Glenfield Middle School Students Show Their Acting Chops with a Fun and Festive Performance of ‘Fiddler’ that Left Audiences Singing “L’Chaim”
During the final week of April, students at Glenfield Middle School lit up the stage with their production of the critically acclaimed musical Fiddler on the Roof. The show featured many talented 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students showing their stuff through complex dance routines and vocally challenging musical numbers.
Glenfield students performed classic numbers such as “Matchmaker” and “If I Was a Rich Man,” from the original Broadway show, which had a long run beginning in 1964, and was also turned into a popular feature film in 1971. The middle school production featured Layla Hurwitz as the Fiddler, Tobias Fried as Tevye, Johanna Keyser as Golde, Tevye’s wife, and Caleb Levine as Mordcha, the innkeeper.
The show’s production team included Glenfield teachers Tom Lupfer as the director/producer/technical director, Gayle Fuentes as head of musical direction, Rick Kitts as a choreographer, and Jonathan Ward as the orchestra director. The Montclair Dispatch spoke with Tom Lupfer about the Spring musical.
“I enjoy tackling full-length shows, rather than “junior” versions typically produced at the middle school level, because I find setting classic shows like Fiddler on the Roof is a wonderful challenge for the students, and by setting the bar high, they can produce work of the caliber seen at a high school or community theatre level.”
Mr. Lupfer went on to say that he was thrilled with the sense of community that formed among the cast and crew, especially during the final weeks leading up to the show. He found the connection between the show and the cast to be very special.
“The kids channeled the spirit of the show and played characters that are drastically different from themselves in age and life experience, but they were able to connect to the universal themes of the story and create realistic performances.
Mr. Lupfer chose to produce this particular show because “‘Fiddler’ is a classic that I had never worked on before, I always enjoy exploring a new show, and offered great opportunities to feature a large number of students in roles, as well as amazing dance numbers for our ensemble. It was a joy to produce!”
It is clear that the show was a great success, and the process very much incorporated the Montclair community and the amazing local businesses and people that the town boasts.
The Montclair Dispatch also spoke with Lisa Russman and Kerry Ryan, who worked diligently to secure the necessary sponsorship that goes into a production such as this one. Both Lisa and Kerry each have an 8th grader who was part of the cast. Mia Russman played Yente, the matchmaker, in a shared role, and Lexi Ryan played Shprintze, one of Tevye’s younger daughters. Both actors greatly enjoyed their time at Glenfield as members of the musical productions. When discussing what it takes to make these productions a reality, Lisa, and Kerry explained, “For starters, the parents are very generous with their time, volunteering in any way they can on a production like this. The local businesses here in Montclair are incredibly supportive of the performing arts as well. Several businesses partnered with us on restaurant fundraisers during the year, including Tinga Taqueria, Nauna’s Bella Casa, and Stuffed Burgers. In addition, we had so many wonderful stores, restaurants, small businesses and families who supported us by purchasing ads in the program. Studio042 did an incredible job of printing the program. It’s gorgeous! And they were wonderful to work with. These school productions would not be possible without the support of the community.”
Lisa and Kerry continued to share their gratitude for the sponsors for their contributions and support to the show!
One of the perennial sponsors of Glenfield and one of Montclair’s most prolific supporters is Pilar Kennedy, President of Studio042. We asked Pilar why she has consistently been one of Glenfield’s supporters and a huge supporter of Montclair in general. “Montclair has provided our family with everything we could possibly have wanted. Both of our girls went through Glenfield, Caitlin was involved in the theater sound program. As Montclair’s largest business printer, we are happy to contribute where we can. I really enjoyed working with the Glenfield group. They were very professional. This year’s program was large, complex, but ultimately, a beautiful piece, and working with Marylou Lane is always a pleasure.”
Glenfield’s Fiddler on the Roof was very well received by audiences, including family, friends, and peers. Isabel Levine, a Montclair High School class of 2017 graduate, was proud that her younger brother, Caleb “Cal” Levine, had a role in the show.
“We loved watching Fiddler on the Roof as a family when we were younger, so I was so excited for Cal to be in a production of it himself.”
The artistic scene in Montclair, whether it’s a production at Glenfield Middle School, or a screening at the Montclair Film Festival, is a major factor in truly making this town feel like a community. It is very important to keep supporting the effort put forth by these students, teachers, and parents, and to continue to make Montclair a special and supportive artistic environment.