Nazareth Academy unites talents in ‘Fiddler’
Paula Johannesen is the "Fiddler on the Roof" in this weekend's production at Nazareth Academ. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:17AM
Brendan Green stomped and strutted, squawked and expounded and sang his heart out during a rehearsal for Nazareth Academy’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” opening April 20 in LaGrange Park.
Nazareth Academy students will perform the musical at 7 p.m. April 20 and 21 and at 1 and 6 p.m. April 22 in the school auditorium, 1209 W. Ogden Ave., LaGrange Park. Tickets are $18, and all seats are reserved. For reservations, contact director Kim White at (708) 354-0109, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
In bringing the lead role of Reb Tevye to life, Green relished the chance to return to the stage for the first time since he graduated from Nazareth in 2002. The Westchester resident now serves as a guidance counselor at his alma mater.
“They brought me out of retirement,” Green joked. “I may be a little slower, but the kids have so much energy and that helps. It’s demanding, but I’m loving it.”
Green said he can relate to his character as “a fun-loving, all-around good guy,” and he appreciates the chance to again work with director Kim White.
“I wanted to try something different,” said White, who approached Green and 1990 alumna Carolyn Brady Riley to star in the production. Riley, who plays Tevye’s wife, Golde, oversees drama productions at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, performs professionally and directs musicals on a freelance basis.
“As in everything in our lives, we learn from our parents and grandparents. It’s handed down,” White said. “Nazareth is full of great traditions and wonderful things that come from a long line. And with this, I got to bring the past and present together.”
White said students were a little skeptical at first about bringing in the alumni, but “now they don’t think they could picture doing the performance without them.”
Clarendon Hills senior Nancy Payne said she’s enjoying the benefit of the two adults’ experience on stage and the challenge of her role as Yente, an elderly widow and matchmaker.
“For the most part, I’ve always played people my age, so this is pretty cool,” Payne said. “It took a lot of work to get the Jewish accent and memorize all my lines. My mom is good at a New York accent and she helped me along with Mrs. White at lunch.”
La Grange junior Kerry Takash said she’s having a great time playing Fruma-Sarah, the ghost of the former wife of a man who wants to marry one of Tevye’s five daughters.
“I’m sitting on a guy’s shoulders as this ghost. I raise up my hands and have to shriek and scream,” Takash explained. “It’s really fun and I hope to be really scary, like I’m back from the dead and I mean business.”