LOGON first presented Fiddler on the Roof in 1996. In fact, that was when i joined the group: my daughter Yael was cast as Bielke, the youngest and smallest of Tevye's five daughters. I didn't really know much about LOGON at the time, but if i was going to drive her back and forth to rehearsals anyway, why not join the chorus, and .... but that's another story.
Yael shared the role of little Bielke with Dahlia Landzbaum, who was herself the daughter of fellow cast member Dov. Over the years the Landzbaums have also contributed wife Iris and daughter Leora, while son Rafi has played in the orchestra; a regular musical dynasty that family... but that's another story.
Now, 19 years later...... Dahlia is married and a mother. My daughter is about 5' 8" tall and.... well, here's a recent picture of her:
Little Bielke. And yes, that's her bike.
Arnie Gross played Sasha, the "Russian" who stands up on a table and sings the ringing solo which launches the frenetic dance scene in "To Life" (To life, to life, l'chaim.....). At the time, his granddaughter Shavit Baruch wasn't even old enough to come see the show. This year Shavit will not only be dancing and singing with the chorus, she has a choice cameo role (which will not be divulged here!). We have additional multi-generational families active in LOGON as well, but that's another story.
We grew up too. Our musical director that year was a young fresh-off-the-plane immigrant named Michael Leinwand; he barely spoke a word of Hebrew but was an expert in Eastern European Jewish music. We meet up now once a year, when he presides in Ashkelon over a huge festival of Yiddish music which brings together choral groups from all over Israel.
We grew as a company, also: in 1996, we "imported" the Holit dance troupe from Beer Sheva high school Makif Vav to dance for us; now, as for the past many years, we do our own dancing. For better or for worse......
How we often look to our poor choreographer.......
In 1996, Alan Cohen played Perchik the student and won the heart of Tevye's second daughter; this year he will be the "old widower" Lazar-Wolf the butcher. Yours truly sang and danced in the chorus as a "daughter"; this year i'll be portraying the fossilized old widow Yente the Matchmaker. Quite a change, right? Of course right!
Sunrise, sunset; sunrise, sunset; swiftly fly the years...... one season following another, laden with happiness and tears......
Many of the participants in our first Fiddler are no longer with us. Some left Beer Sheva (i still miss you, Phyllis and Harvey Narrol!!), some left Israel - our Hodel, Estelle Kunoff, to become a professional cantor (cantress?) in the States - and some left us completely. Kinneret Lichtenstein/Laor, assistant to the director. Margo Tepper-Shotz, who did the programme as well as sing with the chorus. Marcus Myerowitz, our brilliant Lazar-Wolf. The incomparable Paul Hare. All gone, may their memories be for a blessing, and they are all missed very much.
On the other hand (that's another quote from the show, folks) - there is not a little continuity from that first show. I'm counting 14 returning cast members, and we also have some of the same support and professional staff: Melanie Lombard still with us on costumes, David Waldmann still with us on the musical side (he did the playbacks back then; this year he'll be doing them as well as filling the roles of musical director and conductor), Annie Molcho on makeup and the stalwart Cyril Simkins as our translation techie.
If you'd like to see some pictures from the 1996 production, hop over to http://www.negevlightopera.com/ and go to LOGON Shows & Cast Lists. If you want to see some previews of the 2015 production - WATCH THIS SPACE! Surprises may be in store...... but that's another story.