Article Written by Ethan Johnson. Photo by Ethan Johnson.

In a time of turmoil worldwide, local theater company Central MN Theatre hopes to perform a piece with a rich set design and story that will warm the hearts of the local community.

Central MN Theatre began prepping to put on a production of Fiddler on the Roof in July, holding auditions in late August. On the eve of the premiere on October 26th, various cast members reflect on the experience and what it represents in scale to the larger world and current events.

“The show is relevant in the world right now; very few companies take on classic shows like this,” said Jacob Massmann, who plays the role of Motel.

That sense of comradery and respect for the work was across the board for the entire cast and born through the positive experiences and challenges brought about by the production. This was many members’ reintroduction to community theatre or first production with Central MN theatre, including the lead actors Steven Fyten and Rhonda Schmidt, who play Tevye and Golde, respectively. This is both of their first shows with the company. They both expressed challenges playing characters so much more different than who they are themselves.

“I felt very welcomed. Everyone has reached out and made me feel welcome playing a woman I’m too old to play,” Schmidt said, expressing bliss for the cast and production.

And now, with that inner support from within the cast, many of them are excited to share their gifts, talent, and passion with the audience. But more than that, many also want to show a side of humanity that they feel has been neglected by recent world events in the Middle East.

“In light of the current situation in the world, I hope to show that Jewish people are still people. They have kids; they have struggles; Tevye and Golde still struggle but love each other at the end of the day; they have the same emotions as anyone else,” Schmidt said.

To the cast, the show represents critical thinking and a different type of emotional palette that the audience can use to analyze events that shape their lives.

“It’ll be refreshing no matter how old the show is,” Fyten said.

Fiddler On the Roof opens on October 26th at 7 p.m. at the Sauk Rapids Middle School. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $30 for students and seniors and $35 for adults. Additional showtimes include October 27th, October 28th, November 2nd, November 3rd, and November 4th.