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‘Fiddler’ continues musical tradition

January 24, 2019 GMT

Friendswood High School began an annual tradition when students performed their first musical, “Brigadoon,” in 1969.

How fitting, then, for the 51st FHS musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” to open with the main character singing a Broadway classic called “Tradition.”

“The musical tells the story of a Russian-Jewish peasant, Tevye, as he tries to balance tradition against the pressures of his changing world,” director Kathy Powdrell said.

Tevye is portrayed by Will Clyburn, an 18-year-old senior who is the son of Bill and Nichole Clyburn.

Last year, Will Clyburn portrayed Claude Frollo in the 50th FHS musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He was nominated for best leading actor at the 16th annual Tommy Tune Awards, in which FHS made history by winning 10 categories — the most ever by any school in one night.


The show’s 15 nominations also set a record in the annual competition among musicals at Houston-area schools.

“Fiddler on the Roof” will be considered for this year’s honors when three judges from Theatre Under the Stars, which sponsors the awards, critique one of its performances.

The show “is one of the most beloved musicals of all time,” said Powdrell. “It is filled with laughter, tears, emotion and hope.”

“Fiddler on the Roof” was based on a series of short stories by Sholem Aleichem, originally written in Yiddish and first published in 1894. They featured the musings of a fictional narrator, Tevye, a dairyman in Tsarist Russia.

Joseph Stein adapted Aleichem’s stories for the stage, putting the focus on Tevye’s struggle to understand his strong-willed daughters and their desire to break with tradition and marry for love.

Popular songs in the score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick are “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker.”

Tori Robles portrays Tevye’s wife, Golde.

Other cast members are: Madyson Walker, Taylor Greny, Sadie Gilbreath, Mae McAninch, Alessia Castillo, Presley Wilson, Erik Jensen, Rory Sims, Fedor Aglyamov, Jake Henkels, Brady Sokora, Aidan O’Donnell, Dalton Murray, Michael Donovan II, Jonah Cloyd, Brittany Harris, Ashley Smith, Cole Kirkpatrick, Anna McHenry, Thomas Massey and Balint Kidd.

The ensemble includes: Clay Price, Jon Sims, Dean Galloway, Hayden West, Zeke Bickham, Jordynne Harris, Madison Jenkins, Emily Vu, Jackson Mitchell, Lauren Ballard, Paige Parker, Hailey Permenter, Nelson Thornton, Garrett Turner, Ashton Whittington, Balint Kidd, Josh Zapt, Jocelyn Pittman and Rylee Dever.


Tickets are $15. They can be purchased from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at the main entrance of Friendswood High School.

“We only accept checks or cash at this time,” Powdrell said.

Performances will be held at the Myrlene Kennedy Auditorium, 702 Greenbriar.

Evening performances are at 7 p.m. Feb. 1-2 and 8-9. General admission tickets will go on sale at 5:45 p.m. prior to performances. Seating will begin at 6:20 p.m.

Matinee performances are 2:30 p.m. February 3 and 10. Tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. prior to performances. Seating will begin at 2 p.m.

Group sales are available by calling the FHS theater department at 281-482-3413, extension 6516 and leaving a detailed message with phone number and email.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net