By Randi Bjornstad

There might be just a few people out there who can’t at least hum along to If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset, Tradition, and Matchmaker, Matchmaker, and that degree of familiarity, of course, is the mark of a truly memorable and well-written musical.

The Shedd presents Fiddler on the Roof, a perennial favorite since it opened on Broadway in 1964, starting Nov. 24 with a run of nine performances through Dec. 10, to close out its 2023 theatrical season.

Here is a recap of the plot: Set in a village in Imperial Russia’s Pale of Settlement circa 1905, the story centers on Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman and his wife Golde who struggle to preserve their family and the traditions and values of their faith in the social turmoil of late Imperial Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof’s universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion.

The brilliance behind this enduring musical tale came originally from Jerry Bock (music), Sheldon Harnick (lyrics), Joseph Stein (book/story) and Jerome Robbin (director/choreographer), although the production was fairly fraught with controversy. The discord apparently started with a feud between star Zero Mostel and Robbins because Robbins had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee while hiding his own Jewish identity. It went on from there with Robbins reportedly driving much of the cast and crew of Fiddler crazy during the run-up to the show’s opening.

Despite all that, Fiddler on the Roof was the first musical theater production to run for more than 3,000 performances and held the longest-run record for nearly a decade until Grease came along. Along the way, it won nine Tony awards, among them best musical, score, book, direction, and choreography. (t was followed by five revivals on Broadway plus the 1971 film of the same name.

The Shedd’s version includes a cast of familiar actors, led by Bill Hulings and Shirley Andress as Tevye and Golde, along with Clarae Smith, Hanna Foshay, Kenady Conforth, Joseph Harris, Owen Colley, Earl Ruttencutter, Nate Rosenfeld, Matthew Leach, Roy Lisi, Ward Fairbairn, Siri Vik, Kara Churchill, Alicia Green, Matthew Michaels, Grigorii Malakhov, Jeany Snider, Steve Knight, Elijah Lee, Bailey Ubel, Eliyah Chandler, Aiden Jagels, Shae Brodsky, Wyatt Tubbs, Isabella Willis, Eliana Arpaia, Ashley Chandler, Kenton Montoya, Anwen Cramer Dickenson, Lucy Makay, and Eli Chandler.

The creative team includes Heidi Turnquist (director), Robert Ashens  (music director and conductor), Carey Hilbert (choreographer), Anna Björnsdotter (costume design), Jim Ralph (scenic design and executive producer), Connie Huston (scenic design/master painter), Keri Davis and Emily Kidder (rehearsal pianists), Kenady Conforth (dance captain), Diego Ocampo (production manager and assistant stage manager), Zoë Pouliot (stage manager), Mandy Conforth (rehearsal manager), Markus Johnson (technical director), Krystenn Elkins (wardrobe head), Mackenzie Roland (house manager and carpenter), and James McConkey (lighting consultant).

The orchestra includes Emily Weinkauf Kidder (piano and assistant to the conductor), Nathan Waddell (bass), Keegan Vaughn (percussion), Chico Schwall (guitar),Yvonne Hsueh (violin), Matthew Taylor, Richard Johnson, and Kris Klavik (reeds), Glenn Griffith (trombone), Chris Mudd (horn), Casey Riley, Cody Simmons, and Alex Shuffield (trumpet).

Fiddler on the Roof at The Shedd

When: Evenings at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9; matinees at 3 p.m. on Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and 10

Where: Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, 868 High St., Eugene

Tickets: $29/$33/$37/$39 (various discounts for packages, groups, and students), available at the ticket office, by telephone at 541-434-7000, or online at

Shedd Dinners at Six: Served before evening and after matinee shows in the Warren Court, by reservation; $27.75 for adults, $19.75 for children ages 9 years and younger. Call 541-434-7000 for menu details and to make reservations.