Curtain Up: A Fiddler in Segerstrom Hall May 7-19

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Fiddler on the Roof

Natalie Powers recalls sitting in Segerstrom Hall with her mother 10 years ago to watch a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” starring Topol.

Now, Powers returns to Segerstrom Hall May 7, but this time she’ll be on stage playing the part of Chava, one of Tevye’s daughters, in the Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Her mother will be there on opening night, sitting in the same seats as she did 10 years ago with her daughter.

“I think that is so cute,” said Powers, who grew up in Laguna Niguel. “I think I have seen at least 50 shows at Segerstrom Center. My mom knew I learned by watching, and told me this is the best education I can give you. She made it a priority.”

Powers made her professional debut at Segerstrom Center a few years ago when she performed with Pacific Symphony for their Family Musical Mornings series.

“I essentially grew up in that hall,” she said. “Now, to be back in the other hall, I am over the moon.”

She’s also thrilled to be playing Chava in this Tony Award-nominated Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter. This classic musical is rich with Broadway hits, including “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.”

The original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened in 1964, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year. This acclaimed revival introduces a new generation to the iconic musical.

Fiddler on the Roof

“I saw the revival so I knew what it looked like,” said Powers. “They made this version very grounded. I did a lot of research and reading for my role. The director said make sure your character is the person it was written to be, but we want to see you in the character.”

“Fiddler on the Roof” takes place in Russia in 1905, but was written for a 1964 audience. Powers said the play celebrates the Jewish culture and shows how universal the refugee story can be.   

“It’s also a story about young women, not only about Tevye, the narrator,” noted Powers. “It’s about how he is reacting to his daughters’ choices. The story is very relatable, which is one reason it has soot for so long. Tevye brings out all these topics that are very funny and sobering. It seems like a tragic story, but the humor is done in a way so that you’re laughing one moment and crying the next.”

Powers has been on the “Fiddler” tour since it began last fall, and is contracted to stay with the show through this August. It’s her first tour, and she’s taking advantage of the opportunity to see the country. 

“It’s a whole different lifestyle,” said Powers. “It’s an experience you cannot imitate with any other job. I would not have gotten to see so much of the country with any other opportunity. I have most mornings free, so we can go to national parks, theme parks like Disneyworld. We’ve had some cool stops like Philadelphia, where I saw the liberty bell. Things I knew about my whole life—this show allows me to do that.”

Great perks, admits Powers, but it all comes back to “Fiddler on the Roof,” which runs May 7 – 19 at Segerstrom Center. For tickets, visit SCFTA.org.

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