BWW Interview: Mel Weyn of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Aronoff Center
The revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" is performing from "sunrise to sunset" at the Aronoff Center now through January 27.
I got the chance to chat with Mel Weyn - who plays Tzeitel, Tevye's eldest daughter- about all things "Fiddler", previous tours, and her training in the interview below.
BWW: Since its debut on Broadway, this production of "Fiddler on the Roof" is getting praise for being "newly imagined". What are some things that audiences can expect to see in this revival that may be different from previous productions?
MW: It's still the same story we know and love, for sure. The catchy songs, the sentimentality and the iconic characters are all present. I will say, something that really stands out is the reimagined choreography by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter. He took Jerome Robbins' original and iconic choreo from the 1964 show and breathed some new life into it. There is an undeniable sense of pride in the dancing and yet also something so pedestrian and relatable. I watch "To Life/Le Chaim" every night from stage right. I'm just in awe of the company of dancers we have and the story they tell every night through the movement.
BWW: You have played your character Tzeitel once before this tour. What are some things that you have taken with you from your past experience? What are some nuances that you have found with her the second time around?
MW: Yes! I have played her once before at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre the summer of 2012. I had such a great experience that summer and Arrow Rock holds a very special place in my heart. That experience helped me understand the importance of family in this story-something that I've continued to explore on this tour. Tzeitel's relationships with her parents and the sisters are all so important and specific. You want the audience to be invested in the true love that these family members have for one another. I am so lucky and happy to say that, in both experiences, that genuine love was so real for me both on and off the stage.
Working on this new touring production has helped me realize the importance of the unrelenting love that Tzeitel and Motel share for one another. Really every decision Tzeitel makes in Act One is motivated by her love for him and her desire to marry him. Prioritizing this pursuit keeps that relationship onstage present and active. Jesse Weil is a dream to work with and such a hilarious and lovable Motel. I think that the dynamic we have created onstage has the audience rooting for us which is fun to experience.
BWW: Before "Fiddler", you toured with "Sound of Music"! Both tours that you have been a part of have been beloved classics. Is it rewarding to know that you get to be a part of the legendary history behind both musicals?
MW: Oh absolutely. They both have such beautiful and timeless messages. It's rewarding and humbling to be a small part of the shows' legacies. I feel very lucky.
BWW: You earned your BFA in Acting from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University! What is one thing that you took from your education there, and carry it with you through your career?
MW: Oh gosh this is tough... I had such an amazing college experience and feel so fortunate to have had such concentrated and intense training at Webster. I think the one thing that pops into my head is putting everything into the other person onstage : Your stakes, your intention and your attention. If you breathe, and respond honestly, you will be present and tell the story.
BWW: In honor of the hit song from the musical, do you have any pre-show "traditions" that you have to do every night?
MW: I meditate for at least ten minutes before every show. We have such a busy schedule and are traveling so much, it just helps to center myself and to focus on the show and the task at hand. I want to tell this story to the best of my ability every night-that means letting go of the rest
You don't have to think about if you were a rich man to enjoy "Fiddler on the Roof" as it runs at the Aronoff Center now through Jan. 27. Half priced seats can be purchased in person, two hours in advance of curtain with a valid student/senior/military/teacher/ first responder ID. This rush policy is only valid on Tues,, Wed., Thurs., or Sun. evening performances. Full priced tickets can be found here or by calling the box office at (513) 621- ARTS (2787)