FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
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BWW Interview: Kelly Gabrielle Murphy And Bennett J. Leeds of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Adrienne Arsht Center

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BWW Interview: Kelly Gabrielle Murphy And Bennett J. Leeds of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Adrienne Arsht Center

Fiddler on the Roof Cast members and University of Miami alums, Kelly Gabrielle Murphy and Bennett J. Leeds return to the Arsht Center stage

The North American tour of the Tony Award ®-nominated Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof is coming to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County from October 29 to November 3, 2019.

Fiddler on the Roof is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love, and laughter. This classic musical is rich with Broadway hits, including "To Life (L'Chaim!)," "If I Were A Rich Man," "Sunrise Sunset," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," and "Tradition." A beloved theatrical classic from Tony Award winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, this Tony Award-nominated production is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (To Kill a Mockingbird, South Pacific, The King and I) and choreographed by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter.

I had a chance to meet with two cast members for the First National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof who are University of Miami Alums from the BFA Musical Theatre Program, Kelly Gabrielle Murphy (Tzeitel), and Bennett J. Leeds (Ensemble, US Tevye, Lazar, Rabbi). We spoke about UM, Fiddler on the Roof at the Arsht Center, and coming back to their second home.

BWW Interview: Kelly Gabrielle Murphy And Bennett J. Leeds of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Adrienne Arsht CenterHow was your experience as BFA Musical Theatre majors from the University of Miami?

Bennett: I had the time of my life. It was exactly what I needed from college. I am from Connecticut, and I was choosing between there, and somewhere I was going to be freezing for four years, so I needed a change of seasons, at least.

Kelly: I love the U so much, and I always say that Miami has become my second home. I am from New York. I think the university offers a great opportunity for people who want to study musical theatre because some of these programs are much smaller. I was able to get a really great college experience like Bennet was saying in a big university with football, which I love. Go Canes! Football games and a whole thriving university life and then go into the department which is very small and close-knit. We have ten to twenty people in each class and really feel like I got a really great arts training in a big school environment.

Bennett: I would agree with that. Having top tier programs all around you really pushes you to do your best in what you're studying, and it lets us go outside of our theatre department and still get these amazing classes and an amazing education. It really rounds you out as an artist and a student.

How do you feel they prepared you for this career, specifically the touring aspect?

Kelly: I have been on tour just about a year now, and Bennet is new to our group within the past month or two. From my point a view you don't know how to tour until you tour because it is its own beast in the best way with the traveling and all that. But in terms of acting and the performance side of it we had such wonderful and intense acting training and a lot of different teachers throughout our four years. We got to work with so many different styles which then when you take that into the professional world you are always working with different director so being exposed to so many different styles helped once I got into the professional world just to be open and free to listen and adapt to how a director might work.

Bennett: With a show like this, it really does help to be a well-trained actor. It served me to have all this acting training. Bartlett Sher directs this production in such a Chekhovian way that having those styles like Shakespeare and Chekov under your belt into this, it certainly helps you get a leg up, and it makes doing your homework a lot easier. I give a big thank you to all of our teachers at the U for preparing us.

Bennett, you graduated in 2018, and Kelly graduated 2017. Did you work with each other at school?

Bennett: We did. I did my first professional show with Kelly at the Arsht Center.

Kelly: We did Sunday in the Park together at the Arsht Center in the Spring of 2017 right before I graduated. The year before that, when I was a junior I was in their production of Passion. We both are really excited to go back to the Arsht Center. I just can't believe we are going to bring our show there.

We started working at Zoetic Stage because of the University of Miami and the head of the department's connection with Zoetic Stage. Zoetic Stage has a Young Artist program where they take students from the University of Miami, New World School of the Arts, FIU, any of the arts schools and they take them under their wing. Some of the actors I met there [I still work with.] I owe so much to my two shows at Zoetic. Their program for Young Artists is so wonderful and so important. I just love to see the young generation in that program because I learned so much working there.

BWW Interview: Kelly Gabrielle Murphy And Bennett J. Leeds of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Adrienne Arsht Center

How has it been to work on such an iconic musical like Fiddler on the Roof?

Kelly: Oh, my Gosh! I am going to ask another question before I answer that. People say, "How do you do this show three hundred times? How are you not tired of it?" It is like you said so iconic and so well written that there is something new, I kid you not, that I discover or enjoy or receive as an actor on stage differently every night that makes doing the production so incredibly fulfilling as an actor and then to know that this show means so much to so many of the audience members that are coming. It is an honor to bring this show around the country.

Bennett: We talked about it in our rehearsal process in New York. How some of the songs in Fiddler kind of exist, and you don't necessarily think about where any of them came from. So many people just know them! Getting to realize that on stage and bring that to life and potentially get to introduce that to new people to these songs and to introduce them to these stories through our lens. It is an honor to be apart of the tradition.

For die hard Fiddler on the Roof fans, what do you think they will love about your production?

Bennett: If they are like me, they will love the choreography. It is my personal favorite character in the show. This new choreography by Hofesh Shechter is just incredible.

Kelly: It reimagines Jerome's choreography that they know and love. It reimages it in a real pedestrian and naturalist way. It is just so thrilling. I think someone who loves the show will love this new aspect of the show. But everything that they know and love is still in there. All the songs they love are done wonderfully. All the scenes that they love, the humor and the heart is all there in the show with this new exciting twist.

What has been your favorite part of the process of preparing for the First National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof?

Kelly: It is hard to pick a favorite. But in terms of discovering and finding the material, back about a year ago the rehearsal process with the creative team and our new set of actors- it's the first national tour, so it's the first time this is going out since it closed on Broadway and so we got to work really closely with the creative team on Broadway, Bartlett Sher, and Hofesh Shechter.

We got to make our version of the show and continuing that through tech and finally opening in Philly in the Academy of Music. It was such a wonderful moment, and I will always remember that creative process.

Bennett: I am a big family man, so I have just fallen in love with the group. That is always going to be my favorite part of this production.

BWW Interview: Kelly Gabrielle Murphy And Bennett J. Leeds of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Adrienne Arsht CenterWhen you are here in Miami is there anything you feel like you have to do?

Kelly: So many things! I definitely need to have a meal at the Rusty Pelican and sit outside. That's for sure.

Bennett: Pine Crest Bakery!

Kelly: Bennet and I will both be going back to campus and seeing our old professors pretending I am back in college for a day. The campus is just so beautiful.

You can come see Kelly Gabrielle Murphy (Tzeitel) and Bennett J. Leeds (Ensemble, US Tevye, Lazar, Rabbi) in the North American tour of the Tony Award ®-nominated Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof (@fiddlerbroadway) coming to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) from October 29 to November 3, 2019.

Tickets to Fiddler on the Roof will be available online at arshtcenter.org, by calling 305.949.6722 or through the Arsht Center Box Office in person at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132. Ticket prices start at $35*.

Year 2 performances started August 20 in Fort Worth, TX. The tour will visit more than 40 cities in its second year, including Miami, Boston, Houston, and New Orleans.

The original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, which opened in 1964 and featured choreography by Jerome Robbins, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year. This acclaimed revival proudly introduces a new generation to the iconic musical adored across the globe.

Fiddler on the Roof has musical supervision by Ted Sperling, scenic design by Michael Yeargan (Tony Award nominee, The King and I), costume design by Catherine Zuber (Tony Award winner, The King and I, My Fair Lady), lighting design by Donald Holder (Tony Award nominee, The King and I), sound design by Scott Lehrer and Alex Neumann (Tony Award winner, South Pacific), and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Jason Styres, CSA.

This tour of Fiddler on the Roof is presented by NETworks Presentations.

For more information, please visit:

The 2019-20 Broadway in Miami subscription season is presented by Florida Theatrical Association and the Adrienne Arsht Center along with presenting sponsor Bank of America and with support from Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for up-to-date information.

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for up-to-date information.

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The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Adrienne Arsht Center also receives generous support from individuals, corporations, and local, state, and national foundations.

About the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Set in the heart of downtown Miami and designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the world's leading performing arts organizations and venues. Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has emerged as a leader in presenting innovative programming that mirrors South Florida's diversity as well as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area. Spotlighting legends and serving as a launchpad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage, the Center presents nearly 400 events each year across its flexible, state-of-the-art performance spaces. The Center programs several Signature Series, including the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival, and a robust program of new theatrical works as well as free programming for the community and an arts education program that serves nearly 60,000 children each year. As Miami's new Town Square, the Arsht Center also houses BRAVA by Brad Kilgore, a fine dining restaurant; the Café at Books & Books in the historic Carnival Tower and a weekly Farmers Market. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for more information.

About Broadway Across America

Broadway Across America (BAA) is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com, and Group Sales Box Office. Led by 13-time Tony-winning theater producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 44 markets with over 400,000 subscribers. Presentations include Disney's The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera and Hamilton. Current and past productions include The Band's Visit, Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Hairspray, Mean Girls, The Producers, and Waitress.

The John Gore Organization is the leading developer, producer, distributor, and marketer of Broadway theatre worldwide. Under the leadership of 13-time Tony-winning theater producer and owner John Gore, its family of companies includes Broadway Across America, Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com, and Group Sales Box Office. The company presents shows in 44 cities across North America as well as on Broadway, Off-Broadway, London's West End, Japan, and China. It has won Tony Awards in every producing category as well as numerous other Drama League, Drama Desk and Olivier awards

Florida Theatrical Association - the non-profit presenter of Broadway in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami - was founded with the charge of educating and developing new theater audiences and encouraging and preserving the presentation of touring Broadway theater. Since 1989 Florida Theatrical Association has presented over 1,050 broadway performances and distributed over $1.6 million in scholarships and grants to arts organizations across the state of Florida.

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 46 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,600 retail financial centers, approximately 15,900 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with approximately 34 million active accounts and nearly 22 million mobile active users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance

At Bank of America, our focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling our purpose of helping make people's financial lives better. Our commitment to growing our business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of our company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our customers, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocate groups, such as community and environmental organizations, in order to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.



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