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Jon Tracy Directs FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Opening Tonight at Berkeley Playhouse

Berkeley Playhouse at the historic Julia Morgan Theater closes its seventh season with Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Jon Tracy (Berkeley Playhouse: Guys and Dolls, The Pirates of Penzance; Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, NY Fringe, San Francisco Playhouse) and choreographed by Matthew McCoy (Berkeley Playhouse: Shrek The Musical, The Music Man; Sixth Street Playhouse, Bay Area Musicals). Fiddler runs now through August 2, 2015. Opening night is tonight, June 27 at the Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Avenue in Berkeley. Tickets are now available through the Box Office, call (510) 845-8542 x351 or visit berkeleyplayhouse.org.

With a jubilant and masterful score including "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Tradition," and "To Life," Fiddler on the Roof taps into themes that touch us all: family, tradition and changing social values. It's the story of Tevye, a dairyman in a small Russian village who tries to maintain the Jewish religious customs of his ancestors while his daughters yearn to adapt to modern ways. When dangerous forces threaten the village's traditional way of life, Tevye's faith and love for his family give him strength to fight for his home and his people. Based on the classic stories of Sholem Aleichem, the musical won 9 Tony Awards and was the first show to surpass 3000 performances on Broadway. It would go on to hold the record of longest Broadway run for over 10 years.

"I'm fascinated by the concept of tradition. This is a story so rich in its heritage that we can all find connection. Family, culture, fear, sacrifice.... How do we grow together? How do we grow apart?" says director Jon Tracy. He continues, "it's a perfect show for the beauty of the Julia Morgan Theater where the cast will tell the story of Anatevka."

Tracy's creative team includes Musical Direction by Rachel Robinson (Berkeley Playhouse, Boxcar Theatre, Sonoma Theatre Alliance, Bay Area Children's Theater), Scenic Design by Catalina Niño (San Francisco Playhouse, Los Altos Stage Company, Custom Made Theatre, Bus Barn Stage Company), Lighting Design by Drew Kaufman (Berkeley Playhouse, Just Theater), Costume Design by Liz Martin (Berkeley Playhouse, Tri-Valley Rep, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Town Hall Theatre), Sound Design by Taylor Gonzalez (Berkeley Playhouse, San Francisco Mime Troupe's Youth Theater Project), and Prop Design by Devon LaBelle (Berkeley Playhouse, Bay Area Children's Theatre, Impact Theatre, Shotgun Players, and Z Space).

The cast of 54 will be headed by Michael RJ Campbell (The Pirates of Penzance [Pirate King], A Funny Thing... Forum [Pseudolous], Ruthless! [Sylvia St. Croix], and Sherlock Holmes [Dr. Watson] with Sacramento Theatre Co.; The Addams Family [Gomez] with 6th Street Playhouse; The Full Monty [Dave] with Sonoma Theatre Alliance) as Tevye, Sarah Mitchell (Mary Poppins [Mrs. Banks], The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, and Seussical the Musical with Berkeley Playhouse; Twelfth Night, The Farm, Beardo, and The Norman Conquests with Shotgun Players; The Revolution with Aurora Theatre Company, Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party with SF Playhouse) as Golde, Jeannie Brick (Shotgun Players, We Players, Playwrights' Center of SF, Custom Made Theatre Co, and Town Hall Theatre) as Yente, Berwick Haynes* (Hairspray with Berkeley Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, Center REPertory, The Goodman, Ravinia Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and LaMama Theatre) as Lazar Wolf, Abby Lee ([Title of Show] [Susan] with Marin Onstage; Oliver! [Nancy] with Lucky Penny Productions; and Cabaret [Sally Bowels] with the Sonoma Theatre Alliance) as Tzeidel, Kirk Johnson (Crazy For You [Bela Zangler], A Year with Frog and Toad [Toad], and Sondheim's Company [Harry]) as Motel, Jade Shojaee (Company [April] with Town Hall Theatre; LES MISERABLES [Eponine] with Contra Costa Musical Theatre; Crimes of the Heart [Babe] with Hillbarn Theatre) as Hodel, Joel Roster (Assassins [Leon Czolgosz] with Ray of Light Theatre; A Christmas Carol [Fred Hastings] with CenterREP; and Someone Who'll Watch Over Me [Edward Sheridan] with Diablo Actors Ensemble) as Perchik, Grace Ng (Ondine, Faulted, The Seeing Place, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Spring Awakening, and Bay Area One Acts Festival) as Chava, and Luke Meyers (Cyrano De Bergerac with Pacific Conservatory Theater; Julius Caesar with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival) as Fydeka. Also in the cast: Pilar Ballesteros, Loren Breidenbach, Mia Breidenbach, Bennie Brown, Lucy Collins, Grace Connallon, Emma Curtin, Tom Curtin, Garret Dailey, Audrey Douglass, Sophie Eckber, Maya Ezekiel, Sabrina Fiora, Anna Granados, Lila Higley, Jude McEntee, Leela Kiyawat, Jacob Kwong, Bonnie Lafer, Tonio Manqueros, Tina Marzell, Tessa Mochizuki, Benjamin Nguyen, Jeanine Persso-Kaczmarczyk, Abby Peterson, Adeleine Praskins, Billy Raphael, Salim Razawi, Marisol Rojas-Cheatham, Terry Rucker, Ariana Rukin, David Rukin, Leah Schickler, Victoria Siegel, Jessica Slaght, Shelby Stewart, Lucy Urbano, Rosy Urbano, Madeleine Wack, Denise Wagner.

Berkeley Playhouse was founded in 2007 by actor, director, and teacher Elizabeth McKoy. In 2014, McKoy and the Board of Directors hired Producing Artistic Director Daren A.C. Carollo, who with Managing Director Lauren Hewitt continues to develop Berkeley Playhouse into a professional musical theatre company providing people of all ages an artistically sophisticated experience. Additionally, Berkeley Playhouse School of Musical Theatre after-school and school break programs offer a range of skill and performance-based classes for ages 3-17. In 2009, Berkeley Playhouse made the 328-seat, historic Julia Morgan Theater its permanent home.

Opens: Tonight, June 27 at 6pm. Press: Saturday, June 27 at 6pm; Sunday, June 28 at 12pm and 5pm. Closes: Sunday, August 2 at 5pm. All performances: Fridays at 7pm; Saturdays at 1pm and 6pm; Sundays at 12pm and 5pm at Berkeley Playhouse at The Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704.

For tickets, currently on sale, ($17 for previews, $25-$60 for regular performances) or more information, the public may call (510) 845-8542 x351 or visit berkeleyplayhouse.org. Group rates available for 10 or more people. Select "Pay What You Can" nights will be announced where tickets are sold on a sliding scale from $5-$20.

Pictured: Tevye (C. Michael RJ Campbell - Member Actors' Equity) and his three oldest daughter Hodel, Chava, and Tzeitel (Jade Shogaee, Grace Ng, Abby Lee), each of whom want to buck tradition in their own way. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.


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