Shabbat and “Fiddler” in Pottstown

8-Fiddler-222x300A Pottstown synagogue and a nearby theater are setting the stage, literally, for a combined Friday night Shabbat service and opening night revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” on May 13. After the play, audience members may meet Tevye and his five daughters — or at least, the actors who play them.

Steel River Playhouse and Congregation Hesed Shel Emet will co-host the event, billed as “Shabbat and a Show,” as a fundraiser to benefit the synagogue. The Shabbat service, starting at 6:45 p.m. in the theater’s Newberry Loft, will be led by Rabbi Ira M. Flax. Following the service, guests will move downstairs for curtain time at 7:30 p.m. An Oneg Shabbat — a jovial gathering, usually with refreshments, following Shabbat services — will be held during intermission in the Newberry Loft. After the show, there will be a discussion during which director Michael Licata, Rabbi Flax and the cast will answer questions.

The legendary musical will run from May 13 to May 28 at Steel River Playhouse, located at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown. This venue is fully handicapped accessible. Tickets for this event are $36 and can be purchased on the synagogue website.

The idea for holding an event in conjunction with the production of “Fiddler” came to the congregation president, Amy Wolf, immediately upon seeing the show listed on the 2015-16 season program at the Playhouse:

I suggested that we hold the Friday night service at the theater itself. The show becomes part of our Shabbat service, and thus the concept of ‘Shabbat and a Show’ was born.

Pre-selling tickets for the event and offering an Oneg will allow congregants and others to enjoy the show without breaking the Jewish restriction against exchanging money on the Sabbath. We think this will be a fun way to celebrate Shabbat and invite others in the surrounding area to join with us for this unique fundraiser.

Leena Devlin, the theater’s managing artistic director, quoted Tony-winning set designer Robin Wagner:

Until ‘Fiddler,’ musicals only spoke to the immediate generation. ‘Fiddler’ showed how a musical could speak to all generations and cultures.

For more information, email Congregation Hesed Shel Emet.

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