Kingston thespians to raise the roof

Marie Kinge, playing Golde, and Madaline Howell, playing Hodel, lead a dance during rehearsal for the Kingston High School production of
Marie Kinge, playing Golde, and Madaline Howell, playing Hodel, lead a dance during rehearsal for the Kingston High School production of 'Fiddler on the Roof.'
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

KINGSTON - Kingston High School drama students will sing, dance and fiddle their way onstage next week as they present "Fiddler on the Roof" in the school's first-ever musical theatre production.

For the past several weeks, Kingston actors, singers and musicians have taken time after school each day to prepare for the show's May 8 opening at the North Kitsap Auditorium.

"It's definitely coming together," said KHS Music Director Adam Campagna. "The energy is building in the rehearsals, and you can tell they're ready to open up."

Kingston Drama Director Alison Roberts chose Fiddler — which follows the patriarch of a poor family of Russian Jews while he attempts to build a better life for his daughters — as the school's first musical because of the play's positive messages, engaging story and memorable songs.

"It's a family story," Roberts said. "There are a lot of beautiful moments in the interactions between the characters."

While Roberts has directed a number of dramas in the past, Fiddler is the first musical for her, as well as for Campagna and much of the cast. The production has meant long days for many of the students and staff involved. Next week, the actors will practice four hours a night, and the orchestra will put in about two hours after a full day of classes.

"I've just been trying to keep my head above the weeds," Campagna said.

As hard as they are working to make opening night a memorable one, the actors and musicians are enjoying the ride.

"I love to sing and I love to dance," said senior Danica Rasely, who plays the part of eldest daughter Tzeitel. "It's been a learning experience, and I made a lot of new friends."

Actors Marie Kinge, who plays Golde, and Quinton Selvidge, who plays the lead role of Tevye, said Roberts has a specific idea of what she wants out of the play, and she conveys that vision quietly but clearly to the cast. A disappointed look from Roberts elicits a stronger response than a rant from a less controlled director, the students said.

While some of the cast have been performing for years, others are trying their hand at a musical for the first time. Kinge and senior Madaline Howell, who plays middle daughter Hodel, are in the choir and have sung onstage countless times. Senior Sonny Vandenhole, who portrays Motel the tailor, has acted before, but never in a singing role.

"It takes a lot more energy, and you can't come into it with a bad attitude," Vandenhole said of the musical.

Roberts, who formerly taught at Gordon Elementary, has reunited this year with a few of her now-grown primary school pupils and said many of the cast have overcome some crooning-related trepidation.

"It was intimidating at first," she said. "It's fun to see my actors singing. It's great to watch them grow up and be doing these things."

Fiddler on the Roof opens May 8 at 7 p.m. at the North Kitsap Auditorium in Poulsbo, and runs May 9, 14 and 15, also at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door, at the high school by contacting Lori Camp at (360) 394-1205 or at Kingston's American Marine Bank. Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for students.

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