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Herndon High School in Herndon, Virginia, presented Fiddler on the Roof to the Cappies Critics on May 3, 2024. Here are the top two Cappies Critic reviews.

McKenzie Phelan

Quince Orchard High School


The sun rises on a quiet town. A plaintive tune floats through the air. Soon enough, its source is revealed: a simple fiddler, perched atop a roof.


Thus begins Herndon High School’s production of Fiddler on the Roof: a heartfelt story of life, love, and “Tradition!”


Fiddler on the Roof is a 1964 musical with a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein. The original Broadway production won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and was followed by a West End run, a 1971 film adaptation, and countless revivals and international productions. Set in the village of Anatevka in Imperial Russia, the show follows Tevye, a poor milkman and father to five daughters. As each girl falls in love with a less-than-traditional match, Tevye must attempt to reconcile his Jewish customs with the changing world around him.


Ethan Hardy gave a remarkable performance as Tevye. With excellent timing and lively movement in the number “If I Were a Rich Man,” Hardy quickly proved his knack for comedy. As the show progressed, Hardy skillfully approached dramatic moments as well, clearly portraying the father’s fury and grief at losing his daughters to the world. Hardy also developed a genuine dynamic with Allie Steinhardt as Tevye’s wife, Golde. The tender duet “Do You Love Me” was a standout moment for the pair, featuring beautiful vocals and strong acting choices that displayed Tevye and Golde’s vulnerability and maturity.


Also notable was Rae Weston as Hodel, Tevye’s second daughter. Weston brought a youthful, spirited air to the character, especially in flirtations with revolutionary student Perchik (Mateo Pinover). However, the Act 2 solo “Far From the Home I Love” revealed a stronger side to Hodel, as she expressed the unfailing faith in Perchik that compelled her to travel to Siberia to be with him. And not to be missed was the show’s talented ensemble of villagers. From the haunting harmonies of “Sabbath Prayer” and “Anatevka” to the captivating chair and bottle dances during the wedding party, the ensemble’s accomplished performances made for plenty of memorable moments.


Contributions by Herndon High School’s tech crews truly brought Anatevka to life. The set (designed by Charly Olsen and Carson Brownlee) contained multiple levels and shifted to reveal new areas of the village. Touches such as weathered shutters, mezuzahs on doorways, and candles in windows created an authentic world for actors to inhabit. The work of the props team (Amelie Aubouin and Maddie Allen) further enhanced the production, with details including glasses containing real liquid for the number “L’Chaim,” and a sabbath table featuring culturally accurate judicia provided by a local rabbi. Isabella Ramsey and Liam Nowak’s lighting design was subtle yet effective, featuring rich colors and excellent use of spotlights.


Just as the people of Anatevka must leave their beloved town, so must audiences bid farewell to Herndon High School’s brilliant production of Fiddler on the Roof. But like those emigrants, memories of love, faith, and family will follow them as surely as the Fiddler’s song.

Audrey Link

McLean High School


Tradition is the glue that holds together the foundation of the tight-knit community of Anatevka, but what happens when the younger generation begins to question tradition and fight for change? The talented cast and crew of Herndon High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” dove deep into the themes of this question as they told a story of love, home, and above all, the importance of family.


Written by Joseph Stein with music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Fiddler on the Roof” first opened on Broadway in 1964 and won nine Tony awards. The show is set in 1905 in the small town of Anatevka which is under Imperial Russian rule. The story follows Tevye, a Jewish milkman with five daughters who all face the daunting task of finding a husband. Tevye is soon overjoyed after securing a match for his oldest daughter, however, he quickly learns that his daughter is in love with a poor tailor. Faced with the decision of following tradition or choosing to honor his daughter’s wishes, Tevye chooses to allow his daughter to follow her heart. This decision sends a wave of scandal throughout the town, and soon Tevye’s other daughters begin to pursue love matches, forcing the town members to decide whether or not to rely on tradition or open their hearts to change.


Ethan Hardy as the paternal Tevye commanded the stage with ease through his smooth baritone vocals and clean dance moves in the opening number, “Tradition.” Hardy was the perfect balance of a tough, assertive patriarchal figure and a caring father who genuinely wished to see his daughters happy. These characteristics made it all the more heartbreaking as he struggled to grapple with the values of his faith and his daughters’ desires. Hardy handled his many monologues with a grounded nature and increasing desperation as his stress increased, as well as his comedic moments with impeccable timing and grace. Opposite Hardy as Tevye’s wife, Golde, Allie Steinhardt provided stellar soprano vocals, especially in the tender duet, “Do You Love Me?” as Tevye and Golde were reminded of their affection and devotion to one another.


Other notable performances include Gaby Bradley as the meddling but loveable Yente. Bradley’s varying vocal inflections and infectious laughter made her an immediate audience favorite, and her commitment to her character made her stand out in every scene. The entire ensemble of this production consistently added to the story as they were constantly engaged in every scene, whether it be as gossiping townspeople or excited wedding guests. Their high energy in every dance made each musical number all the more enjoyable and lively.


The dedicated work of each technical crew definitely contributed to the experience of this show, such as the costumes designed by Livie Godfrey and Maggie Growney. These designers utilized color theory for each of the main couples in the show, dressing the pairs in matching colors and using shades of green to symbolize traditional values. The costume crew also hand-made a beautiful 11-foot-tall dress for a tall, ghostly character. The hair and makeup designers, Olivia Prout and Lanieyra Hunter, did an incredible job creating beards for the many male characters in order to make the actors appear older. These beards were seamless on stage and never once fell from an actor’s face.


“Fiddler on the Roof” was clearly the perfect match for the cast and crew of Herndon High School as these students excelled in portraying this story of loss, hope, and the significance of following one’s heart.


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