The national tour of Fiddler on the Roof is coming to Philadelphia; the first time the classic musical will play the Academy of Music in almost three decades! If you have yet to see this show- and you’re a big Broadway fan- get your tickets now!
This production is special because Israeli actor and director Yehezkel Lazarov plays Tevye, the main character of the show. It’s also directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher, with lyrics by original lyricist Sheldon Harnick and featuring choreography by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter.
With the national tour officially launching here in Philadelphia on October 23rd, we spoke with Carol Beaugard who plays Yente. Beaugard has appeared in many off-Broadway roles and Fiddler is her first experience in a touring cast.
Beaugard was kind enough to tell us all about preparing for the role of Yente, her experiences in theatre, why everyone in Philly should come see the show, and what she plans to do here in her downtime. Tickets and info can be found here.
Q: Fiddler is your first national tour. What are you looking forward to? Any cities you are excited to visit?
A: I’m looking forward to making people laugh. I love playing comedic roles and character roles and Yente is funny, but she’s also all business. I’m excited to show a great, expressive, entertaining character to audiences. I’m excited to see all of the cities on the tour. It’s thrilling to know that we’ll be traveling across the entire country.
Q: In a recent interview I read with Bluegrass Today, you mentioned that Fiddler was the first show you did as a young girl. Who did you play? Any fun memories from that production you’d like to share?
A: Thanks for asking! Yes, Fiddler was the very first show I ever did as a young girl. It was my first semi-professional experience. I was a young teenager and I played a villager. I especially remember dancing in the opening number “Tradition” and in “The Dream”. I remember the costumes and working with the choreographers who were very truthful to the original Jerome Robbins choreography. I remember how thrilling it felt to perform on a professional stage in front of a large audience. I was hooked!
Q: You quite recently started your acting career full time. What are some of your dream theatre roles you’d love to play someday?
A: There are so many! I’d love to play Aunt Eller in Oklahoma, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Sally Durant Plummer or Phyllis Rogers Stone in Follies, Seurat’s mother, the Old Lady in Sunday in the Park with George… also Clairee Belcher of Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias, Kate in Broadway Bound, Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie.
Q: How did you prepare for the role of Yente?
A: Our director Bartlett Sher talked to us about the history of Fiddler on the Roof and how it’s based on tales by Sholem Aleichem. I read historical books about the Jewish culture in 1905 and worked intensely with a dialect coach to develop Yente’s strong diction and rhythmic speech.
Q: How has your off-Broadway roles prepared you for hitting the road with a touring cast?
A: Working Off Broadway has given me the opportunity to work on great stages and often to create original characters in new works involving intense research and character development. Last year I made my Carnegie Hall debut in a work for actors with an orchestra portraying a Russian Jewish immigrant in Ellis Island, Dream of America. I also played a Jewish mother in the Off Broadway show Jackie Mason, the Musical.
Q: Fiddler on the Roof is such an important piece of Broadway history, a classic. Why should the people of Philadelphia come see it while the show is in town?
A: They should come because they will see the musical they know and love with gorgeous staging, lighting and scenic design. The show is absolutely gorgeous. The choreography is based on the original work by Jerome Robbins but given a vibrant, fresh interpretation by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter.
Q: What’s your favorite song from Fiddler?
A: I love the entire score but I adore “Sunrise, Sunset”. It brings tears to my eyes. I also love “Tradition” and now that I’m in the show “Tradition” is especially powerful because in our little village of Anatevka it’s at the center of our culture and our way of life.
Q: Is there anything you look forward to doing in your downtime while Fiddler comes to Philly?
A: I’m a history buff so of course I want to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and any historical sites relevant to the Founding Fathers. I may have to run up some stairs too and see Rocky’s statue!