GATEWAY TAKES ON A BROADWAY CLASSIC THIS SUMMER

A Fiddler on the Roof. Sounds crazy, no? Gateway Performing Arts doesn’t think so! 

To follow up last summer’s production of Godspell, Gateway Performing Arts is presenting the classic Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof this August. Set in 1905 Russia, the story centers around a traditional Jewish father, Tevye, and his five daughters, three of whom push the limits of Jewish tradition as they search for love. 

The show originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and went on to win nine Tony awards in 1965, including Best Musical. In 1971, a film version was also released. So, Fiddler on the Roof has been part of American culture for over 50 years. 

So, why choose this show for Gateway’s summer musical? “It’s very relevant in our culture today. The themes of grappling with change in our culture—especially in the context of our faith—are universal,” says David Schubert, pastor of Performing Arts and producer and music director of the show. 

In fact, a revival of the show is currently running on Broadway, and Erik Snodgrass, director of Performing Arts and the summer production, was able to see it earlier this spring. Watching how Broadway freshened up this classic inspired our team as they planned Gateway’s version. “Seeing the best of the best do it is always inspiring,” says Erik. “It helps us set a bar in our mind.” 

While sticking to the original script and the familiar songs, including “To Life,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Tradition,” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” Erik and David plan to give the show its own Gateway flair. “We’ll follow most of the traditions, but we’ll also give a fresh take by pulling out certain colors in the story that might not have come through in previous performances people have seen,” says Erik. 

The show will also feature a 40-member cast and a live orchestra, all of which are made up of people from Gateway who are getting the opportunity to express their gifts in the church setting. Another unique aspect of this show is that it is being held at Gateway’s Dallas Campus, which opened in March. With the new campus came an opportunity to hold a community-theater-style production because the building already had a performance venue, the Great Hall, which can seat 600 people. It gives Gateway the chance to have an expression in the ever-growing Dallas arts community. 

Gateway’s performance of Fiddler on the Roof promises to be an engaging experience—from the live orchestra and actors to the unexpected nature of live performance. “It’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity every time you go see a show. You never have that collection of all those people and personalities performing together in the moment twice, and it can be very moving and impactful in that way,” says Erik. 

And the script offers many opportunities for laughs. Even though the story’s setting is heavy and covers weighty topics, it’s very witty and has a lot of dry humor. From Tevye’s frequent Bible storytelling mix-ups and his daughters’ subtle comments to family dynamics and clashes, the shenanigans only stop to make gripping revelations about faith, family, and of course, tradition. 

“You spend probably 80% of the show laughing,” says Erik. “But the other 20% is very moving and poignant and really hits the heart.” 

Fiddler on the Roof is running August 5–14 at Gateway’s Dallas Campus. You can purchase tickets ($15 for adults and $12 for students) at showtickets.gatewaypeople.com. Online ticket fees will apply