Fiddler on the Roof
a Fort Bend Theatre production
presented at Stafford Performing Arts Centre
August 4-6, 2006

I didn't take nearly enough pictures to get everyone in the cast, which had about 60 people. Back row: me, Neil Daniels, Ron Putterman, Scott Yarbrough, Jacob Greene, Mark Jessup. Front row: Sean Hardin, Atticus Finch, and Jordan Gonsales.

This is the story of a play that I wasn't supposed to be in. It is also the story of a hat's great adventure.

Shortly after the city-wide co-operative auditions, Tarra McCain, director of the Fort Bend Theatre, called me and invited me to audition. I was not yet finished with Impossible Marriage, and was supposed to follow it with a break, having been almost-continually involved in projects since before the beginning of the year. But I auditioned, so at least they'd know how I sing, if they wanted to call me for future projects.

Well, long self-absorbed story short, I got offered the part of Motel (pronounced "mottle"), and Shelly, recognizing it for the rare opportunity it was, agreed to endure a few more weeks of my never being home.

Imagine putting together a full-length musical with a cast of 60 in 5 weeks. And 1/4 of the cast are kids. Our rehearsal space was much smaller than our performance space, so some routines couldn't be finalized until the last week. And a lot of things kept being adapted right up to the dress rehearsal. I call it "Theater on the edge."

But what about the hat?

The Greek fisherman's hat has become so strongly associated with Fiddler that it is commonly called a "fiddler's cap." I did not have one, going into the show, but Neil had a spare that fit me well. Thanks, Neil!

Between the last two scenes in Act I, I have to make a quick costume change, which includes going from the cap...

Me, with artificial sideburns and real goatee, and Alejandra Medina (Tzeitel). We were so photogenic that the Fort Bend Star printed a promo pic of us. the wedding hat.

In full wedding regalia, in front of the Diva Door.

On dress rehearsal night, I ended up carrying my cap with me to the stage, but tossed it backstage as I entered. When I went back to reclaim it later, it was gone! Fortunately, Jim Allman (Avram) had an idea of where to look, and I was reunited with it. But that wasn't the end of the cap's wanderlust.

Mom, me (in biker cap), Larry Ransberger (Tevye), and Dad.

My parents and Shelly came to the Saturday show. Same scene change, I changed backstage and left my cap there. After the wedding scene, there was intermission and several scenes before I needed to reappear. It took me a while to think about retrieving my hat. Naturally, it was gone. This time, it was not to be found, so I had to make do with Murray "fresh bagels" Adelstein's hat, which is really a leather-looking biker cap, for Act II.

The lovely and tolerant Shelly.

Fortunately, the next day, I asked Giulio who might know what happened to the cap. It was a lucky choice, because it turned out that he had picked it up, thinking that Danny had left it back there. So I had my cap for Sunday. But even that wasn't quite the end of its travels, because Act II on Sunday caught Larry somewhat by surprise, and he had to hurry to finish dressing and get onstage. In his hurry, he grabbed my cap and wore it for the prologue to Act II. Having hitched itself to a big star, it was unhappy about returning to me, but sometimes a hat has to know its place.

Some other pictures

The final show coincided with Shay's birthday. She was having a rotten day, so Tarra took up a collection to get her a birthday cake and some flowers, presented during intermission. It cheered her up, although I was less than cheered to realize that she was turning half my age.

L-to-R: Tarra McCain, Ceasar Barajas, Shay Thornton (Chava), and just a bit of Chelsea Hardy (Hodel).

The professional sets, metal frames with styrofoam surfaces, made the show look great.

Mary Beth Yarbrough played my mother (Shaindel), which made her daughters, Alex and Madi, and son, Scott, my show-siblings. Ron Putterman (Rabbi) implored me not to look at him during the wedding, as he was afraid he'd break out laughing. The curse of a funny face.

A viewer provided a few images from the show. Tradition!

Motel pleads his case with Tevye.

Tzeitel confirms they gave each other a pledge.

Some of the cast do an impromptu can-can in the lobby. L-to-R: MaryAnna Haggard, Lauren Pate, me, Molly Hearon, Alex Yarbrough, Jennifer Chittenden.

The directors and a fellow actor from Impossible Marriage came on Sunday. L-to-R: Zona Meyer, Scot Smith, me, Victoria Beard.

With my parents, again, this time sans goatee. I'd never have expected to think I looked funny without it, but I did.

The Fort Bend Sun carried a promo pic of the Matchmaker trio.

Mary Beth Yarbrough has made plenty of her photos available at

Shelly and Roy Home