Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, the Fiddler Cast did a run-through of the entire show.  We stood and applauded, all of us, through an extended ovation while I cheered, “Remarkable!  Extraordinary!”  My heart leapt at the achievement.  In 12 days, this wonderful company accomplished a feat I liken to the Olympics.  All singing, all dancing, all acting, portraying with deep commitment to the purposefulness of the story.  Before we began the run, we talked about the spirit of these people overcoming every obstacle to their deserved peace and happiness.  How their sense of humor, the ability to laugh at themselves before anyone else, and their love of God and family and community prevails over every hardship.  Like a giant wave, the performance of “Tradition” almost knocked me out of my chair.  There is great humanity and history in this ecstatic tribal ceremony and celebration that is the opening of the story.  In this performance was an abandon, a trust in what they were doing, that defined a growth and understanding of the values of this village of Anatevka that I hadn’t quite seen like this until now.  How freed they are!  It showed in their dancing, comic turns, depth of their scene work all through the run.   I think about the ancient tribes of the Jewish Bible…and the authors, Joseph Stein/librettist, Sheldon Harnick/lyricist, Jerry Bock/composer…hoping they would take pride in what we are experiencing in telling the tale of Tevye and His Daughters.  For me, there is this theme of how knowing Love is knowing Truth and there one knows what one must do to take responsibility for one’s happiness.  To bring a child into this world, to find one’s soul mate, the purity of this love!  It’s significance and power.  How it matters more than anything.  How the young people of this story know what they must do to survive and to find happiness.  How Tevye’s love for his children, in the end, is all that matters.  To strike the balance of Tradition and Renewal.  The merits of each, of both.  To continue.  To move on and prosper.  I think how the teenagers in this story of 1905 became our grandparents.  How they came to America with no money, no English language and created our futures.  Our families.  Against all odds.  They worked and worked hard.  They had Love and Faith and Hope.  And Tradition.

Tomorrow we have our last day of rehearsal at The Elks Lodge, our new, fantastic Rehearsal Hall. (Thank you, Tim Rater and The City Of Aurora)!   After a morning rehearsal, we will do another run-through for the Design Team and then Wednesday we move to the “Grand Lady”, The Paramount, onto the set!  We will begin Tech. Rehearsals until first performance on March 6!  Keep a good thought and hope to see you there soon!

-Jim Corti