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“Fiddler” coming to Two Harbors stage

Everett Hommes plays Perchik in the Lake Superior Community Theater’s production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Photo by Tammy Francois.1 / 3
George Starkovich, playing Teyve, talks to God during rehearsals. He is seated on a wagon built by local carpenter Charlie Michels. Photo by Tammy Francois.2 / 3
Nora Wekcman, who plays Chava, and Domenica Sarracco, who plays Tzeital, rehearsed the song “Matchmaker” at Tuesday’s practice. Photo by Tammy Francois.3 / 3

Tsarist Russia is coming to Two Harbors in April.

The Lake Superior Community Theater is preparing for its 12th annual performance this spring, staging a production in Two Harbors for the first time ever. The company will be performing “Fiddler on the Roof,” a critically-acclaimed musical from the 1960s set in 1905 Russia.

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“We wanted to do a big splash for our first Two Harbors show,” director Paul Deaner said.

Deaner estimates that more than 70 people are working on the production, a live orchestra, full cast and many enthusiastic crew members behind the scenes. He said one of the biggest challenges is getting rehearsals to work with everybody’s schedules. Throw in snow days and other school cancellations and Deaner said he’s almost never had the entire crew in one place.

“You have to be mentally tough as a director to handle that,” he said.

Deaner, a resident of Finland, began the community theater in 2002 to provide an outlet for local talent. With spring being a slow time for his work in marketing and public relations, Deaner says he has the flexibility to pour months into a theater production.

“It’s a four-month intense thing, and then it’s gone,” he said, estimates that the time commitment can be as high as 70 hours per week between January, when he holds auditions, and April, during the production’s run. The cast has three-hour long rehearsals per week during that period, keeping them busy throughout the spring. He said audiences are always impressed by the result of all that hard work.

“People are stunned,” he said, adding that “we need venues and art for people to see it.”

Past performances have included “Annie,” “Grease” and “Death of a Salesman,” all performed on the William Kelley stage in Silver Bay.

Two of the cast members are happy with the change of venue to Two Harbors. Claire Hoffert, a senior at Two Harbors High School and Domenica Sarracco, a junior, participated in “Grease” in 2012 and are grateful for a shorter drive to rehearsals this year. Both girls act and sing in the musical.

“His plays are so big,” Sarracco said of Deaner’s productions. “It’s really fun to be a part of.”

Hoffert said this is an intense play for the actors.

“There’s more emotion in this play than anything I’ve been in,” she said.

Alex Koenig, a sophomore at THHS, is making his acting debut in “Fiddler.” Though he said he’s not usually a fan of musicals, he dove in, tackling four smaller parts.

“It’s really neat,” Koenig said.

He even dances as part of the “bottle dancers,” balancing a bottle on his head throughout the routine.

Deaner said “Fiddler” has remained so popular for a half-century because of the underlying themes to which everyone can relate. It explores how a Jewish man, Teyve, deals with the changing times in Tsarist Russia, including increasingly independent daughters, and strained relations between the Tsar and Russian Jews in the country.

“People relate to Teyve’s humanity,” Deaner said. “People relate to the family dynamics.”

The production costs the community theater about $15,000, money that has been secured through fundraising and past productions. “Fiddler” will be performed on a detailed, lavish set — well-known painter Ann Gumpper poured her time into the backdrop, local carpenter Charlie Michels built many of the props and countless community members donated their time and skills as well.

Deaner hopes those who know the musical from its long run on Broadway or the 1971 film adaption will come to see talented North Shore actors bring the story to life. Even those who haven’t heard of the musical will enjoy it, he said. Actress Sarracco agrees.

“I think everybody is going to love it,” she said. “It’s going to turn out great.”

Go see it What: Fiddler on the Roof

Where: Two Harbors High School

auditorium, 1640 Hwy. 2, Two Harbors

When: April 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 at 7 p.m. and April 6 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12, $8 for students. Available at or by calling Roxanne at

(218) 220-0882

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141