WANT TO GO?
"Fiddler on the Roof"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 4
WHERE: Clay Center
TICKETS: $37 and $61
INFO: 304-561-3570 orwww.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Robert Summers II plays Tevye in the national tour of "Fiddler on the Roof," coming to the Clay Center April 4. He first played the role when he was 23 and says he understands it more now that he's got life experience under his belt. There are few musicals with the longevity of "Fiddler on the Roof." First brought to the stage in 1964, the musical story of Tevye and his family set in the years just before the Russian Revolution ran on Broadway for 10 years and is still one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history.
It's also become a popular show for community and school theaters to perform because it's so well loved. That's in addition to international productions and national tours, like the one coming to the Clay Center April 4 in a Broadway in Charleston show.
Robert Summers II, who plays Tevye in the touring production of "Fiddler on the Roof," which comes to the Clay Center April 4 as part of Broadway in Charleston said the show endures because it resonates with just about everyone.
"The show is all about tradition and breaking from tradition," he said.
In one way or another, the struggle of the poor Jewish milkman and father to find his equilibrium when the traditions of his people are challenged is the story of most of us.
"I don't care who you are, it resonates. "It doesn't matter whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim or whatever. The play deals with family. Just about everyone has a family, and every family has its own set of traditions."
In Tevye's case, he struggles to balance his faith with the actions of his daughters, which push against the way their people have done things for generations. It's not a struggle with dogma, but a struggle to retain his identity in the face of change.
Summers has played Tevye several times but said there's always more to discover about the character.
"The first time I played Tevye, I was 23 years old and in college," he said. "I thought I understood him, but then again I didn't."
He understands him better now that he's in his mid-50s.
Summers thought actors need some mileage to really get under the skin of a character like Tevye. They needed to have lived a little to grasp the sort of man Tevye is.