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PAGE 12   PALISADIAN-POST  JUNE 3, 2004

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Wishnick Headlines Library's Annual Meeting

Arnie Wishnick, Palisades Chamber of Commerce executive director, will be the featured speaker at the Palisades Library Association annual meeting on Tuesday, June 8 at 7 p.m. in the Palisades Branch Library community room, 861 Alma Real Drive. Wishnick, a noted raconteur, performer and the Palisadian-Post film critic, will be speaking on the "State of the Palisades." 

The talk will follow a short agenda during which the Library Association will be electing its officials for the 2004-05 and reporting on the year's activities. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend.

Contact: 459-2754


John Raitt Makes Appearance at Woman's Club
Installation Tea June 8

The public is invited to attend the Pacific Palisades Woman's Club meeting Tuesday, June 8 when renowned Palisadian John Raitt will offer songs and reminiscences from his long and distinguished Broadway career. The program begins at 2 p.m., immediately following the installation of incoming Woman's Club officers and new members. 

Those wishing to remain for tea after the program may do so with a reservation and are encouraged to call Evelyn Morrow at 459-2507 by noon on June 5. The Clubhouse is located at 901 Haverford. 


Major Book Sale at Library on Saturday

An abundance of slightly-used books will be on sale at the Friends of the Library book sale this Saturday, June 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Palisades Branch Library parking lot, 861 Alma Real. 

"We are delighted by the quantity and quality of the donations in every category," said organizer Wendy Elden, who noted that all proceeds are donated directly to the local library to purchase new books and tapes.

"Donations include collections of books on the arts, on cooking and gardening, on boats, planes, and trains, "Ellen said. "There will be a substantial number of books on the history of California, the West and Hollywood, biographies, excellent recent fiction in both hardcover and paperback, an abundance of interesting non-fiction, many classics and children books galore. We are extremely grateful to our many donors."


Tony Award-Winning 'Side Man' Opens June 4 in Malibu

Warren Leight's 1999 Tony Award winning "Side Man," tracing three decades in the life of a Manhattan musician, opens on June 4 at the Malibu Stage Company, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway.

Set in 1953 and traveling to 1985, the play, filled with music and trumpet solos, unfolds through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player and Terry, an alcoholic mother.
  
"Side Man" is directed by Chris Hart and stars Ellen Greene, who garnered a Tony nomination for her performance in "The Threepenny Opera" opposite Raul Julia at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Center.

Hart recently directed the Malibu State Co.'s production of "Light Up The Sky" by his late father Moss Hart. He has directed dozens of plays in Los Angeles as well as regionally.  Next season he will be directing a new production of his father and George S. Kaufman's Pulitzer Prize-winning "You Can't Take It With You" at the Geffen Playhouse.

"Side Man" runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25. For reservations, contact 589-1998.

Garden Club June 7 Lecture Looks at Lavender

Judy Brady, owner of Rusty Acres Farm in Fallbrook, will be the guest speaker at the Pacific Palisades Garden Club meeting on Monday June 7, 7:30 p.m. at the Woman's Club, 901 Haverford.  Brady will talk on "The Many Varieties of Lavender and Their Uses."  The farm grows more than 100 varieties of lavender and also sells lavender-related products. Contact: 454-7065.

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JUNE 3, 2004 PALISADIAN-POST  PAGE 13   

Tradition, Tradition Keeps 'Fiddler' on the Boards
by Libby Motica
Senior Editor

The first thing you ask yourself when thinking about high school actors doing "Fiddler on the Roof," is can a teenager transform himself into the play's central character Tevye, who has the gravity that comes from having suffered and survived and yet the sense of humor of one who has learned a thing or two about life?

The answer is yes. The moment we meet Teyve (Adam McCrory), a poor dairyman trying to eek out a life in an impoverished Jewish village in Russia on the eve of the Revolution, we are convinced that this Palisades Hight School production hits the mark.

"Every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch a pleasant little tune," Tevye says in his quietly paced and thoughtful prologue speech. "why do we stay? We stay because Anatevka is our home and trandition... Everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects."

PaliHi junior McCrory, who in real life is a "wee Irish Catholic boy," dissolves under his whiskers and hopsack into the much-nuanced character the musical demands.  McCrory entered PaliHi as a freshman after emigrating with his family from Belfast. He appeared in his first ever musical two years ago in the lead role in "Crazy For You."

His tasks in "Fiddler" is to keep the momentum buoyant--after all, this is not "les Miserables," yet to be able to convey his fear and confusions as his world--kept together because of tradition---is disappearing.

As Tevye explains in the prologue, God's law provides balance in the villager's lives under the pressure from outsiders, including the constable, the priest and countless other authority figures.

"We don't bother them and so far, they don't bother us," he says.  He ends by insisting that without their traditions, he and other villagers would find their lives "as shaky as a fiddler on the roof."

The book by Joseph Stein, based on a short story by Sholom Aleichem, is imbued with the humor and folk wisdom that one would expect to find in a rural Russian village a the turn of the century.  The action is concerned primarily with the eforts of Tevye and his wife Golde (Amy Gumenick) and their five daughters to cope with harsh existence under Tsarist rule.

Change is inevitably thrust upon Tevye as his daughters, one by one, test the iron grip of tradition by wanting to marry for love, instead of by preordained agreement.  In contemplating the announcement that the young revolutionary Perchik (Brian Koteen) and his daughter Hodel (Gilli Messer) have announced their engagement, Tevye muses "He loves her. Love, it's a new style. On the other hand our old ways were once new, weren't they?"

Whether you've seen "Fiddler"-which opened on Broadway in 1965 followed by a movie in 1971-- or not, most everybody knows the music, and what a rich score it is.  From "Tradition" to Matchmaker," the music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick are forever hummable and have become a tradition!

The cast and orchestra, under the direction of Terry Henderson, are confident and strong. Each of the leading ladies--including Teyve's oldest daughters Tzeitel (Taylor Fisher) MOdel (Gilli Messer) and Chava (Kia Kurestski)--and his wife Golde (Amy Gumenick) have beautiful soprano voices, that whether in a solo or in chorus enrich the musical numbers--especially "Match-maker," "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka."

This production, directed by Victoria Francis, has taken a couple of challenging risks, and because of them delivered a rich, dramatic theatrical piece.  Of note are the Russians, particularly Terrel Briggs, whose daring, aerial lifts and jumps are stupendous, overseen by choreographer Monique Smith.  And who will ever forget the terrifying specters Fruma Sarah (Melissa Lerner) and Grandma Tzeitel (Tia Lebherz) conjured up in Tevye's dream?

The orchestra, particularly the clarinets, brings such life (l'chaim) to the Klezmer feel on this Chagall-like village.

One cannot discount the look of the show; both the sets and costumes are of a piece.  From

[[image]]
Tevye (Adam McCrory) rehearses his talk with God for the prologue of "Fiddler on the Roof," playing June 3, 4 and 5 at Palisades High School.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

babushkas to shoes, the hues of brown and gray play counterpoint against the wonderful, sprightly optimism of the fiddler on the roof (Brittany O'Neil), dancing and fiddling in her Kelly green duster and red cap.

"Fiddler on the Roof" plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Mercer Hall at Palisades High School, 15777 Bowdoin. Tickets are $10; reserved seats for $20.  Contact: 454-0611.

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