have dealt with so many practice and rehearsal cancelations. Orchestra director Jim Beerends did a fantastic job with his group.
Another moment that completely took me by surprise was how good of a singer senior Daniel Maurer was. Maurer played the tailor Motel Kamzoil, but I know him better as a member of the speech team and one of the murders of Chewbacca along with Stammyer and sophomore Jackson Forck. It was pretty cool seeing him in another light.
Without a doubt the breakout performance of the show had to be when Hodel, (the second oldest daughter, who was portrayed by senior Lauren Henderson) sang her solo. Her voice was mesmerizing and she managed to make her notes heard perfectly clear all the way to the back of the theatre where I was sitting. Senior Vinnie Hoskins, who played Perchi, Hodel’s fiancé, informed me that she learned her role in only 3 days after the original actress was removed. Henderson was simply amazing.
If you didn’t go see the NHS performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” you missed out. My date commented that “it did not seem like a high school production.” And she was right. The kids did an absolutely wonderful job and I’m blown away at how well they put it all together. There were quick-set switches, costume changes; constant background actions that made the village feel real and alive. There were also excellent group and solo singing numbers that didn’t feel intrusive, but more so as a way to help the story progress.
Kudos to Melinda Worthington for directing the play as well as she did. And congratulations to the kids of NHS drama for putting together a spectacular show and giving me a great date night within the city.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)792-3121, ext. 426, or firstname.lastname@example.org via email.