Fiddler in Miami

The students from Miami School put on the musical Fiddler on the Roof recently including one dinner theatre performance. (supplied photo)

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Miami School’s presentation of Fiddler on the Roof was everything students and teachers thought it would be as 43 students from Grade 7 through 12 took to the stage to belt out songs while having a little fun on stage.

“That number was only the students on stage acting when you throw in the all the staff and everyone helping out backstage we are at around 60 people involved,” said Director, along with many another titles, Jennifer Nichol. “The kids were cranking it out of the park. They blew everyone away when they were on stage. We don’t do musicals every year. The last one was three years ago when we did Anne of Green Gables.”

The group of students and teachers has been hard at work since November memorizing lines, songs, and dance routines. It wasn’t all smooth sailing up to the show as the recent snow day cancellations managed to line up with rehearsal days, forcing the group to meet at emergency rehearsals. Despite the minor hiccup, the musical and one-night dinner theatre went off without a hitch.

“We have kids helping with sound, lights, props and other things like that behind the scenes,” said Assistant Director and backstage manager, Curtis Janzen. “We have people involved all over, no teachers were on stage but there were a few helping out behind the scenes. Our after-school rehearsals were once a week until about a month ago when we ramped it up to as many times as we could meet.”

Another struggle the group was poised to overcome was the fact that students at Miami School aren’t involved in one extracurricular activity as most take part in other things like basketball, wrestling, and dance. The shows ran Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week with the Dinner Theatre show happening Thursday evening.

“Traditionally we do two shows and one of them is a dinner theater performance,” said Nichol. “We figured because Fiddler is such a big show, and we normally don’t do a musical, we figured we would give the community and actors another performance opportunity Friday. All of them were great.”

Parent volunteers were needed to help out with the dinner theatre production. All money raised from the dinner theatre goes toward Miami School’s Travel Club which is planning to go to Europe next year.

“We were very fortunate this year that we received a grant from the Miami and Area Foundation for the majority of the rights to produce the play,” said Nichol. “That will allow us to keep most of our proceeds and put them toward next year. A Youth in Philanthropy grant also helped us to run some actual real stage lighting and a new high tech soundboard.”

Janzen adds the staff are so proud of all the students who braved the stage or helped out backstage.

“The kids were all so exhausted after the second show but they kept reaching down to find that extra bit remaining in the tank and they really just knocked it out of the park,” he said.

The crowd was very engaged and supportive throughout each show as well. The student actors were able to find an extra gear thanks to the playfulness of the audience around them.