Fiddler cast prepares to burst on to Bendigo rooftops

Bevan Madden will direct Bendigo Theatre Company's Fiddler on the Roof. Picture: CHRIS PEDLER
Bevan Madden will direct Bendigo Theatre Company's Fiddler on the Roof. Picture: CHRIS PEDLER

Bendigo Theatre Company will begin rehearsals for their major musical production this weekend.

The company will present Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof at Ulumbarra in July.

BTC announced its cast on Monday night after more than 50 people auditioned for roles last week.

Director Bevan Madden said auditions were teeming with talent.

“Our youngest cast member is 10 and our oldest is pushing 65-ish, so there’s a wide range of ages,” he said.

“I think a third of the cast (are newcomers), a third are regulars and a third is returning to shows in  Bendigo.”

Denton Arthur will take on the lead role of Tevye with Sally Hyett-Long playing his wife Golde.

Kristen Gleeson, Katie McMillan, Georgia Campbell, Adeline Johnstone and Zoe Di Camillo will take on the roles of Tevye and Golde’s daughters.

Max Harris will play the Fiddler while Claire Sexton, Jordan Gleeson, Mason Hingston, Seamus Allan, Zeljko Vanis, Zach Fitzpatrick, Robbie Bayliss, Michelle Di Camillo, Erin Mannix and Thomas Hodge will play supporting characters.

A further six dancers and eight ensemble members bring the cast number to 32.

Fiddler on the Roof follows the story of Jewish milkman Tevye in czarist Russia as he struggles to balance his rigid faith-based traditions with his hidden desire to let his daughters follow their hearts.

Madden said he was excited at the idea of taking on a “big, traditional” musical.

“It opens it up to a lot more people. A lot of people have heard of Fiddler, If I Were a Rich Man or even Gwen Stefani's Rich Girl,” he said.

“(A show like Fiddler) is a good return to the roots of community theatre. The idea of putting on a big show that everyone knows, everyone comes along to and has a great time. 

“It's scary in terms of trying to pull off a big show that everyone knows but I'm really looking forward to it.”

Madden has previously directed Melbourne University’s production of Legally Blonde and has had an interesting in theatre since primary school.

“I was always interested in performing and always a tree or a peasant in the background (in primary school) before I got a lead role in grade 6 and cemented my love for theatre,” he said.

“Then I took drama in high school, did a few roles, played in the orchestra pit in year 12 for Girton's Into the Woods and have done some writing and directing with friends at school.

“It will be different working on a big stage (like Ulumbarra). Last time I was working in a black box which comes with its own challenges. But a big stage with full lighting and big sets is really exciting.”

Fiddler on the Roof - If I Were a Rich Man (1971)

Madden said he plans to present Fiddler quite traditionally with “big sets and gorgeous lighting”. 

“We have incredibly an talented team in Ken Wells and Ian Scott for sets and lighting respectively,” he said. 

“Ian's 19 and has done a huge number of shows and Ken has been a part of the company for 20 years. They're both incredible and can't wait to see what they put together.”

As well as sets and lighting, Madden plans to present traditional Russian dancing thanks to choreographer Anita Scott.

“Anita has done choreography for Fiddler before and all her ideas are spectacular,” he said.

“The traditional dances will stay traditional and Anita has a background in ballet and traditional Russian dance, so it will look pretty spectacular.

“We also have a core group of strong dancers who are leading he cast through that.”

BTC’s Fiddler on the Roof is at Ulumbarra Theatre from July 5 to 8. 

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