SYNOPSIS: Based on Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye and his Daughters, Fiddler on the Roof is the beloved story of the small, tradition-steeped town of Anatevka, Russia, where Jews and Russians live in delicate balance. During the course of the show, the time honored traditions of Anatevka are both embraced and challenged by Tevye and his colorful community, as they witness his daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava, grow up and fall in love in a time of extraordinary change. Fiddler on the Roof’s Broadway premier became the longest-running Broadway musical in history, a title it maintained for almost 10 years. It is a story that captures the essential human longings for love, community, success, freedom, family, and meaning. Fiddler features such iconic songs as the beautiful “Sunrise, Sunset,” the boisterous “If I Were a Rich Man”, and the classic “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

BREAKDOWN: (All ages reflect the age of the character, not the actor)

TEVYE:   Mid-40s to Late 60s. The poor, hard-working father of five daughters, Tevye is plagued by the knowledge that his eldest daughters are reaching a marriageable age. He is a likable, pious man who generally gets on with his neighbors, even with the non-Jewish Russian soldiers who are an ever-present and ever-growing force in town. He has a relaxed nature and diffuses dangerous or difficult situations with humor – but when his (rather high and reasonable) threshold for anger has been reached, he has a passion and a rage that can boil over. Tevye is also our narrator, and he has a personable, joyous, humorous connection to the audience. The actor playing Tevye must have an authenticity that allows us to believe he is indeed a poor villager while also possessing a star quality that carries the show.     

GOLDE: Tevye’s wife, mezzo, 40 – 55. Tevye’s long-suffering wife is the practical, no-nonsense partner of her dreamer husband. She is the real strength of the household, strong-willed, determined and opinionated. Golde is loving but somewhat formal, and not especially effusive or warm. She wants her daughters to have good lives and live more easily than she and Tevye have. She sees marriage as a good way to better their lot, and doesn’t put a lot of stock in romantic notions.

TZEITEL: Tevye’s eldest daughter, mezzo, 18 – 25. The eldest daughter of Tevye and Golde, Tzeitel is devoted and dutiful – but wary of having the choice of husband taken from her hands.  She is in love with Motel the tailor, a gentle and sweet man with no money.  Tzeitel is a good and helpful daughter who is devoted to her family and generally listens to her parents – but when it comes to matters of the heart, she can be incredibly stubborn, and incredibly convincing.  Once she is married to Motel, she definitely takes after her mother in being the manager of her marriage.

HODEL: Tevye’s 2nd daughter, mezzo, 17 – 24.  Hodel is an intelligent and opinionated young woman, who comes to head with young student Perchik over his radical, revolutionary views. She is someone who deeply values tradition, and at the beginning of the play we see her fantasizing over the matchmaker finding her a slender “yeshiva bocher” (a studious, pious, young Jewish man) for a husband. Almost in spite of herself, Hodel falls in love with Perchik. She commits to marrying him even without her father’s permission and asks only for her father’s blessing. When Perchik is sent to Siberia, where he is imprisoned for his reform activities, Hodel only feels more committed to the relationship. She eventually follows him to Siberia, leaving her family behind to follow her love. Hodel redefines home as the place where she can be with Perchik. She sings the haunting solo, “Far From the Home I Love.”

CHAVA: Tevye’s 3rd daughter, mezzo, 16 – 23, has a solo dance. Chava is the bookworm of the family.  She is sweet and shy and is the “favorite child”  of her father, Tevye.  She meets Fyedka, a non-Jewish Russian soldier, while reading one day, and they start engaging in a discussion over books.  Ultimately, they fall in love.  Chava, like her sisters, dreamed of a traditional marriage to a “yeshiva bocher” (a studious, pious, young Jewish man), arranged by Yente.  She is overtaken, however, by her love of Fyedka.  It compels her to marry this man, even though she knows that her family will disown her if she marries a non-Jew.  Tevye’s love for Chava is at the very heart of this play in all of its complexity, its yearning, and its aching.

MOTEL: a meek tailor, tenor, 18 – 35. Motel is a shy and meek young man who has trouble speaking up for himself.  He works as a tailor, but is so poor he barely has money to clothe himself.  He is sensitive and nervous – and needs a strong woman like Tzeitel to speak up for him.  He is totally in love with Tzeitel, and considers their marriage a miracle bigger than all the biblical miracles combined.

PERCHIK: student revolutionary, tenor, 21 – 35. A student. Perchik is a student, visiting Anatevka. Penniless, he convinces Tevye to hire him to teach Tevye and Golde’s two youngest girls. Perchik is a revolutionary and an idealist, with radical ideas about overthrowing the Czar and an economy that values the worker. He believes in his culture, but he is a radical reformer. Perchik engages with Hodel in lively debates about the nature of tradition – and falls in love with her. Later, he marries her – and is promptly shipped off to prison in Siberia.

FYEDKA:, a Russian soldier, 21 – 32, mainly a speaking role, dancer. A handsome, young, strong non-Jewish Russian soldier with a bright mind and a sensitive soul.  He sees past his military obligations and falls in love with Chava.  He does understand Tevye’s objections to the match, but he works hard to cut through Tevye’s imposed silence.  A combination of generosity of heart, ignorance, youth, and naivete allow Fyedka to see over and through barriers that others accept as impenetrable parts of their lives.  Some of it is vision and love, some of it is its own kind of ignorance.

LAZAR WOLF: a wealthy butcher, baritone, 40 – 55.The same age or older than Tevye.  Lazar is the town butcher, and his business has been more successful than most of his neighbors’.  His first wife, Fruma Sarah, has died, and he has decided that Tzeitel would make an ideal second wife.  He promises security and comfort, and his financial situation is coveted by everyone in town.  Lazar is fond of drink, and celebrates a “L’chaim” toast with Tevye when they agree that Tevye’s daughter, Tzeitel, will marry Lazar Wolf.

YENTE: gossipy matchmaker, alto, 50 – 75. The town gossip, Yente has made a life’s work out of her meddling by becoming the designated town matchmaker.  She is a widow, and as she is alone, she spends all her time matching up everyone else. Tevye’s daughter Tzeitel especially does not put much stock in Yente’s choices, but the younger girls eagerly await Yente putting her matchmaking skills to work for them. As romantic love becomes a bigger part of Anatevka’s ethos, however, Yente’s skills are increasingly questioned. Yente must be a strong comedic character actress.

CONSTABLE: Russian military official, 30 – 50, A Russian military official stationed near Anatevka, the Constable knows the villagers well and in general has a pretty friendly relationship with the Jews in town – especially Tevye.  However, these relationships prove to be rather superficial when set against orders from the Czar to sack the village and kick out its inhabitants.  He is a man who likes to drink and would prefer pleasant situations to unpleasant ones, but when push comes to shove he does his job – no matter the human repercussions.

FRUMA-SARAH: ghost of Lazar’s first wife, 30-50, mezzo. Fruma Sarah is a ghostly depiction of the late wife of Lazar Wolf.  As depicted in Tevye’s dream (at least the way he tells it to Golde,) she is an angry and vindictive ghost, who is enraged that her husband might be re-marrying.  Must have immense stage presence, as this is a show-stopping moment.  It is the terror instilled in Golde by Fruma Sarah that allows Tzeitel to marry the man she loves. This actress will also appear as a villager, and may double Motel’s mother, Shaindel.

GRANDMATZEITEL: ghost of Golde’s grandmother, 60+ mezzo,, Grandma Tzeitel is a ghost figure who appears in Tevye’s dream (at least, as he conveys it to Golde) and has a wonderful solo, showering blessings over Tzeitel’s marriage, but only if she is marrying Motel the Tailor and NOT Lazar Wolf.  Doubles with ensemble.

SHPRINTZE: Tevye’s 4th daughter, 10 – 16. Tevye and Golde’s second youngest daughter.  She takes lessons at home from Perchik, and appears in several scenes with some speaking lines.

BIELKE: Tevye’s youngest, daughter 8 – 14. Tevye & Golde’s youngest daughter. She takes lessons at home from Perchik, and appears in several scenes with some speaking lines.

AVRAM: a bookseller, baritone, 30 – 60.Avram runs the local bookshop in town and keeps the town informed of all of the news in the area – news which is mostly bad..

MENDEL: the Rabbi’s son, baritone, 16 – 25. The Rabbi’s son, who is being groomed to one day, hopefully, becomes the Rabbi.  He is always correcting Tevye’s “As the good book says…” quotes, as Tevye often is confused about what’s in the Good Book.  He is one for rules and specifics and is a strong adherent of tradition.  As such, he is uncertain of the presence of Perchik the radical in the village. Generally, he’s a bit too persnickety and lacks his father’s grace. Sings in the ensemble.

RABBI: baritone, 60 – 80. The Rabbi is a source of wisdom and guidance for the people of Anatevka – spiritually, religiously, and also with advice on their day to day lives.  He is respected by all of the villagers and they confer on him as much authority as a Jew can have in Anatevka.  That is to say, he may make legal rulings on how Jews should live their lives Jewishly, but he has absolutely no authority according to any non-Jews.  When facing the Czar and his soldiers, the rabbi becomes powerless.

MORDCHA: the innkeeper, 30 – 60. Mordcha runs the local bar in town and is a friend to Tevye.  Sings in the ensemble.

NACHUM, the town beggar, 40 – 65. The town beggar.  He is dirty and a scrounger.  Nachum is introduced by Tevye during “Tradition,” and may appear as one of the villagers in ensemble numbers

YUSSEL, the town hatter, 25 – 60. The town hatter, he speaks in the scene at Motel the tailor’s shop.  Tevye introduces him in the prologue to “Tradition” and he appears in all the group villager scenes (including “L’Chaim!  To Life”, the wedding, etc.) 

SHAINDEL, Motel’s mother, 40 – 60. The mother of Motel the tailor, Shaindel is very proud of her son. May double as Fruma Sarah.

SASHA, Fyedka’s friend, 18 – 35. A friend of Fyedka, and a fellow Russian soldier.  Features in the scene where the Russians come into the Inn after “L’Chaim!  To Life.”  Sings in the ensemble and may have solos.

BORIS, Fyedka’s friend, 18 – 35. A friend of Fyedka, and a fellow Russian soldier.  Features in the scene where the Russians come into the Inn after “L’Chaim!  To Life.”  Sings in the ensemble and may have solos.

VILLAGERS/Ensemble: (ages 8 and up): Jewish villagers who are papas, mamas, sons and daughters, and Russian soldiers.

4 BOTTLE DANCERS: 16 – 40 (Avram, Mendel & Yussel can double as bottle dancers).

4 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS: (including Sasha & Boris), 16 – 40, all must be able to dance.

FIDDLER: The fiddler appears, playing music on the roof, to show how delicate the balance of life is as the Jews of Anatevka are living it. 

​All auditions are at Drew Methodist Church, 28 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY 10512​

Audition information for the Playwright Festival is coming soon! 

Check back mid-June.

​All performances, auditions, and rehearsals take place at
The Theater at Drew United Methodist Church 28 Gleneida Ave., Carmel, NY 10512
unless otherwise noted.