Maite Uzal never stops learning lessons in life.
Over the past four years, Uzal has portrayed Golde in the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof,” using the time to pay attention to those lessons.
“It’s such a gift to work on this production,” Uzal says. “Not only is the production great from top to bottom, but the characters are some of the best ever written.”
The revival of the Tony Award-winning musical will begin its six-performance homestand at Popejoy Hall beginning Thursday, Jan. 26. It will run through Sunday, Jan. 29.
Based on Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye and his Daughters,” “Fiddler on the Roof” is the 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.
It is a story that captures the essential human longings for love, community, success, freedom, family and meaning. Fiddler features such iconic songs as “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”
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 proudly introduces a new generation to the iconic musical adored across the globe.
The cast features Jonathan Hashmonay as Tevye, Uzal as Golde, Andrew Hendrick as Lazar Wolf, Mary Beth Webber as Yente, Randa Meierhenry as Tzeitel, GraceAnn Kontak as Hodel, Yardén Barr as Chava, Daniel Kushner as Motel, Austin J. Gresham as Perchik, Carson Robinette as Fyedka and Jason Thomas Sofge as Constable.
Uzal says after four years of playing Golde, “she still surprises me.”
“For example, she has five daughters and I don’t have children,” she says. “It’s been a journey to explore what motherhood is like. I’m a person of faith as well, though Golde is Jewish and I’m Catholic. We share one book, the Old Testament.”
Uzal also says that Golde has forced her see how resilient she is.
“I try to be resilient and work hard on whatever task I undertake,” she says “Golde is an example of what it means to work hard. If she can handle Tevye, her faith and her children, then she’s on the right track.”
Since debuting more than 50 years ago, “Fiddler on the Roof” has become part of popular culture.
Uzal has noticed that during the tour, there is a new generation being introduced to the story.
“It’s refreshing and encouraging that you have all the generations in the family coming to the show,” she says. “Younger people, when whey come see the show, they appreciate the show as much as any other person. The themes are universal and the struggles that the family has are just as relevant today. Who doesn’t have a generational struggle with their family.”
Uzal relates to some of the family struggles because she lived through her own.
“I studied to be a lawyer and I defied what my family wanted,” she says. “I found my love for the stage and enjoy it. In the play, my daughters want to marry different people from what their parents want. I was lucky in that I had another plan.”
Uzal was ready for the chance to be part of the legacy of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
She’s relished in the opportunity and is grateful for the four years that she’s spent on tour.
“This story is about refugees who don’t have an option,” she says. “The material is simply impeccable from the score to the book. The words just flow and each character is fully developed. There are a lot of great productions out there, but this may be as good as it gets. It’s one of the best and to be part of it is simply humbling.”