Summer Season'2000
 

"Do you love me?..."

As Tevye with Cathy Greenwood as Golde

And What a Summer it was! Ivins, Utah; outdoor temperatures averaging 95 degrees at 8:30 PM on performance nights and for the first time in this run of the show I was able to see it realized as closely to script stage parameters as written including live animals, special effects and a ritual Tuacahn baptism for me with their trademark "flood". 'Fiddler' ran Monday, Wednesday and Friday in repertory with 'The Music Man' running the alternating weekdays, Sunday being dark. My bosses called the season "an unqualified success".

 


"As the Good Book says..."

Tevye and his daughters

Left to Right: Rebecca Greenwood (Cathy's real daughter) as Chava, Melinda Larson (see below) as Hodel and Katherine Matis as Tzeitel. Melinda also had her real daughter Miranda playing Tevye's next youngest daughter Bielke. Like her Mom, Becky was a real trooper singing beautifully and consistently playing one of the most wrenching scenes in the show with me (I hope her left shoulder survived). Katherine, also multi-talented, most impressed me with her comic timing playing Grandma Tzeitel in 'The Dream' as well. Let's face it; they're MY kids and I love them all.


"...Heal us O Lord, and we shall be healed,
which means: Send us the cure. We got
the sickness already!"

"We have always had our special types..."



Eddy Schumacher became much more than my understudy. Aside from playing the Constable, I drove him crazy all Summer with one little glitch after another. But he is a multi-talented singer-actor-musician-freemason-carpenter and family man. Also a top instructor of Seidokan at Schumacher's Real Karate in Santa Clara, he's not one who is easily rattled .

The Amazing Larsons: Brian (L) who was also the Company Manager and wife Melinda who played my daughter Hodel with a gorgeous soprano voice. Brian and Melinda teach the theater arts in St. George at Diamond Talent Productions
which they founded. This show couldn't have run well without them.

Don and Dawna Kenworthy: aside from running Kenworthy Sign and Monument in St. George, also run the town's leading Community venue in the St. George Musical Theater. They are two amazing people and Art is truly a family affair in their lives.

My fondest memories of this experience will always be in the corrals of Tuacahn with Stablemaster Terry Brooks (L) and the incredible team of Morgan Horses she raises and cares for. These horses are completely broken for stage performance. By about three weeks, my co-star "Little Big Man" (seen here) was responding to my voice commands and would walk on cue to his places. I would see him every week during rehearsal and try to walk him and sing to him before we brought him up to the stage. A handy bag of carrot pieces from the local market didn't hurt either. Other Morgans in the show were ridden by Eddy Schumacher (see below) and the Russian soldiers including "Jim" and "Padre". We also used chickens in the farmyard and a lovely cow called "Precious".


Once Upon a Time there was a beautiful little girl named Alex who came to Anatevka to sing and play, and Tevye loved her very much. Little did Tevye know that Alex was magic and she brought her wonderful Mother Jenny to the village to make music for all the people and write great arrangements for them to sing. Doc, Jenny and Alex Frogley helped us all live happily ever after and at last, Tevye understood where Alex got her magic from.

My dear friend Brenda Cox. Brenda played Widow Paroo
in our twin-cities production of "The Music Man". She took
most of the photos on that page and was featured along
with Jenny and Eddy in the 2002 Winter production of
"Utah!", then returned as Aunt Eller in"Oklahoma!" and as
Mrs. Potts in "Beauty and the Beast" with friend Eddy.
 
 


The Music Man

MUSIC MEN- As the "Rock Island Salesman" with Max Robinson (L) and Jim Bennett (R) who both starred as Harold Hill. Max is a fine actor regularly in seasonal repertory with the Pioneer Theater Company in Salt Lake City and Director John Caywood, has pulled a lot of curtain rope in his time as PTC's Stage Manager. He's an easy going soul who sort of "let's a show happen" and being a resourceful fellow, was fortunately able to purloin Max for this production. Jim put aside his executive duties at Tuacahn to take over when Max was called back for rehearsal at PTC during the last two weeks.

 

With Matt Dobson (L) who changed from a Stage Tech to actor in this show. He has a lyric Baritone voice that's really awesome. Also with us is Brett Palmer who did double duty as Fyedka and is a very talented singer-dancer-actor.
A highlight on this run was veteran actor Zale Kessler seen here as Mayor Shinn with me as his Public Servant- Constable Locke. Zale is a funny guy and also did duty in 'Fiddler' as Lazar Wolf. If you're a die-hard Mel Brooks fan, you'll remember him as Kaiser look-alike 'Jason Green' who auditioned for "The Producers" singing 'Have You Ever Heard A German Band?'. 
Zale returned in the '03 production of
"The Wizard of Oz" as the title character.

"Professor, you're a pretty bright
young feller!..."

as Constable Locke

Sets


This playspace runs a little longer in width than a football field. The only way to cross back- stage from left to right without being seen during a performance is by means of a tunnel running under the upstage area. The three small black rectangles in the background rocks (resembling small Kubrick monoliths) are actually 'Voice-Of-The-Theater' type speaker cabinets with full stereo separation (Left, Center and Right channel). Chief Stage Tech and Pyro Guy Mike Sappington took this panorama. A more detailed view of these settings can be found on his web site.

Finally, a look at the individual set pieces. At Left is the interior of Tevye's house, The Livery Stable of Jacey Squires at Center and the Madison Public Library at Right. These are realizations of John Wayne Cook, who, as a set designer, seems most skilled in plane geometry. They are all made to withstand outdoor elements and are to nearly full size as well as being portable and reversible interior to exterior or as a facade for "Fiddler" in the case of the Livery. An able assist for texturing and facade work was provided by the airbrush of Nick Adams who gets the weathered redwood look for the barn, the pale ash for Tevye's house and the gray tone of stoic granite for the library's columns and ceiling archways.

Reviews


St. George Independent -July 5, 2000

Russians On The Rocks- Fiddler On The Roof Rattles The Rafters at Tuacahn
By Linda Midgley

For the first four years in operation, the spectacular red rock amphitheater at Tuacahn presented the original musical Utah! , to steadily diminishing receipts. Deciding the '99 season might be time for a fiscal change, Tuacahn offered instead a double bill of popular musicals-Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.They sold out almost every night. Financial and artistic success being highly regarded by the producers, Tuacahn decided it might be a good idea to try that formula again. I took a sneak peek at "Fiddler On The Roof" to see how things are looking for the 2000 season.

...Lowell V. Noel looks like my movie Tevye. He has the Russian gestures, a convincing world's-wearing-me-down fatigue, and a voice that belts out "If I Were A Rich Man" at top volume. Noel's scenes with his daughters are tender and charming, and he captures Tevye's puzzlement at their independent thinking very well. He also has a nice sense of comic timing-spinning out his one-liners effectively. Noel notes in his program bio that he was one of the select few actors at Disneyland allowed to work with his own mustache. After reading that, I had to fight the temptation to slip backstage and see if his beard would pull off.

...Costumes work well . The men are all attired in authentic looking wool pants, vests and prayer shawls and a wide variety of head coverings-none of which match- in a delightful hodgepodge of colors and textures. The women look suitably modest and humble in jumpers and head kerchiefs, a poor but honest look that suits Anatevkan life.

...The Tuacahn water system is effectively used several times during the play, as a rainstorm, a shimmering set backdrop and of course, the famous flood, used here during the final scene. I know there wasn't a flood in the script but I was glad the director managed to slip it in anyway, it's such a strikingly dramatic effect.

...Fiddler audiences are in for a night of wonderful music, energetic dancing and a warm, touching, funny story.
 

The Spectrum-Tuesday June 20, 2000

Tuacahn transforms desert into Jewish Russia in 'Fiddler'

by Angel Pilkington

If you're looking for a night of song, dance and comedy, "Fiddler on The Roof" at Tuacahn is the place to be. Brian Larson (casting co-ordinator/producer) put a brilliant and talented cast together for this production. The Tuacahn amphitheater is the perfect setting for this musical. Its space allows for livestock and horses... an especially nice touch in this production.
...Tevye (Lowell V. Noel) and Golde (Cathy Gene Greenwood) did a superb job singing "Sunrise, Sunset". Noel may not have a voice like Topol but he makes up for it with his expression, energy and enthusiasm.
...Coupled with the other delights of the production, it all makes for a satisfying evening.
 
 

The Salt Lake Tribune- Sunday July 2, 2000

Message of 'Fiddler' as Up-to-Date as the Headlines

by Scott C. Morgan

IVINS- In the expansive Tuacahn Amphitheater, "Fiddler On The Roof" nearly approaches biblical proportions. No, there ain't plagues and famine, but floodwaters cascade down the mountain toward the audience in a decidedly symbolic moment meant to draw parallels with the book of Exodus. Tim Threlfall has directed a respectable "Fiddler" that moves along well, even if the stage pictures he assembles don't always fill Tuacahn's space to the best effect. As the family patriarch Tevye, a jovial and roly-poly Lowell V. Noel creates a nice rapport with the audience with antics that register to the second-to-the-last row of the 2,000 seat amphitheater. Noel is paired well with Cathy Gene Greenwood, who plays his no-nonsense wife Golde. Under Jenny Frogley's fine musical direction, aided greatly by the amplified sound design of Ian Hunter, the ensemble stands out in the vocal department.
"Fiddler on The Roof"s" masterful depiction of the tug-of-war between tradition and change is what helps make it perpetually relevant for examining our past, present and future. No matter how familiar or overproduced "Fiddler" may be, it seems the musical can withstand most anything- even flooding.
 

Las Vegas Revue-Jornal-Thursday July 6, 2000

Southern Utah Setting Compliments 'Fiddler On The Roof'

by Carol Cling

The beloved Broadway musical "Fiddler On The Roof" which recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of its 1964 debut, ranks as one of those rare theatrical creations that works anywhere and everywhere. Short of staging it in a Mongolian yurt, however, it's difficult to imagine a less likely locale than the Tuacahn Amphitheater just outside of St. George, Utah.
But the rustic surroundings prove surprisingly adaptable to "Fiddler's" homespun, heart-warming charms providing a large-as-life setting for the Russian shtetl of Anatevka.
In this Anatevka the embattled dairyman Tevye (Lowell V. Noel), our Everyman philosopher-guide through the village's changing world of "Tradition", has a real horse to pull his cart. (That is, until the poor creature goes lame forcing Tevye to take over). ...director Tim Threlfall and his spirited cast find the warmth and wisdom that dwells within such classic numbers as "Matchmaker", "If I Were A Rich Man", "Sabbath Prayer" and "To Life", demonstrating yet again the imperishable appeal of a musical that- to borrow a line from "Sunrise, Sunset"- reminds us, as few shows can, of the endless miracle of "one season following another, laden with happiness and tears".
 
 

Provo Daily Herald- Friday June 23, 2000

'Fiddler' faithful to expectations

by Eric D. Snider

ST. GEORGE- A little cartoonish, but also a little sweet here and there, Tuacahn's production of "Fiddler on the Roof" is liable to charm audiences by sticking pretty close to the traditional show everyone's familiar with, while still making some use of the spectacular outdoor red-rock theater.
Tuacahn forces its directors to incorporate the expensive flash flood special effect into at least one show every year and director Tim Threlfall does what he can to include it in as honest a way as possible.
...The dream sequence in which Tevye (Lowell V. Noel) convinces Golde (Cathy Gene Greenwood) to bypass traditional matchmaking methods has never been more chilling. Groups of white-masked ghouls dance around, fluorescent, shrieking ghosts appear out of nowhere and a sheet of water colored by light blasts up in the background. It's spectacle not just for spectacle's sake but because the scene calls for whatever extravagance is possible.
...Lowell V. Noel is cartoonish at times but he also makes some nice switches when the mood turns serious and he deals with the conflicts of his love-struck daughters. His train-station scene with Hodel (Melinda Larson), leaving to be with her imprisoned fiancee Perchik (Javen Tanner) in Siberia is genuinely touching. He and Cathy Gene Greenwood as Golde also break down their Ralph-and-Alice relationship long enough to do a very sweet "Do You Love Me?" number.
...Generally the show does what it's supposed to do and the bigness of the production doesn't limit its intimacy. "To Life" is exuberant and wild; "Sunrise, Sunset" is melancholy and wistful. There are just enough you'll-only-see-it-at-Tuacahn elements to make it worth seeing here as opposed to somewhere else. B+
 

Zions Bank Review TUACAHN 2000  July 21, 2000

This is Fred Ball, Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Last year at this time, I reported on the change of direction of the Tuacahn Theatre near St. George. They left behind the annual performance of "Utah," and began showing two Broadway-type musical plays for their summer seasons. Last year, they performed "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat." I loved them both.

I'm sure I will have a great deal of company when I speak in glowing terms of "Music Man" and "Fiddler." What a wonderful way to spend a couple of summer evenings. The backdrop and ambiance of the Tuacahn Theatre at the entrance to Snow Canyon is breathtaking. Could there be a more spectacular setting for theatre than Tuacahn?

Lowell V. Noel plays Tevye and Cathy Greenwood is his wife Golde. They are both excellent. The story of this Russian family and their trials, hopes and aspirations is timeless. Noel's rendition of "If I were a Rich Man," was well done and as a father of four daughters, I really enjoyed "Sunrise, Sunset" as Golda asks, "Is this the little girl I carried?"...

...If you are looking for a wonderful treat, head to Ivins and see this year's Tuacahn performances. You'll have a great time!
 

Fiddler on the Roof ~"Fiddler's" traditions hit home at Tuacahn
by Bruce Bennett
July 5, 2000

Its setting, the small Russian village of Anatevka, couldn't be further away. The time period of 1905 would seem to have little in common with the new millennium we experience today. And the culture, steeped in Jewish orthodoxy dating back thousands of years should have few constituents around these here parts. Yet the majesty of "Fiddler on the Roof" which opened on Broadway in 1964, is contained in the timeless elements of family, religion, dignity, sorrow and oppression that burst forth in nearly every scene. The singular outdoor setting of the Tuacahn amphitheater combined with strong character portrayals makes for a unique and entertaining version of the record breaking musical. A milkman by trade, "Tevye", played jubilantly and with charisma by Lowell V. Noel struggles when each one of his 3 eldest daughters approaches him with decisions to marry outside of expected customs. The tension mounts when the villagers are forced to flee from Czarist persecution.

"Without traditions our lives are as fragile as a fiddler on the roof" is one of many profound truths found in the play which opens with the sweeping "Tradition" and contains familiar songs such as "Matchmaker, Matchmaker", "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset". The expansive stage is used most successfully in the "big" numbers and it is obvious the sound system has improved to allow the complexity of the precise chorus vocals to shine through powerfully. As we have come to expect from Tuacahn, all the lead parts are strong, with the 2nd daughter "Hodel" (played by local Melinda Larson--the Narrator in last years "Joseph/Dreamcoat") and her betrothed "Perchik" the freethinking Kiev university student Javen Tanner being particularly enchanting. One of the trickiest uses of water is displayed during the "dream" sequence (think of Disneyland's "Fantasmic"), and where else can you see live farm animals roaming about the stage? This was supposed to be a "preview" night where the show could be stopped to "fix" performance gaffes. It says something about the hard work by everyone involved that the show seemed flawless. Most of the dance numbers were superb though some sequences were a bit unimaginative. The set changes seem to drag and kill the momentum. It is a treat to have a live orchestra and the players executed admirably the complex score--especially solo violinist Scott Tanner. Some numbers would have been better served by a full string section, but that is a minor complaint in a production from which, amazingly, nearly half the cast are local talent. After just spending a week in New York City and seeing several marquis shows, I can tell you that, considering Tuacahn's "Fiddler" ticket price is a about a third of the price of a Broadway show, if you miss this show you won't only be missing an entertaining evening, you'll also be missing a terrific bargain. "Fiddler on the Roof" plays Mon., Wed. and Fri. through the summer.

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