RTC staged an incredible production of Fiddler on the Roof - originally planned to run from 3/19 - 4/12/09, and extended through 4/21/09, and I am very happy I got out there to see it! Joseph even put me into the show Blog, which was an unexpected, terrific surprise!  See all the wonderful happenings below:

1006 E Main Street Ventura CA United States, 93001

March 19 - April 12, 2009

[ Reserve Tickets l Calendar l Study Guide ]

Directed by James O'Neil
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

Presented in Association with the Ventura Music Festival


Fiddler on the Roof stands as an unparalleled achievement in the world of theatre. This towering musical has touched and transformed audiences since its Broadway bow more than forty years ago. The timeless story, set in a village in Tsarist Russia, follows the travails of Tevye the dairyman, who struggles, with humor and humanity, to raise five daughters and maintain the traditions of his forefathers as change swirls around him. Winner of nine Tony Awards, this captivating and heartfelt show was also an Academy Award-winning film. The unforgettable score includes "Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," and "If I Were a Rich Man." This production features a spectacular new set by Tom Giamario which will surround the audience. You will never experience a production of Fiddler on the Roof presented in such an intimate, engaging way!

For tickets, please call the box office at 805.667.2900.


photos: Bruce Monk, courtesy of Manitoba Theatre Company



Ventura County Star Review:

This 'Fiddler' reaches out Rubicon show envelops the audience in the action

In “Fiddler on the Roof,” Jay Brazeau stars as Tevye, a dairy farmer frustrated by his daughters’ tiny steps toward independence.

Some traditions pass gently away when realization of new circumstances arises; others are shaken loose by upheaval. In “Fiddler on the Roof,” both circumstances meet at a critical time that speeds the changes. In the classic musical, life is hard in Anatevka, a tiny Russian village held together by the sinew of tradition that binds its Jewish population. It is 1905 and the revolution is on the horizon. Rumblings have already started as the powers that be and the insurgents who would be are plotting their uncertain futures.

Rubicon Theatre Company embraces the brave sentiments and strength of spirit of the poor villagers with a “Fiddler” that physically reaches out into the audience and surrounds it with the throbbing life and underlying humor of its characters. The theater has been transformed into a “set” that covers walls with evocative images of Anatevka life and thrusts into the center of the audience with a stage that brings the

action into close focus. Among other innovative ways to expand the small playing area, director James O’Neil and his technical experts create memorable scenes by multiplying such moments as the solemn “Sabbath Prayer” with various village families gathered around their candles engrossed in devotions. Subtly lighted in spots behind delicate scrims, the rituals gain impact through unifying prayer.

Capitalizing on the close-knit aura, the acting and singing go less for bravura and more for simplicity and basic human emotion. Leading the 36-member cast is Canadian Jay Brazeau as Tevye, a dairy farmer whose fatherly frustrations over his daughters’ tiny steps toward independence are mostly displayed in shrugs and murmurs, though his anger bursts through when he realizes how far the family is straying from tradition.


Most of his heartfelt “conversations” are with God as he alternately reasons, rants and cajoles in an all-out pursuit of solutions to his ever-growing concerns. The biggest problem, he belatedly realizes, is not that his daughters are choosing futures outside of the confines of a matchmaker, but that the whole town is being capsized by the turmoil in his country.

Brazeau’s performance is ably bolstered by other men in the village, most notably by George Ball as Lazar Wolf, the butcher, a well-off widower who wants to marry Tevye’s daughter Tzeitel. Ball is in fine voice and makes the character’s loneliness palpable.

The vagaries of change mark a shattering dilemma familiar to the Jewish people and, through the works of Sholem Aleichem on which the musical is based, to the world. The stories are laced with humor, even though the conditions are tragic.

Tevye’s marriageable daughters, Tzeitel (Amy Hillner), Hodel (Leslie Henstock) and Chava (Lauren Patten), begin timidly but quickly display their determination to make their own choices even if it means ultimately severing family bonds, as painful as that may be. Tzeitel loves the poor local tailor, Motel (Chad Borden), in preference to the butcher; Hodel (Leslie Henstock) is entranced by Perchik, the revolutionary student (Robert Adelman Hancock); and Chava (Lauren Patten) makes the most alienating choice of all in her devotion to a local government enforcer, Fyedka (Josh Jenkins).

Some of the indelible comic scenes include the perfectly pitched “nightmare” fable in which Tevye, in bed with his long-suffering wife Golde (Eileen Barnett), breaks the news of Tzeitel’s decision by summoning up ghosts of Grandma Tzeitel (Betsy Randle) and then Fruma-Sarah (Natalie Nucci), Lazar Wolf’s first wife. Both spirits sing, cackle and crow their way through rousing resistance to a Tzeitel-Lazar alliance, to hear Tevye tell it. Another well-wrought ensemble piece is “The Rumor,” in which the tale grows taller as villagers spread the word.

In a very effective move, the show’s Fiddler, most often seen sparingly and miming the playing, is given prominence by the choice for the role of violinist Nuvi Mehta, artistic director of the Ventura Music Festival and a man with considerable stage presence. His Fiddler reappears significantly throughout the show, blending musically with the well-honed off-stage klezmer-style band led by Lloyd Cooper. Mehta’s fiddling and silent acting add polish and a thread of soulful continuity to the popular musical, and may even start a new tradition — if other troupes can find an equally talented soloist.

“Fiddler on the Roof” extols tradition, but also understands change. After all is said and done, it allows, “The old traditions were new once.”

— E-mail Rita Moran at

LA Times Review:

Review: 'Fiddler on the Roof' at Rubicon Theatre

3:00 PM, April 1, 2009

Tradition! It's safe to say that the famous refrain from "Fiddler on the Roof" has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Tony-winning 1964 musical is now one of theater's most reliable staples -- a chestnut revived so frequently that most productions give the impression that they're just going through the motions.    

Same time, same shtetl. Sometimes, however, tradition can be a good thing. The Rubicon Theatre's current production doesn't rewrite the book in terms of "Fiddler" revivals, but director James O'Neil's lucid and efficient staging gives this theatrical war horse dramatic breadth and a sturdy set of running legs.

Who doesn't know the story by now? Tevye (Jay Brazeau), a dairy farmer toiling away in czarist Russia, lives with his henpecking wife (Eileen Barnett) and his five increasingly rebellious daughters. His impoverished but peaceful existence gradually crumbles under the weight of a changing world -- first, when his daughters decide to marry out of love, and then when war threatens his way of life.

The performances are uniformly engaging and energetic, though seldom exceptional. It's difficult to labor in the shadow of Zero Mostel and Topol, but Brazeau's Tevye manages a few memorable moments, including his rendition of "If I Were a Rich Man" and his drunken scenes at the local tavern.

Even better are the younger ensemble members who bring dewy innocence and good looks to their parts. As the budding Bolshevik who woos one of Tevye's daughters, Robert Adelman Hancock finds the right combination of intellectual earnestness and emotional naivete. Equally effective is Lauren Patten, who makes the most of her limited stage time as the most headstrong of the daughters.

Using a series of scrims, set designer Thomas Giamario conjures a convincing village out of few materials. The walls of the theater have been painted in a style suggesting Marc Chagall, and a thrust stage adds even more square footage to the performance area.

The songs by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick are so well-known by now that any production will have hard time shaking a greatest-hits feeling. Some of the ensemble singing in the Rubicon's revival could use some fine-tuning, but mostly, the musical numbers are executed with conviction and style.

O'Neil's direction keeps things moving at a comfortable gallop. The scenes flow together briskly without ever feeling rushed. Instead of devising new choreography, the producers have wisely opted to reproduce Jerome Robbins' original direction, including the famous bottle dance that tops off an elaborate wedding scene.

What makes Joseph Stein's book eternally relevant is the way it evokes a changing world. Once Tevye sees that he can no longer cling to his old ways, he has little choice but to accept his daughters' choices in marriage. You can't fight time. So long as the world keeps changing, "Fiddler" will always have something meaningful to say.

In fact, the theater world could pick up a thing or two from the good peasants of Anatevka. It’s always nice to see a polished revival, but audiences may end up wishing that producers could be more like Tevye and learn to embrace the new, the different and the unexpected.

--David Ng

"Fiddler on the Roof," Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Ends April 26. $49-$69. (805) 667-2900. Running time: 3 hours.

Photo: the cast of Rubicon Theatre production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Credit Rod Lathim


Ventura County Star Feature Article:


Raising the 'Roof'

Rubicon Theatre had to pull strings — lots of them — to stage 'Fiddler on the Roof,' its most ambitious show yet

Download Podcast  Download this story as a podcast!

Courtesy of David Cooper Jay Brazeau will star as Tevye in Rubicon Theatre Company’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” for which the Ventura production company had to lobby hard to obtain the rights.

‘Fiddler on the Roof’

The Rubicon Theatre Company will present the Tony Award-winning musical, with previews at 8 p.m. Thursday and March 20, and an opening night gala at 7 p.m. March 21. Regular shows, through April 26, are at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. The Rubicon is at 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Tickets cost $49-$69 ($125 for opening night), with discounts for seniors and students. Call 667-2900 or visit

Chuck Kirman / Star staff Violinist Nuvi Mehta, who also is director of the Ventura Music Festival in May, will play the Fiddler in the award-winning musical that will open March 21 at the Rubicon Theatre.

Jamie Thompson and other cast members rehearse a dance for “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Chuck Kirman / Star staff Tom Beyer, left, and Jay Brazeau are part of the large cast in the Rubicon Theatre production, which necessitated some big temporary changes to the theater space.


Photos by Chuck Kirman / Star staff Actors run through a “Fiddler” rehearsal in the Rubicon Theatre. Set designer Thomas S. Giamario created a space to make audience members feel as though they were part of the village, but that entailed removing a dozen seats and building a circular dias reached from a ramp onstage.

Rubicon Theatre Company’s “Fiddler on the Roof” was toppling to the ground.

The milkman wouldn’t cometh.

His daughters wouldn’t meet their matchmaker.

Actually, Tevye the Jewish dairyman, his family and the rest of the Anatevka Village entourage from “Fiddler” were coming — but to Hollywood, not Ventura.

And that was the problem: not enough room in the village of Southern California for two productions of the Tony Award-winning musical.

When a Broadway show is on a national tour, which is the case with “Fiddler,” starring Chaim Topol, famed for his Oscar-nominated role as Tevye in the Oscar-winning 1971 film version, regional community theaters generally aren’t granted legal rights to stage that production. The thinking is, if you just heard Tevye belt out “If I Were a Rich Man” at your local playhouse, you won’t want to become a poor person by paying again, or doling out more, to see the touring version.

The playwrights, lyricists and composers who hold the rights to these shows deserve to get the best return on their creative investment. So they have lawyers.

But they also have hearts, and recognize the power of a small-town “little theater that could” story.

Yes, Rubicon is that little theater. “Fiddler” opens March 21 in Ventura, even though the touring version will play at the Pantages Theatre in July and August.

All it took was a few trips to New York, a six-page heartfelt letter, a creative set design, and connections, connections, connections — bolstered by one woman’s powers of persuasion and Rubicon’s reputation as a small theater doing great things.

Here’s the story of how the Ventura company became the only professional regional theater in the U.S. granted the rights to stage “Fiddler on the Roof” until 2011.

“Fiddler” is billed as “the biggest production ever on Rubicon’s stage.” “Big” refers to cast members (31 people, plus a band), budget ($450,000, versus $150,000 for a typical Rubicon show) and ambition (difficult to quantify).

Cue the violin, please.

Small theaters aren’t supposed to do “Fiddler on the Roof.” Even if the roles are doubled and the orchestra trimmed down, the musical still requires a large cast. You’ve got Teyve, his wife Golde, their five offspring and the girls’ various suitors, plus an entire Russian village to cram onstage.

House size matters, too. A professional Equity theater like Rubicon must pay union actors, so more seats mean more box-office receipts to cover expenses. The Rubicon has 190 seats; the Pantages contains about 2,700.

Rubicon hadn’t let size constraints limit its ambitions in the past, however.

Until “Fiddler,” “Man of La Mancha” in 2006 was the largest show Rubicon had done, with a cast of 19. Planning and fundraising took three years.

The production was a hit. Audiences, said Rubicon artistic director Karyl Lynn Burns, “really liked a musical of that scope. It packed an emotional wallop and had a great impact on people, who might have seen it otherwise in an 1,800- or 3,000-seat theater where they wouldn’t have seen the actors’ faces.”

After enjoying “Man of La Mancha,” Rubicon patron Bernie Novatt planted the “Fiddler” seed, asking director Jim O’Neil (Burns’ husband) when the company was planning to stage one of his favorite musicals, “Fiddler on the Roof.”

O’Neil just laughed and said “never” — “Fiddler” was too monumental, and too expensive. The persistent Novatt, who said he “loves the musical because it really gives me the feeling of a true story,” offered a sizable donation, and started mentioning the “Fiddler” idea to other community and Rubicon board members.

Then, about 18 months ago, Manitoba Theatre Centre in Canada, which often does co-productions with Rubicon, invited O’Neil to perform in its production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” O’Neil decided to take the role and absorb how the 900-seat Manitoba put its production together.

While in Canada, O’Neil called Rubicon set designer Thomas S. Giamario and asked him to mock up a model for a dream 360-degree “Fiddler” set — one that would make the audience feel as if they were part of the village.

O’Neil told him not to worry about money or logistics.

To accommodate a larger cast, Giamario devised a center ramp leading from the stage to a circular dais, which meant about 12 seats would have to be removed. The stage scenery was minimal. Instead, theatergoers would be surrounded by Marc Chagall-inspired murals on the rear and side walls (in the original Broadway production, the set pieces were painted in the style of the Russian-born painter).

“I’d surround them in the Chagall world — not a realistic world of turn-of-the-century Russia, but Chagall’s symbolized inspiration of that,” Giamario said. The final touch: platforms in the upper corners of the theater, with scrims in front, that would be backlit to show families during the Sabbath prayer scenes in “Fiddler.”

Meanwhile, as a bonus, Burns and O’Neil persuaded Ventura Music Festival Director Nuvi Mehta, an acclaimed violinist, to play the Fiddler in the production. The focus of the 2009 festival is Russian music, so “Fiddler,” they figured, would be a logical lead-in to the May event.

So far, so good — but expensive.

“It was a huge stretch to even consider this financially,” Burns said. To drum up support from potential donors, the theater planned a dinner event where they would share Giamario’s set model and the overall vision for “Fiddler.”

Along with Novatt and his wife, Dottie, other donors who made large contributions included Venturans Janet and Mark Goldenson. Janet, who is from Malaysia, said the musical was “close to her heart” because her late brother, James, had been the musical director and pianist for a production of “Fiddler” in India, and her late husband, Leslie, played Tevye in the same production.

Plus, Mark said, “I’m Jewish, and my grandparents immigrated to the U.S. after World War I in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, which is foreshadowed in ‘Fiddler.’”

According to Burns, Rubicon raised a record number of sponsorships that night.

As financial support rolled in, the show was becoming a reality. Securing legal permission to stage the production, Burns figured, would be easy. The rights weren’t available, however, because the national tour, although it hadn’t been announced yet, was in the planning stages.

Burns’ formidable connections to people in the theater world kicked in.

She learned that the producer for the national tour was Nick Howey, who’s also produced “Jesus Christ Superstar,” starring Ted Neeley, a close friend of Burns and O’Neil. Neeley put in a good word for Rubicon.

Howey, who had toured the Rubicon Theatre and knew its reputation as a strong regional theater, was willing to make an exception.

He wrote a supportive letter to Music Theatre International, which controlled the rights. But MTI still said “no” on behalf of the “Fiddler” creators.

“It was for a good reason; they were afraid of setting a precedent,” Burns said, adding that the only exception would be theater companies that had already obtained “Fiddler” rights before the national tour was announced.

Carol Edelson, MTI senior vice president, said the rights house also made exceptions for small community theaters and high schools, and some universities, but “when we got requests from professional theaters like Rubicon, we said no.”

So Burns went straight to the sources: Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. They wrote, respectively, the book, music and lyrics for “Fiddler,” which is based on stories by Sholem Aleichem.

Burns started with Harnick because singer-actress Amanda McBroom, a frequent Rubicon performer, knew the lyricist and asked if he would be willing to talk with Burns about the rights issue.

Burns flew to New York several times over four months to meet with Harnick.

“I told him, ‘This has become so important to our community, it sort of takes a village,’” she said. “I said it had become an idea that was greater than the sum of its parts.”

Harnick was surprised that Burns wanted to meet with him. “Usually people don’t contact me in person,” he said. But he didn’t need much convincing. Harnick trusted McBroom’s praise of Rubicon — including its production of his musical “She Loves Me” — and figured that if the national tour director was OK with letting Rubicon have the rights, then so was he.

One down, two to go.

Stein needed little swaying after Harnick spoke to him.

Bock, however, who was not feeling well at the time, Burns said, declined through his attorney, Dick Ticktin.

Yet the decision had to be unanimous.

Burns wrote Bock and his attorney a six-page, mostly single-spaced letter telling them the whole story. She sent them pictures of Bernie and Dottie Novatt, the Goldensons and other donors, and photos of the ambitious set. She said if the creators still had concerns about the national tour, and if Rubicon’s production was first, the theater would run an ad in the musical’s program that said, “You’ve seen it here, now see it with Topal.”

She met with attorney Dick Ticktin at his intimidating Avenue of the Americas law firm — and headed back to MTI with a triumphant trio of OKs.

Still MTI had to discuss the matter internally and give the final OK.

“They (Rubicon) were so fantastic,” MTI’s Edelson recalled. “They came up with an interesting concept. It’s a huge show for such a small theater. It seemed like such a great idea; everybody wanted it to happen.”

So it will.

And the fiddler didn’t fall after all, instead climbing up stronger than ever.



Written by Joseph Fuqua and Lauren Patten (A.K.A. The Constable and Chava), you can find it on the RTC site here:

... and below ...


April 26th, 2009 | 8:52 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

It’s the last blog. The Constable was told to make it good (for once) by Lazar f*%#ing Wolf. So. Here it goes.

Today we had an honor that in this day and age few Fiddler casts have enjoyed. Sheldon Harnick came to our matinee, was first to stand at the curtain call, and then made a backstage appearance gushing praise and platitudes. Such a privilege. The Rubicon cabaret series of the Topa Tower Club honors Mr. Harnick tomorrow night. He is an unparalleled lyricist and the celebration and performance will mark his 85th birthday. An amazing day.

And tonight we have another bought out house. The Jewish Federation and Temple that bought out our opening night is bookending our run in a warm and loving way. They are a great house.

Backstage, there is a flurry of photographs, the signing of programs and posters, the exchanging of addresses, and assurances galore. The beautiful thing about theatre is that sooner or later, you meet up with your favorite actors again with stories to tell. Actors are a gregarious lot and always seem to pick up their friendships right where they left off, even years afterwards. It really is so.

We were unable to get a complete update from the futures of our merry band, but rest assured that if ever there is a place for them back at the Rubicon, all are welcome.

This was a historic achievement for the Rubicon theatre. The largest show ever done, the biggest orchestra, the most costly set. Many, many landmarks passed. We are all very proud and everyone in the front and in the back of our beloved stage should be grateful. Grateful to have taken a chance and, as they say, hit it out of the park. Heavy sigh, followed by another heavy sigh.

This also marks a 21st century landmark – the Rubicon’s first blog, made possible by the love and guidance of Cindy Frankey and Ken Wesler.

Chava (Lauren Patten) and the Constable (Joseph Fuqua) thank you for being faithful readers, gentle readers, and hopefully dear Rubicon patrons. Help keep the dream alive. Theatre in Ventura is made possible by your donations and enthusiastic attendance.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. May we all blog and read again.

Lauren and Joseph

April 25th, 2009 | 10:03 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Second show on Saturday. A ‘bought out’ house. The wonderful Kipps and their investment firm and clients are out front. Enjoyment abounds.

Nuvi has been out for these two shows. We miss him. Yeah, yeah, we know. Jamie’s a great fill-in. But we’ve been blogging about closing out this run with all of our fine components intact, so. There it is. We was bummed.

But we’ve bounced back. I’m sure every one of you gentle readers has heard the term “the show must go on”. Must it? Yes. Why? …We recommend you watch Shakespeare in Love. This is handled very artfully in the screenplay.

Okay. We know a couple of updates on what our castmates are moving on to after we close. Our Lazar Wolf (George Ball) is going abroad to Tuscany and Scotland. Fine food and travel! Bob Barry (the Rabbi) is going back to focusing on his photography. Check out! We know Chad Borden (Motel) is in a show at Universal Studios which will be stage managed by our own stage manager, Linda Tross! Amy Hillner (Tzietel) has a continuing gig doing industrial shows. Jay Brazeau (Tevye) is going to host his high school’s talent show in Winnipeg. He is also going to be filming an independent movie.

More on the future anon.

Well, that’s the round up for now. We’ve all got some bottled up emotions. The moving on…the pulling away…the hurt…the pain…the abandonment issues…the phone calls…the stalking…the furtive glances…the abandonment issues (oh…we said that)…this is how it goes until we meet again.

Bye for now!

Our final blog lies ahead tomorrow. Sunday. Ask for it by name.


Chava und The Constable

April 24th, 2009 | 10:14 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Friday night! Closing weekend has officially begun. We’ve got a great show going on. Nuvi is back. We’re ready to see this puppy out with dignity and grace. There’s a lot of food being promised. Our assistant stage manager Jenine is making monkey bread on Sunday. We know the closing night party is at My Florist Café and Bakery. FYI blog readers, this has been a late night haunt for the cast. They’re one of the few fine establishments open until midnight in the little town known as San Buenaventura.

Also, of great note, the lyricist of Fiddler, Sheldon Harnick, is coming to our show this weekend. It has not been disclosed which show, because some actors get psyched when they know a big wig is in the audience. On Monday night, the Rubicon is hosting a fundraiser at the Topa Tower Club in celebration of Sheldon’s 85th birthday. People from the cast will be performing songs from Fiddler, and others will be singing songs from his other shows like “The Apple Tree” and “She Loves Me”. A good time, and we hope it raises a lot of dough.

Chava’s real sister is in the audience tonight! She’s very excited for her to see the show. Also, Amy Hillner (Tzietel), has a lot of friends in the audience to cheer for her. So the audience tonight is very supportive, which us actors enjoy.

Some friends of the theatre, Robin Gammil and his new wife, the lovely Stephanie MacNamera – both Rubicon alumnus – are in the audience with the former’s daughter and the latter’s step-daughter, Winslow Corbett, another fine Rubicon alumnus. They were here earlier in the day to plan the Ventura celebration of their nuptials at the house of the Constable and his better half, B. McDonald. Big doins’.

Life WILL go on after Fiddler.

But sadly for awhile wethinks.

Chava und The Constable

April 23rd, 2009 | 10:07 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Thursday night. We don’t have Nuvi. We miss him when he’s gone. It’s only happened for a few shows a couple of weeks ago. We have our wonderful dance captain Jamie Thompson “miming” the violin – or the fiddle – and he’s terrific. But let’s face it: We’ve come to adore having a virtuoso on the roof. Ah well. Nuvi will be back soon, and we’ll have a closing weekend with all of our many components intact.

George Ball, our Lazar Wolf, is reading “The Making of a Musical: Fiddler on the Roof”. It tells the tale of our show from inception to the making of the movie. He often reads interesting bits to the many who assemble in Dressing Room 2. Evidently, Zero Mostel (the original Tevye) used to “chew on the scenery” once the show was open. In a previous blog, we have mentioned that after opening, some actors will change their performances. Maybe they’re bored, maybe they want to try new things, but it always is a mistake. You lose the show in favor of personal gain or glory. Never a good idea.

Chad Borden (Motel) has started rehearsal as of Monday for a show about the creature from the black lagoon at Universal Studios. Double duty for Chad! Most of us actors are wondering when the next job will come in. That’s the life of the actor. It’s nice when you have back-to-back work, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. The Constable, for instance, will go back on unemployment (a common feature of a working actor’s life is not working enough to qualify for unemployment). His father used to refer to this as his son “being on the dole” – a joke about the shame of a wayward son who didn’t “go far” but went “near”.

On a personal note, Chava is almost finished with her Sociology for high school! She is a homeschooled junior and she does one subject at a time until it’s finished! While finishing Sociology is good, that means she has to move on to Algebra 2. Not so good. Wish her luck.

In the next few blogs this closing weekend, we shall endeavor to supply you gentle readers with updates on the fate of our troupe. Where will they go? What will they do? Not even remotely close to the tragedy that befell the villagers from Anatevka, yet there is mild despair at our disbanding. It is the life of an actor. More on this on Sunday.

Friday is tomorrow. We’ll talk to you then.

Chava und The Constable

April 22nd, 2009 | 9:11 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Second show! We had a great matinee. It was a great audience – it was sizzling! I’m sure you’ve all heard the term “the blue hairs” – it’s an affectionate term for the matinee crowd…of a certain age. Seniors. Gray Panthers. They are always a terrific audience. They’ve lived long lives with theatre and are incredibly appreciative. This is a wonderful thing for an actor – a receptive audience. Totally receptive.

This evening’s show is, as they say, a “bought out house”. Ventura Memorial Hospital and our own Board President, Dr. Richard Reisman, and his gorgeous wife Lori are hosting the event. So we’ve got a house full of “medical professionals”. Backstage, many have been joking about having a heart attack onstage or some such thing and being able to say, “Is there a doctor in the house?” and having a bunch of doctors rush the stage and break into fist fights to attend the dying actor. Good times, y’all.

On a personal note, Chava was experiencing some nausea earlier today. She thinks she must have eaten something that didn’t sit right with her, so she was a little queasy for the matinee. Luckily, it didn’t get any worse and her lovely mama brought her saltines during the dinner break. All better!

The Constable would like to say something to the blog readers that have dirty minds. This is not a case of a teen pregnancy – this is just an upset stomach. I know, I know – when a young woman talks about feeling nauseous and needing saltines, it’s a little cliché. But don’t jump to conclusions, ya stupid heads. Chava would like to note that she was the butt of at least 10 jokes about being pregnant. So she’s had enough of that. (Backstage is full of dirty minds, obviously.)

We had a dancer lose his beard today during the wedding scene. It laid on the stage like a dead animal. Road kill. Someone suggested that when the Constable entered, he should’ve stepped on it like he was killing a small rodent. It didn’t happen.

Short and sweet tonight. We’re inching towards the closing weekend. It’s all good. Talk to you tomorrow!

Blog tidings, gentle readers!

Chava und The Constable

April 21st, 2009 | 9:12 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Great audience tonight! They want to be here! This is an added show, so they obviously couldn’t get tickets to one of the scheduled shows, so this added show is filled with enthusiastic theatre goers. And so, we’re eating it up (appropriate yummy noises to be made my reader – perhaps nummy num nummer?).

It’s our final week (We’re not going to use “last” anymore. Let’s use final. Better yet, let’s use “closing week”. Final is so…final.) So, it’s the closing week. So there.

Jay went to the Laugh Factory in LA last night. Andrew Dice Clay was the featured comic, and Jay was singled out by Mr. Clay and they started conversing. Jay became part of the act! They talked for the benefit of the audience about Fiddler on the Roof and Mr. Clay had some…rather sordid things to say about Tevye’s daughters. We won’t go any further, but suffice (Dice!) that it was unsavory, but evidently funny. This blog is not a fan of his humor and Jay regretted being in the front row. But, there it is. He was. Maybe he should have gone to the Cheesecake Factory and not the Laugh Factory.

It’s been extremely hot out, which means that it is even hotter onstage. On a personal note, Chava finds it difficult to keep cool with bloomers, a petticoat, and a heavy skirt. With double the lights for this show, the lighting looks fabulous, but it gets hotter a lot faster.

Here’s some news! Someone thought someone “broke wind” during the wedding, but it’s been discovered that the bad smell was the Russians peasant shirts – all polyester – they came back from the dry cleaner smelling very skanky, evidently. Spanky’s Russian pants have a different style and color from everyone else – the fabric burned his skin as he perspired in the heat. So, no offense to the dry cleaner, but…sometimes actors prefer natural fiber and the gentle cycle with Woolite. Perhaps in a Kenmore? Or, even better, a Maytag? The Constable never has anything dry cleaned. He has his suits steamed and brushed – never dry cleaned. I mean, who wants burning skin and skanky smells?

We had a five layer dip from Diane Perren! Avocado, cheese, sour cream and maybe clams? Eileen Barnett brought in Trader Joe’s ginger snaps – Chava’s favorite! …Our ASM (asst. stage manager) Jenine’s Mom puts ginger snaps in the Cuisinart and saves the crumbs in the freezer—to be added to—believe it or not—stews and meatloaf—as well as to graham (sp?) cracker crusts. Might be a kicky

All for now kids.

Chava und The Constable

April 19th, 2009 | 9:13 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Second show! Last show of the week. Of a long 9 show week. Larry’s scratch on his face is healed, or healing. It was pretty angry looking last night, but today, his face just looked kind of…greasy. He had Neosporin all over that side of his face. The Constable told him (backstage, of course) to put Neosporin on the other side of his face so his whole face looked greasy, but he didn’t listen. Larry did, however, make a sort of “phantom mask”, so he’s the Phantom of Anatevka. Not quite as grand as Phantom of the Opera, but amusing nonetheless.

He had a delicious dinner between shows supplied by the Greek Restaurant of the Ventura Harbor. Chicken kabobs, sliced gyro, fantastic rice, fabulous hummus and wonderful soft, warm pita bread. AND a great Greek salad. We also had birthday cake for our end of April birthday boys and girl -- Rob Hancock, Jim O’Neil, Spanky Reynoso, and our wonderful house manager Anna! We love being fed well.

Crew spotlight on Linda Tross, our stage manager! She hails from Chicago (like Chava!), she cut her teeth in stage management at the Candelight Dinner Theatre. She’s stage managed many Rubicon shows, including Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, and Night of the Iguana, and she assistant stage managed Hamlet. She’s a loyal and devoted Equity member and is a firm task master, as well as a fun-loving friend! Bless her.

Just like “The Rumor” in Fiddler, the rumor of the drunken couple last night has spread throughout the Rubicon community. Apparently, it has gotten blown out of proportion, just like the song! A few ushers came in today and excitedly commented on how the drunken couple climbed under the stage, and then set off firecrackers outside the theatre. We can assure you, gentle readers, this did NOT happen. But everyone backstage is getting a kick out of how similar the situation is to the song, even so far as suggesting that perhaps the drunken couple gave our smaller cast members the mumps!

The folks in Dressing Room 2 were talking earlier about how the Rubicon is an “art factory” and their product happens to be art. The cast and crew are the factory workers, cogs in the machine that make a widget called theatre. We are proud of it! We make a great product here at the Rubicon.


That’s it! The closing of our second to last week. We’re poised to begin the last roundup. As stated previously, we’ll all get through this together…or not. Have a great Monday! Remember, that is the traditional actors’ day off. A sacred time. We must go. Buh-bye!

Chava and the Constable

April 18th, 2009 | 10:13 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Oh boy! A big night! We had a couple of drunks in the front row that were very loud during all the scenes – commented on every funny line and sang along to all the songs. The actors were getting very annoyed. At first it seemed that they were drunk, and then people wondered if they were developmentally challenged. But, George Ball was right – they were just a couple of drunks. I guess you could say that they were “sobriety challenged”. During intermission, due to some unacceptable belligerence, they were kicked out. And, evidently, the cops had to be called. Exciting! An interesting note: George Ball slurred that he knows a drunk when he sees one. He further slurred that he found it interesting that the women in the cast were adamant about them being challenged. Why is that, do you suppose? Chava thinks that it is quite an “accomplishment” to be so drunk that you appear to be mentally challenged. That is a first for her. She thought you blacked out before that point. The Constable remembers a time when he was so drunk people thought he was a carnie. (A carnie, of course, is one of those unsavory workers at a carnival that always makes girls like Chava uncomfortable, but other girls, like Tzietel (Amy Hillner) excited, what with their tattoos, sinewy arms, and tobacco stained teeth…)

Oh! And another thing. We had another causality tonight. This time, an accidental scratch. One character’s thumbnail hit another character’s face – there will be blood. And there was.

Tonight, we presented Jim O’Neil with the faux violin that was signed by the cast and crew and had a wonderful commemorative plaque on the base. A wonderful memento for Herr Director.

Oh! Diane Perren made some killer brownies and chocolate chip cookies, as well as more guacamole for all of us. And, of course, before the matinee today, the Constable brought in his “soup duo”, chicken and a miso for the vegetarians.

The Constable has a special guest from Ohio! His friend Cindi Verbelun (who just played Fruma Sarah for her local theatre – receiving wonderful reviews) is here to see two shows! Thanks Cindi for all your support!

Two more shows tomorrow, a day off, and then our final week. *sob* *sniff* We promise to be strong. We’ll get through this closing together, gentle readers. Hopefully without further mishap. We’ll blog you tomorrow!

Chava and the Constable

April 17th, 2009 | 10:06 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Hey everyone! Guess what? It’s Jim O’Neil’s birthday! He’s another unsung hero – well, sung on opening, but hasn’t really been sung since. He’s our fearless leader, and fearless is right. To do the shows that he’s done here at the Rubicon…he’s a brave artist. We love him and wish him many more happy birthdays.

Friday night! We have an audience of major laughers. Not your typical Friday night audience. (We may have stated previously that sometimes the Friday night has the energy of the husband being dragged by the wife to see a darn show.) But tonight, there’s some…laugh track laughter. You remember, those distinct laughs you’d hear during a sitcom? It’s really nice. Laughter is like a wave that hits an actor and bathes him or her in reassurance that he or she is “on the right track”. Remember that, gentle readers. And none of your fake laughter, please. We can smell that a mile away. Also, please no “golf claps”. Golf claps are timid claps that can hardly be heard. We say, let’s hear it baby! All or nothing. Hurt your hands clapping, darnit!

We had some wonderful pizza from Rusty’s last night at the photo call, and a couple of the gals came to Dressing Room 2 for some bourbon. Oh yeah. It’s nice to see some old timey lady-like drinking. We heard that one of Tevye’s daughters threw up in the parking lot of an In-n-Out on her day off. We won’t say which one, but it wasn’t Chava (as she is underage and abstemious by nature). Chava had a Dr. Pepper explode on her. Luckily, she jumped out of the way before the soda could ruin her costume for the photo call. It only got on her apron a little.

Oh! Here’s another recipe! Leslie Henstock (Hodel) brought in some delicious snacks – they could be hors d’oeurves. Take a small dill pickle, wrap it in a large, thin slice of salami that’s been spread with cream cheese, and use a nice toothpick to secure it. Salty and yummy. (Chava’s gagging right now. You should see the look on her face. She hates cream cheese, and doesn’t eat meat. But she is fond of pickles…and toothpicks – who isn’t? Toothpicks are great!) Hats off to Leslie.

Four show weekend coming up! We’re ready. We’re in the groove. Check us out tomorrow night. Same blog time, same blog site. Bloggins’ on you!

Blogva and the Blogstable

April 16th, 2009 | 10:14 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Thursday night. Our show is back to normal. The difficult part of tonight is that we have what is known as a “photo call” after the show. It is sanctioned by the union, but is deeply annoying to the cast that remembers already having photographs taken. We know, we know…this is a thorough documentation of the show. Heavy sigh. Well, they are supplying us with some pizza. And we hope some soft drinks…and some beer! We’ll see. Chava would express her distaste. Icky. The Constable wishes to express that he wishes we could all do shots of Jeigermeister (a lethal liquor favored by frat boys, Scandahuvians, and constables alike). Let’s party!!

Rod Latham is the photographer of choice. Rod directed the Constable in “The Boys Next Door” and was a replacement Sancho in “Man of La Mancha”. He’s multi-talented and a big friend of the Rubicon.

Staff spotlight on Greg Johnson, our wonderful concessions host! He has a marvelous array of ever-changing snacks available in both the upper and the lower lobbies. He now has ginger mints, a Russian favorite! And they’re kosher!

We’re gearing up for a big weekend. Lots of family and friends getting in their last licks before we close next week. It’s sad to think that this time next week, we’ll really be…close to the end. We thank you for being our ever faithful readers. Both Chava and the Constable are getting emotional. We don’t want it to end. So, we’ll pretend that it’s not ending. (Let’s get a grip here. We’ve got more than a week! The Constable does have a tendency towards being maudlin. George Ball chimes in slurringly, “He’s a drama queen.” It’s all good.

Chad Borden seems to have chronic fatigue syndrome. He’s listless…backstage. But ever the powerhouse onstage. FYI, he was recently elected the President of Dressing Room #2. It was unanimous.

Well, that’s all for now. We leave you with this: Blogging is fun. Put that in your bubble pipe


Chava and the Constable

April 14th, 2009 | 9:09 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Here we are doing a show on a Tuesday. Great GREAT audience. Seems to be filled with lots o’ theatre folk. Pals of the cast who couldn’t get tickets—until our first ADDED show. The Constable was said hello to as he crossed the stage in “Tradition”. He didn’t recognize the voice, but it might have been one of those “blast from the past” audience members that always freak an actor out.

Oh! By the way, if you want to freak an actor out, send a note backstage that just says, “I’m here! Guess who?” Visions of ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, people an actor might owe money to or perhaps even an old elementary school teacher. Anyhoo, wondering who said hello to you, or who might be in the audience in a shroud of mystery…is freak.

On a personal note, Chava is experiencing some unwelcome congestion. She didn't realize she had congestion until she began singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”. It was an unpleasant surprise. Luckily, she got through the number without any major mishaps.

There was a little argument going on earlier…in the company lounge about nakedness on the cover of a “Vanity Fair”. George Ball asks, “What’s wrong with that? I read the magazine for the articles.” Chava wonders if that is true. George Ball thinks the distaste Chava exhibited reflects a prudish Chicago upbringing. The Constable suggests that maybe she just isn’t a fan of “Vanity Fair”. Maybe she thinks it should be called “Vanity Unfair”.

In any case, Mr. Ball does not cotton to sixteen year olds being judgmental towards him. To the phrase “cotton to”, the Constable says to George Ball, “Twenty-three skeedoo,” or, “Last time I heard that, I fell off my dinosaur,” or, “I kicked a dodo bird.

After a day off most of us feel good about getting back in the Fiddler groove again. We are off on our second to last week with a bang. Two shows tomorrow y’all.


Chava and the Constable

April 12th, 2009 | 9:08 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Easter Sunday. Also, the Titanic anniversary. The ship, not just a mention of “size”. You wouldn’t believe the two Stooges routine that Chava and the Constable just went through to plug in the charger for Chava’s computer under the “camp bed” under the Constable’s dressing table. It took five minutes. It’s dark and messy. George Ball had a good laugh. All for the sake of the blog. It’s worth it, but we’re all out of breath.

Second show of the last day of the week. Great audience today at the matinee, and then another FANTASTIC dinner provided through the generosity of Jordan and Sandra Laby. They are very thoughtful. Oh! We’ve also had quite a “buffet” backstage. Our wonderful wardrobe lady Sheryl Jo brought hard-boiled eggs and made cupcakes. Eileen Barnett (Golde) made yummy brownies. The Constable brought his cream cheese and “pepper jelly” (Remember the recipe from the previous blog?) Three pounds of cream cheese and a goodly amount of pepper jelly…GONE. Grazin’ actors just walking around.

Evidently, a study was done years ago that talked about the expending of calories in various occupations. The actor expends as many calories as a jackhammer operator or a bricklayer – who schleps a lot of bricks. This may have to do with the “stress” of performance. Anyways, we like to eat and kid ourselves that acting burns a lot of calories. (George Ball chuckled at this statement and commented, “Ain’t that the truth.”)

Big family day! At the matinee, Chava’s real papa (who isn’t a milkman) was at the show. She can report that he enjoyed very much. Tonight, Jay’s family is the audience. They’ve seen him play Tevye three other times, so we have a lot to live up to. Hopefully, we’ll be the best Fiddler so far.

This is a comment that we’ve heard a lot of – people who saw the original production and have seen various other “respectable” productions think we’re the best. It’s the wonderful Rubicon Theatre. It’s…cozy, accessible, and gives up a great “product”.

Another big shout-out to the tireless wardrobe people, who are keeping the clothes mended and clean! We love them.

FYI, Sunday night is a big night for beard cleaning. Most beards (the fake ones) have to be soaked in rubbing alcohol to get rid of all the built up “spirit gum”, which is the adhesive we use. It’s nasty and sticky. One wonders if it is made from horses’ hooves, like old-timey glue. God forbid.

Well, we only have one day off this week – remember the added Tuesday show? We can’t forget. We’ve got to get in a lot of day-offin’ all in one day. Another FYI, the union (Actor’s Equity) chose Monday to be a day off because in the old days, actors to accomplish banking, going to the tailor and grocer and such. If the day off was on a weekend, most of these fine establishments were closed. So the rule is Monday is “dark” so an actor can do…stuff.

Blog at you later!

Chava and the Constable

April 11th, 2009 | 10:02 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Okay. Second show of a two show day. We had a great matinee, and then…AN INCREDIBLE DINNER supplied by Mary’s Secret Garden AND through the generosity of Sandra Laby! A big hit! People could not get enough of it. Chava had two heaping plates…I think everyone had at least two plates. The hummus was a poem.

Crew spotlight on Jenine MacDonald, who is Kathleen Parsons’ replacement. She “trailed” Kathleen for a couple of days, learning her duties, and now she is taking over! Jenine is a wonderful stage manager – she staged managed the Rubicon’s production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Good times. And her she is again! We stated earlier, if you’re good to work with, you’ll be coming back to the Rubicon. Word to the wise.

Cast spotlight on Rob Adelman Hancock, who told a fascinating story of his youth tonight. It seems that we was a deckhand on a tug boat on the Mississippi one summer, which was dangerous…and quite Tom Sawyer-ish. He had fun, and it’s always interesting to hear the things that actors have done as “survival work”. (In actor speak, a “survival job” is waiting tables, working in an office…the Constable, for instance, was once a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue. All things to pay for “the art”.) FYI readers, you can always ask an actor what their most interesting survival job was, and probably get a pretty interesting answer. We bet most people have had interesting jobs. Let’s endeavor to ask anyone we meet what their most interesting job has been.

It’s been the Constable’s experience that the youth of today has not been taught how to “bounce the ball”, meaning when you’re conversing, the clever way to endear yourself to whomever you’re talking to – to ask them about THEM – get them to talk about themselves. They’ll remember you as making them feel special. In the old days, we used to call that “charm” and it’s an important lesson for the youngins to learn. Chava thinks the Constable should write his own Chicken Soup for the Soul. The Constable thinks it should be more like Finger Bowls for the Brain. Oh! Remember that definition of what a “lady” or a “gentleman” was? The answer was someone who made ANYONE feel comfortable, be they high born or low born. Whether you’re Christian or Jewish, the teachings of the guy named Christ seem relevant at times. It’s just about being “good”, right? Come to think of it, you don’t need Christ to be good. But, if it helps – why not?

Much apologies if this has seemed preachy or unsavory. It’s a blog, remember. Chava and the Constable are just shooting from the hip, fast and loose. What’s wrong with that? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it…but we hope you do.

We realize that next week begins a NINE show week. We’ve added the Tuesday show, remember? Only one day off. Some people have a case of the grumps RE this matter. But we’ll survive. It means that you like the show, which makes everyone here at the Rubicon very happy, and the theatre hopefully more solvent.

Blog readers, we hope you’ve heard of the “It Takes A Village” campaign. THE ARTS are hurting all across America. Any little bit helps. Don’t let the arts down! We hope that that DID sound preachy.

Okay, gentle readers. Blog at you tomorrow! Happy Easter!

Chava and the Constable

April 10th, 2009 | 10:07 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Friday night. The weekend begins. Right before intermission, we heard tell of a dancer having “cracked” his toe. We have visions of another put-in rehearsal, but the dance captain came around and said that he’ll be okay. So far, so good. In a similar vein, the Constable got an email today from Linda Levitz, who has heard of all of mishaps, and has suggested that we should refer to Fiddler on the Roof as the “Jewish play”. (For those of you who don’t know, Macbeth is referred to as the “Scottish play” backstage, because the legend is that if you speak the title or quote any of the lines backstage, you’re in for “the witches’ curse”. Shakespeare evidently used real incantations in the witch scenes – therefore, any syllable from the play delves into their world.

On the brighter side, Jessica Gordon is back doing most of her “track”, meaning her injury has healed enough to return to her village duties – for the most part. This is good news!

Crew spotlight – our assistant stage manager, Kathleen Parsons, is entering her third trimester. As she says, she’s having either a kitten or a puppy – she doesn’t care which. But sadly, for the sake of the baby, she’ll be leaving the show. Kathleen has stage managed MANY Rubicon shows, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Boys Next Door, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – to name a few. She’ll be missed, but we’ll see her again as a working mother. Love to Kathleen and her wonderful husband, Fred – and their puppy or kitten.

Jay Brazeau squired his family around Santa Barbara, Ojai, and the Camarillo Outlet Mall -- the poor guy. He is enthusiastic, if not willing. Most of us get to meet them on Sunday when they shall attend the show.

The gorgeous Sandra Laby is evidently in the house tonight! She is a patron of great renown, and we are all very grateful for her support of the Rubicon. We love you Sandra! (And Jordan!!!)

This was something I didn’t know (I don’t mean to tattle on Judge Steve Perren…but I will). Evidently, pasta is not considered kosher for Passover! The Constable found this out after the Judge had a big plate of his macaroni and cheese at the party on Wednesday. This was news, so we hope it won’t cost Steve his place in Heaven. Who knew that pasta wasn’t kosher for Passover?! Go figure.

Well, that’s it for now, gentle readers. The blog continues tomorrow evening. Buh-bye!

Chava and the Constable

April 9th, 2009 | 10:02 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

A party last night. Most came. Cast ‘n’ Crew. Some …….sleeping it off during the day (apparently!)

Good show thus far this Thursday eve. Lots of nibbles have been appearing backstage. Some amazing gourmet popcorn (courtesy of Chava) as well as some leftover fare from the Constable’s par-tay. As frequently noted, actors love to graze. There are theories about certain foods being bad for the singing voice. It doesn’t seem like many of the singers shy away from chocolate. Actors don’t have to worry except for, perhaps…WEIGHT GAIN! You often hear it around the snack table – comments like, “I’ve gained five pounds since I’ve started this show,” or, “Do I look fat with this chocolate in my hand?” It’s all fun.

Cast spotlight on Steve Perren -- he’s a judge! A governor Jerry Brown appointee. And he’s a really good villager. Excellent as Avram. Chava remembers the time in rehearsal when Spanky wasn’t around to sing his Russian tenor part, so Steve spontaneously took over for him. Wow! He’s got one heck of a voice. We may have mentioned before that he also has avocado trees, so we constantly have his wife Diane’s fantastic guacamole backstage.

Jay’s family is in town! The milkman missed the party last night and went to meet his family in L.A. They shacked up in a nice Marriott near LAX. They’ll see the show on Sunday. Meanwhile, our Tevye is showing his lovely wife and two sons the wonders of the South Land. Speaking of family, Chava’s real papa is arriving in town this weekend! She hasn’t seen him in a month and a half, so she’s very happy that he’s coming to visit.

Oh! As promised, here’s a quick and easy recipe! The WASPS call it Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly. It’s from the Amy Vanderbilt cookbook. (Decidedly un-Jewish, but delicious. Served at the Constable’s house frequently.) Take a block of cream cheese and put a big dent in the center. Let it get to room temperature. Meanwhile, you take half a cup of seedless blackberry jam and add two tablespoons of hot chili sauce or Tabasco. Mix thoroughly and let it chill. Right before your guests arrive, but it on top of the softened cream cheese. Garnish with parsley and serve with a plain water cracker. Delicious! It only tastes complicated. (Sometimes you can find hot pepper jelly. This works, but the sweet and hot of the blackberry and hot sauce is better. So there.)

The band is on fire tonight! We’re all in a nice groove getting ready for the big weekend. All is well here in Rubi-tevka. Mazeltov! Happy Passover. To life!

Chava and the Constable

April 8th, 2009 | 9:05 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Here we go again! The second show of a two show day after two-ish days off. Remember, Tuesday we had a couple of hours where we had to “put in” our new villager/dancer Jeff Parsons. Man, what a pro! He had rehearsal on Monday with the choreographer and our director, Jim O’Neil, as well as our stage manager, Linda Tross. They showed him the ropes, and by the time we came on Tuesday, he knew everything. Literally, everything. (No, he didn’t speak Greek. I mean, everything in the show. You know, Fiddler on the Roof.)

Tuesday night after the put in, we were hosted by George Ball and the lovely Amanda McBroom at their charming house in Ojai – a catered affair. Fantastic food. The shrimp dish – divine. Sweet and sour chicken, exceptional wines, pastries. Yum! Chava enjoyed the vegetarian cous cous. A good time was had by all. As we’ve stated previously, it’s really nice to sit down with these people that you’re dancin’ with, pogromin’ with and sharin’ a stage with. So having some convivial times with either a soda in your hand or a drinky-poo…it’s nice. We’re a bunch of interesting people. I just read in Vanity Fair that Jane Fonda (love her or hate her) answered the question, “What is your motto?” with, “It is better to be interested than interesting.” And that’s what we seem like. We’re all interested in each other, and that makes us all feel interesting – isn’t that nice? It’s like a warm hug.

I hope none of you threw up just now, gentle readers. Sometimes we get a little warm and fuzzy here at the Rubicon, and also in this blog. FYI, the young Chava has softened the Constable’s hard heart.

Today, during the Chavaleh ballet, there was a little mishap. While being twirled a little too enthusiastically by the intimidating Russian Fyedka (Josh Jenkins), Chava dramatically collapsed to the ground. She endeavored to make it look planned by looking up with a, “How could you do this to me?” look in her eyes and a dramatic leap to her feet – we made it all seem plausible. Chava actually thinks it worked in her favor, because the audience had more compassion for her in the next emotional scene. Nonetheless, Josh got the Gay Ranchero (and the Constable thinks Chava is kidding herself. Maybe he still has a bit of a hard heart after all.)

PARTY TONIGHT AT THE CONSTABLE’S HOUSE! (which he shares with the talented and dedicated Brian McDonald – and a cute little Dachsund named Ozzy.) Three kinds of mac n’ cheese – regular, gluten-free and vegan! All served with a vegan, gluten-free dish called stewed toMAHtoes, (it’s a Philadelphia Main Line thing) and other delectables. A vodka punch and a non-alkie punch. Lots of candles, too. It’ll be nice.

So far, it’s been a nice two shows this Wednesday. Most of us will get to sleep in tomorrow and recover from these back-to-back parties. Life is good. The show is popular, the cast is cozy…blah blah blah.

Hope we’re not too boring being all full of light and hope. But in this day and age………it’s better than the alternative.

Blessing and blogs,

Chava and the Constable

April 5th, 2009 | 9:04 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Mayday, mayday! So today, we have another castmate who has hurt themselves. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Jessica Gordon has sprained her ankle. So, we’ve had to “modify” some things once again. There’s a dangerous ledge on a side street near the theatre, and Jessica was at its mercy today. We are all wishing her a speedy recovery!

We met our new dancer, Jeffrey Parsons, today. He’s currently watching the show so he can see what he’s in for. A few of the people in the cast have worked with him before, and we’ve heard nothing but good things. But, the day is bittersweet because it’s Jeff Johnston’s last show. He’ll still be around during the run, though, so it isn’t really goodbye.

Chava currently has “The Gay Ranchero” because she said the wrong line during the intro of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”. The Constable got it the day before yesterday for saying, “Trubbermakers” rather than troublemakers. He didn’t think anyone noticed, but there was “The Gay Ranchero” on his dressing room table upon his arrival. This is Chava’s first time having the Ranchero. Remember, she is practically perfect in every way.

After our put-in rehearsal on Tuesday, the cast has been invited to George Ball and his lovely wife Amanda’s beautiful home in Ojai. They are marvelous hosts, and we’re very lucky.

On Wednesday, the Constable is hosting the cast after the second show. George and Joseph have agreed that if anyone can’t come, as hosts we owe them $8. This is approximately what a host spends on each guest for a mildly elegant evening. Of course, sometimes it’s a $12 evening. But those nights are rare.

Nuvi found his way into “Dressing Room 2” (what now constitutes as “The Members’ Lounge”, as it is the home to company members Joseph Fuqua and George Ball – they have special chairs…and other finery to intimidate and belittle anyone who is NOT…in dressing room 2 – there is also a ‘camp bed’ underneath the dressing room table – Joseph has it during the show and George has it between shows – it’s the company way). Nuvi was impressed. Hopefully, not too belittled.

Last show of a long week. We’ll blog at you on Wednesday. Stay tuned. Bye for now gentle readers!

Chava and the Constable

April 4th, 2009 | 10:04 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Second show on Saturday. We had a few adjustments given to us by stage management regarding reactions, crowd murmurs, enthusiasm levels, and it seems to have done the trick. The scenes have the “life” that they had when we opened. There’s always an ebb and flow in the run of a show. So that’s why actors continue to get “notes”. It’s all good.

Tonight marks the official “halfway” mark of run. (George Ball – Lazar Wolf – says tomorrow. He’s right, like always.) Anyhoo, we’re halfway-ish.

Cast spotlight on Spanky! Spanky did a terrific job with the beards and scary makeup in “The Dream” scene. He’s also terrific as the Russian tenor! He also gave George Ball a nice haircut. He gives a good haircut! We’re lucky to have him and it’s nice that he’s making a strong showing on stage, as well. Hats off to the Spank!

Betsy Randle’s skirt almost came down during “Tradition” this afternoon. Fortunately, the wardrobe added another snap. Now she is secure, though it would’ve been funny to see that! The unsung heroes of the show are the fine people working in wardrobe. They are constantly sewing on buttons, snaps, hooks, and eyes, as well as fixing hats and broken laces, washing, ironing – actors are pretty particular about the stuff they put on their bodies. We all try not to be imperious, but sometimes when you’re two minutes away from the “places” call, it’s hard to stop yourself from screaming, “WARDROBE!” when a button falls off in your hand.

Attitude is a very crucial thing. So often, actors forget about that. Even if you’re a terrific actor, if anyone can say backstage that you weren’t great to work with, next time around you could lose out on the job. It’s especially true for younger actors, “coming up through the ranks”. We’re really lucky our group seems to have everything going for them.

It’s interesting – there’s no more food or candy backstage, but the actors still keep going back to the area where there should be snacks. Even though there wasn’t anything there fifteen minutes ago, we still keep going back to see if any chocolate has magically appeared.

So that’s it folks! Remember that it’s okay for boys to dance with girls. We’ve come a long way!

Blogfully yours,

Chava and the Constable

April 3rd, 2009 | 9:58 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

The Constable is under his dressing table in his dressing room—on his ‘camp bed’ commencing to blog. Chava is downstairs in the lil’ girls’ room. Perhaps she stopped in the giftshop.

We should have some FIDDLER t shirts made up. They could be popular. Maybe some “Constable dolls” Or…like a …Chava “Barbie”. (Chava and the Constable went up to Santa Barbara and purchased a Pilgrim Barbie at a local “thrift” establishment. Don’t tell the Rabbi, but the thrift store supports Catholic charities.)

We have bad news in the company. Our young dancer, Jeff Johnston, needs to be replaced because of his snowboarding accident. He can’t risk causing irreparable damage to his shoulder and our production needs someone with full movement capacity. We’ll miss him and we’ll fill you in on his replacement on Tuesday. Evidently, he’s talented and apparently…perhaps formally Mormon. Go figure.

On a personal note, there is a gigantic insect that has taken up residence in the women’s dressing room, and it is really grossing Chava out. FYI, Chava HATES bugs. According to the rest of the cast, it is a harmless mosquito eater and doesn’t bite humans. Chava still wants it gone. A note from Lazar Wolf and the Constable – Chava needs to go camping in a Florida swamp. That’ll fix her. Can you say palmetto bug? Chava responds with, “When hell freezes over.”

Anyhoo, we’re gearing up for a big weekend. We’ve got a couple of parties next week, a put-in rehearsal that’s none too popular, and of course, more sell-out crowds! Our added Tuesday shows don’t begin until the following week. Meanwhile, we all endeavor to keep the show “fresh”. This requires some reminders from stage management to keep the ad-libs crackin’ and the energy UP!

There’s the strange smell of wood smoke in the air. It’s kind of nice. We imagine Anatevka would have this kind of smell. Outside, it’s cool and a little windy. We’ve all been enjoying some beautiful weather and we’re in a beautiful play. Life is good for most.

Blessings to all our blog readers! Talk to you tomorrow.

Chava and the Constable

P.B. Lazar Wolf mumbles something about life being a deep, dark pit from which we can never escape. Go figure.

April 2nd, 2009 | 10:08 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

There was a party last night at Jessica Gordon’s parents’ house - Diane and Allan. It was great! It was so nice to unwind, to talk to people you haven’t talked to yet and, yes blog readers, to drink. Chava was not in attendance, so the blog readers do not have to worry about any unsavory actions on her part. She is, after all, underage. Anyhoo, there was some drinks, but no drunk driving. So no worries!

On a personal note, the Constable just saw some boobage in the ladies’ dressing room. I won’t say who, but they were nice.

I hope no one’s offended, but come on. Actors are constantly having to change clothes in awkward situations, and as we’ve explained, there’s not much room backstage. So privacy is at a premium.

Evidently, there was an audience member who was allergic to goose feathers and didn’t appreciate the pogrom. There is a pillow that is cut open to great dramatic effect. Apologies to people with allergies. Go figure.

It’s short and sweet tonight. We don’t have the fiddler (Nuvi Mehta). Actually, the virtuoso on the roof. So we’ve had to re-arrange some stuff. The Constable looked upstage to say, “Go on, play!” during the pogrom…but Nuvi wasn’t there. There was a moment of “what do I say next?”…but the Constable quickly recovered and said the next logical line. Our dance captain Jamie Thompson is miming “the fiddler” – this is how it’s usually done – how it was originally done – a dancer playing the fiddler, miming the fiddle. We’ve been lucky having the gifted Maestro Mehta.

We’ll blog at you tomorrow!


Chava and the Constable

April 1st, 2009 | 9:10 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

We’ve had two days off. Feels good. We had a good matinee today. The “blue-haired crowd”, as we say, leapt to their feet this afternoon at the curtain call. As noted in an earlier blog, actors LOVE a standing ovation. This show seems to be going well. We had a snowboarding accident on the days off. One of our dancers has his arm in a sling. The dance captain (Jamie Thompson) had to re-assign a few moments, scene changes, and a chair lift – but it’s all gone smoothly. Tom Beyer missed an entrance today, along with Jeff Johnston – the boy in the sling. So, poor Jessica Gordon had to deliver a wee monologue, rather than be part of a wee scene, all regarding that Tzietel isn’t going to marry Lazar Wolf, but the tailor Motel Kamzoil. All was handled well. The audience was none the wiser.

This is what we meant in an earlier blog – that actors constantly have to think on their feet. In a big show, MANY things can happen.

Cast spotlight on Amy Hillner! SHE WAS TRACY TURNBLAD IN THE NATIONAL TOUR OF HAIRSPRAY! She’s got a killer singing voice. We all have to turn down the monitor when she hits that big money note in “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”.

Oh! We’re adding two Tuesdays! The 14th and the 21st at 7 P.M. The actors get additional money$$$, which we like! It’s quite a feat to have to add shows. We really are selling out!

Besty Randle (Grandma Tzietel) made zucchini bread today (delicious – with coconut and butterscotch bits). Steve Perren’s wife, Diane, made some incredible guacamole with their homegrown avocados. As noted earlier, actors love free food. I mean, REALLY love free food. And the Easter candy is finding its way backstage – nice!

Party tonight after the talkback at Jessica Gordon’s parents’ house! We’ll let you know. We’re hoping for a piñata filled with driedles (sp?) and chopped liver. We’re still having fun, y’all! That’s all for now, kids!

Talk to you tomorrow. Same blog time, same blog channel.


Chava and the Constable

March 27th, 2009 | 10:06 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Friday. Good audience tonight – and sometimes Fridays are gruesome. The sometime energy is husbands are being dragged after work by their wives to the “theatre”, and they don’t want to be there. That’s just an actor’s impression, but strangely apt sometimes…but not tonight. Tonight, we’re killin’ it!

We had a great audience last night, but we didn’t get a standing ovation. FYI, actors love standing ovations. You can’t just give them away, but come on. This show is pretty damn good.

There is also something called “the leaving ovation” where the actors think that the audience is standing, but they’re clapping and moving towards the exits to get to their cars first. This doesn’t count. But it does raise the actors’ hopes.

Speaking of hopes, Chava is hoping that she did well on her most recent Sociology test (Chava is homeschooled). She had to take it backstage during a two show day. The Constable wonders how she will ever survive adulthood never having gone to a prom. Chava reminds him that she still has a year left. Plus she’s been to two homecomings.

Great tip for sinus trouble – local honey. George Ball (Lazar Wolf) had some local Ojai honey (he’s an Ojaian) and he has no sinus troubles today, and we’ve all been suffering – go figure.

Oh – cast spotlight on…Jay Brazeau. He was in “Bye Bye Birdie” with Jason Alexander! We think that’s cool. We’re going to try and give you little tidbits about the rest of the cast. We realize it’s been the Constable and Chava, and Lazar Wolf centric, but we may move the writing of the blog to other dressing rooms to get other tidbits. Not to worry, we’re going to think things peppy – and fascinating. Don’t give up hope on us. Keep reading! Perhaps recipes? Advice to the lovelorn? We do know some nice Jewish boys. So wish us well for the weekend! Four shows! We’ll keep you posted.

Blogfully yours,

Chava and the Constable

P.S. Do you know how to remove mascara stains from chiffon? Stay tuned.

March 26th, 2009 | 10:09 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Talkback last night. Short and sweet. Many, many comments about how wonderful it is to see such a large scale musical in an intimate setting. It really is a marvel. Theatres just don’t do that. But the Rubicon does. Hats off to Jim O’Neil and Karyl Lynn Burns and all of the people who believe in what they do. And may the people who don’t believe in what they do…may they itch in places they can’t reach. (Kidding – it’s a line from Fiddler on the Roof…come and see it! It’s terrific!)

Speaking of believing, we believe in chocolate…did we mention those cookies from Wednesday? Rice krispies, oatmeal, AND chocolate chips…I mean, come on!

Tonight’s audience is really “getting it”. Laughter in all the right places, oohs and ahs. George made a good comment (George Ball – Lazar Wolf) that sometimes when one of the bottles falls off of one of the bottle dancers’ heads, it’s a good thing – cause then they know the bottle isn’t glued on. It’s “real”

Most of us are finding that we know all the words to all of the songs. The Constable often wakes up singing “daidle deedle daidle deedle daidle dum!” Chava (to the annoyance of many) likes to sing along – quietly – during the show.

There’s wi-fi at the Rubicon and a lot of the cast are…wi-fi-ing a lot during the show. Perhaps this will cause them to be awarded The Gay Ranchero. Time will tell.

That’s all, gentle readers. It’s all going well. Lazar Wolf slurs a happy goodnight to you all. (He smells like cow spleen again.) We’re hoping for a scandal soon. Keep on reading the blog!

Bloggily yours,

Chava and the Constable

March 25th, 2009 | 9:10 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

So….We had a day off on Monday. Usually we would have Tuesday off as well. NOT this week …why? We had a put-in rehearsal for the roles of Hodel, Perchik, Bielke, and the Fiddler. We killed four birds with one stone! The main event was the put-in for Hodel and Perchik. Daniel Tatar and Jessica Gordon are on stage right now knocking it out of the park! They had a good show this afternoon as well. If they weren’t as good as they were, the rest of the cast would have resented the sh*# out of them. It was time well spent; they are terrific! Of course, we miss…what’s their names? (Kidding - Robert Adelman Hancock and Leslie Henstock – they’re in New York City with Karyl Lynn Burns raising money for “Daddy Long Legs”, a future Rubicon production.) So it’s all in the family. The understudies got to have two performances. They’re respective parents came up to see them – so it’s nice.

Today, Freddie, K and Dottie – Grand Dames – made poached salmon with a dill sauce, rice pilaf, and a kick-butt salad (with bleu cheese!). It was delicious. Oh! And the cookies were out of this world. Oatmeal, rice krispies, chocolate chips – not too sweet, perfect density. Many of us will dream of those cookies for weeks to come. Tonight is our first adult talkback! Actors hate the question, “How did you learn all of those lines?” The Constable’s standard answer is, “The lines are nothing. It’s learning all those faces that is hard!” Chava likes when the audience gets very philosophical with their questions, digging deep down into their souls to understand the meaning of the show. (The Constable told Chava to stop making his flesh crawl. Her pie in the sky idealism can make an adult retch – kidding!)

Oh! There’s an award that goes around from dressing table to dressing table and it is bestowed upon an actor who makes a noticeable mistake. The award is called “The Gay Ranchero”. It is a little statuette of a Latin farmer who looks anything BUT gay – gay in the happy sense, not the…well, you get the picture. The tradition started after “Man of La Mancha”. It was a gift for Jaime Torcellini – he left “La Mancha” and everyone hated him for it, so we cursed him with the Gay Ranchero. He gave it back to Joseph – the Constable –and thus it has ever since –from show to show been given to actors who have…..messed up. “The Gay Ranchero” can float from dressing room to dressing room 5 or 6 times a show. Folks cannot wait to give it to someone! Great fun and a good way to shame people in a destructive way!!!!

Secrets y’all. Later Bloglovers!!!!

Chava and the Constable

March 21st, 2009 | 9:23 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Opening night! Merde (it’s French for break a leg)! We’re kicking a*@! We started late – lots of speeches. The actors are having a good show, and the audience seems to be enjoying it. What more can you ask for? An interesting observation George Ball made is usually actors exchange opening act cards, small gifts, mementos to be cherished (or thrown away after the show closes). It’s a tradition that beguiles some and annoys others. George pointed out that this show, no one got or gave nothin’ (There are too many people, it would break the bank. We’re actors, not idiots!). Also, we’ve been really busy. Who has had time to shop? We even had rehearsal today. We refined the curtain call and implemented “Jim’s Notes”. Just some fine-tuning. And here we are.

Party tonight! Hosted by Jewish Federation of Ventura County. We are sticking to the theme and having the party at the Temple Beth Torah. The food is right out of the shtetl – food that Golde or Tevye, or God forbid Fruma Sarah, would make for their guests. Avram (Steve Perren), a nice Jewish Boy, informed the goys to expect a blend of dough, innards, and flavor. We’re all looking forward to it.

Here’s some grit about the show. The dancers play Russians and Jews, fiddlers, thugs, and they’re constantly changing from one to the other – in the beard, out of the beard, prayer shawl, Russian peasant blouse, bottle dance coat, back to Russian peasant blouse, and so on. Management thanks their lucky stars that they aren’t paid per costume change. Some more grity grit. There is absolutely no room backstage for anyone to be changing clothes. The traffic patterns of tables , benches, milk cans, butter churns, dancers, villagers, Russians, egos – it’s a mess! But two weeks from now, it’ll be a poetic ballet. But now, we’re still working out the kinks. For instance, the Constable got an elbow and a ladle in his neck earlier. He used the frustration in the pogrom. Chava is always bumping arms with her dressing room neighbors, Golde (Eileen Barnett) and Yente (Helen Geller). Hence, she spends much her time in dressing room #2 with George Ball (Lazar Wolf). Speaking of innards, Lazar Wolf often smells of cow spleen. We mean that in a good way!

Two shows tomorrow. Some party then to bed. Talk to you soon. Wish us ‘good reviews ‘ and great ‘word o’ mouth’.

Good blogs and warm regards,

Chava and the Constable

March 20th, 2009 | 10:06 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

It's our second show today. We had a 10 A.M. student matinee. Repeat, 10 A.M. (that's in the morning) show. We were packed to the rafters. The cast was greeted with a big pan of the Constable's cheesy grits. Incidentally, someone brought some marvelous donuts; they served as a great dessert. We were a little grumpy in the A of M, but well fed. Chava seemed to be the only cheery one. The Constable thinks that speaks to her youth. Chava thinks that the Constable needs to get in touch with his inner child.

The matinee went very well. The students really enjoyed it...well, they didn't boo. And actually, they asked terrific questions at the talkback. Our fiddler (Nuvi Mehta) has a new biggest fan: an adorable little boy who thought his music was "beautiful". The moment gave many a toothache. We received gasps of admiration when we said that we only had three and a half weeks to rehearse.

Tomorrow is opening! We're all excited. It'll be good to get this thing up! Right now, we're in the second act of the evening show. The audience was a little quiet during the first act, but they warmed up by "Miracle of Miracles". That number's got pep! Even if some of us do not (Chava excluded). Right now, the Constable is lying under his dressing room table co-writing this blog (what's the Russian word for ennui?). Chava is writing this blog with pen and paper - real old-timey (what is she, Amish?) Big party tomorrow after the show. Sold out house. We hope the reviewers from "The Recycler" and "Auto Trader Magazine" come! Wish us broken legs. We'll report anon.

With blog and warm regards,

Chava and the Constable

March 19th, 2009 | 10:12 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

It’s after the intermission of our first preview. A PAYING audience. A large and enthusiastic crowd! Guffaws. Old-timey knee slapping. Gasps. Sad sighs and snorts of recognition. And that was just in the restrooms (kidding!)! We’ve needed an audience, and we’ve got a good one. Our joy of the show going well thus far is tempered by the fact that we have a 10 A.M. student matinee. Chava would like to say that she thinks the 9:30 A.M. call is incidental compared to the unique opportunity that a student audience provides. They are an inspiring audience and she loves them. The Constable, not so much. He anticipates adolescent booing and perhaps the hisses of teachers and guidance counselors alike. If there were high school lunch ladies in the audience, perhaps only they can understand where the Constable is coming from. Oh, on a personal note, the Constable is bringing an old serf recipe called cheesy grits (now with vodka!). Kidding. Rib-stickin’ peasant food for Jews and Ruskies, designers and technicians…and anyone else who has to brave the smell of Clearasil and stale hall passes. Chava thinks the Constable is being a little grumpy. He loves student matinees…inside (WAY deep inside).

Actually, as much as anyone would complain – the Rubicon schedule of preview student matinee and preview that night, and then the opening on Saturday – is the perfect storm to get a cast ready in such a short time. Lazar Wolf (George Ball) just came into the dressing room. He is an avid fan of the blog. He may have said he’s a fan of grog. We don’t know – he’s always slurring his words. But we love him anyway. Golde just came in – she couldn’t understand a word George Ball said, so she left.

The show is coming to a close, so we must bid adieu. No one is going out after the show tonight…we’ll need our sleep for the matinee. You can’t get away with anything when there are kids in the audience. Goodnight gentle readers!

Blogs and kisses,

Chava and the Constable

March 18th, 2009 | 9:14 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

On a personal note, I tried to do the blog by myself. The computer was wrenched out of my hands because I type so slowly. The Constable is technically Amish, whereas Chava is a wiz-kid. Her middle name should be Gateway.

Final Dress! We have a small audience. Small, but hostile. They seem to like all the Jewish folk. The Russians (Constable), not so much. Oh sure, the ones that dance. But who doesn’t like Russian dancers? Oh, on another personal note, our stage manager Linda Tross said I looked like the Lord of the Dance in my costume. I hate Linda Tross (just kidding, we love Linda Tross).

Earlier today, we did “clean-up” and “Jim’s List”. We all had to sit in the theatre and not leave the theatre and wait…for the next guilty verdict who had to have a “note”. The Constable got several notes, and Chava got very few (The phrase practically perfect in every way comes to mind. The actress Lauren Patten will play Mary Poppins one day.).

Oh! The Rabbi came in today – Rabbi Sherman. He made sure that the wedding was “kosher”. We also found out that all the Jewish traditions save for the ring and two Jewish witnesses are extraneous . Go figure.

First preview tomorrow. A PAYING audience! So we’d better be good. Cross your fingers, gentle readers. Please note that in the time it would’ve taken the Constable to write this blog, Chava could’ve written War and Peace…or Doctor Chicago. One of the two. Put that in your blog and smoke it. We did.

Talk to you soon!

Chava and the Constable

March 17th, 2009 | 11:27 P.M.

Anatevka, Chava’s house.

Evening, readers! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a bit of a belated greeting, considering the time, but it’s better than nothing. Most of you are probably out having a few green beers, but I’m staying at home. There aren’t any fake I.D.s in Anatevka. So enjoy your green-colored drinks, but beware of green vomit…I hear it can be pretty nasty. May the luck of the Irish be with you on that one!

Today’s rehearsal started with a sitz probe. Sitz probe is German for “seated rehearsal”. It specifically refers to the process of incorporating the orchestra into the show. We didn’t really have a sitz probe, because we weren’t seated; we did the choreography along with the songs. It was so great to hear the songs with a full orchestra. The percussion and clarinet and such really add to the music. The difference between a keyboard and an orchestra is striking. Hearing the orchestra really boosted our spirits. We’re in the home stretch!

After dinner break, we had another tech dress rehearsal. We still have a few little kinks to work out, but altogether it’s looking really wonderful! We’re all extremely excited/nervous/anxious/edgy/eager/keen to have a small audience tomorrow for our invited dress rehearsal. It’ll be very nice to have some audience reactions to respond to, but it’s also intimidating to have people watching already! It’s hard to believe that we had our first rehearsal only three weeks ago. We’re all very proud of how well this show has come together. We have an amazing crew that has been working around the clock for weeks to build the world of Anatevka, and the members of our creative team have been valiant leaders.

The Constable sends his love. All of his pogromin’ has left him feeling a little under the weather. Wish him well!

Goodnight gentle readers!


March 14th, 2009 | 8:45 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

We’re in the second five-hour session of our first 10 out of 12. Yiddish word of the day—shpilkes. Nervous energy. We’re all feeling it. Everyone’s got their costumes. Most are happy, they look beautiful. The Constable is in a poly-cotton blend. It smells funny. Chava had to get her skirt fixed during dinner break because the audience could see some of her petticoat (gasp!). The fake beards and mustaches look fantastic, but they itch. So far they are staying in place, but no one’s really sweating yet.

We had dinner between shows. Chinese chicken salad! Thanks to those Grande Dames. They had to cook for 55, counting crew and visitors. Above and beyond. On the dinner break (2 hours, a la 10 out of 12), some people napped. Some people went to the gym (we hate them—showoffs). Chava went to Mary’s Secret Garden across from the post office—she doesn’t eat chicken, but she had some lovely vegan “chycken”! The Constable went home, fed and walked his Dachsund, and had leftover meatloaf.

We seem to be ahead of schedule. Jim O’Neil has prepared us well. Also, the hospitality counter has been erected! Hopefully the Constable will have time to make and bring soup tomorrow. Maybe then he’ll have the popularity that Chava enjoys. Cross your fingers, gentle readers. Talk to you tomorrow. Hope that this shpilkes has passed.

Chava and the Constable

March 13th, 2009 | 1:44 P.M.

Friday. A day of creepiness.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre. We only have a four hour rehearsal today. Just as well. We’re all apprehensive about the “10 out of 12”s (for you non-theatre folk, it’s the two days towards the end of the rehearsal process where you work for 10 hours out of 12 hours and add the technical elements – sound, lights, costumes, makeup, fake beards, fake mustaches, sideburns, hair extensions, wigs, hats, prayer shawls, head scarfs [babushka sp?], smirks, raised eyebrows, and looks of astonishment). Most worry about their fake hair parts. It’s hard to act with them. Sometimes they become loose and your fellow actors are staring at your lip and then you can’t keep a straight face. But we digress.

It is Friday the 13th. So far, so good. Everyone was fitted for their microphones. The Constable doesn’t get one, which is another source of pain and frustration. Chava, however, does get a microphone, and the black dot on her forehead…today seems oddly creepy. In fact, there are black dots on everyone’s foreheads. But it means everyone’s going to sound good. There is a master technician who will “blend” the sound. Blending with the band and blending with the other voices. The Constable doesn’t need to blend, evidently.

There are cream cheese packets with the bagels on our hospitality table. They don’t require refrigeration, apparently. But it is Friday the 13th. So, we’ll see.

Talk to you soon,

Chava and the Constable

March 12th, 2009 | 6:45 P.M.

Anatevka, Chava’s house. Rehearsal started at noon today, which gave all of us a good chance to rest. Everyone works hard here in Anatevka! It’s not easy putting together such a large-scale show…I see lots of coffee in our future. It’s worth it, though…the show is going to be wonderful! By the time Act Two is over, there won’t be a dry eye in the house. Bring your tissues (but please unwrap them before the show begins, so as not to disturb the patrons)!

Part of our rehearsal process for now is fitting in our new Bielkes (Olivia Fleming and Sophia Montano). Bielke is the youngest of the five daughters, and we didn’t have anyone cast for the first two weeks of rehearsal. We had begun to think that our Shprintze (Heidi Bjorndahl) would be taking on two roles. And believe me, she could do it. But it doesn’t seem like Fiddler without five daughters, right? Of course right. We are so happy to have our Bielkes, and they are jumping right in. They make our job easy!

Someone added lemon chocolate mini scones to the hospitality table…they’re addicting! Chava has a sweet tooth…Starburst is her favorite. Just thought you might be interested. Everyone is looking forward to the next time Golde (Eileen Barnett) will bake for us. Mama knows how to cook! I may end up bringing a few yummy treats myself…

Most of us were released early again today, but I stayed later so I could watch the dancers rehearse the wedding bottle dance. Wait until you see what these guys can do while balancing champagne bottles on their heads! We aren’t using tape, glue, or anything other kinds of stagecraft-y tricks. This is the real thing! Our choreographer Lee Martino and her assistant, JJ Todd, have done an awesome job recreating Jerome Robbins’ original choreography. And our dancers aren’t half bad either!

Talk to you soon,


March 11th, 2009 | 7:40 P.M.

Anatevka, Constable's House. Was released early today. Chava stayed on--there's talk of a scandal....We had some visitors to the process of getting familiar with the set. Barbara Meister, Sandra Laby, Lois Fishman and Jenny Sullivan (patrons and Sponsors and Fiddler lovers all!) dropped by to love the villagers and hate the Constable. The 'Milkman' (as Tevye refers to himself) seems oddly beloved. A nice guy--sure--but smells of curd much of the time....anywhey...on it goes.

Yesterday we mentioned the tight quarters backstage---the lack of room for a proper snackfest table. WELL blog readers the kind konstable suggested a table/shelf be constructed by the water cooler-Stage Management and the Rubicon Tsar approved so soon.....THE BUFFET WILL BE OPEN!!

I make gruel (soup!) faithful readers. Nourishing and no charge. Golde (Eileen Barnett) has been known to bake. Actors (Jews and Russians alike) work up an appetite dancin' and ...pogromin'. My hope is that my gruel will win over the hearts of those that see the constable as...the establishment.

A special note of thanks to our designers. WOW. Wait'll you see. And the crew and EVERYONE at the Rubicon--so far so great. Jim O'Neil rocks. He has guided us towards what smells and feels like a potential hit (no jinx!) Fingers crossed. Blessings on all-- Chava joins in bidding you all joy.

'Till next time.

March 10th, 2009 | 8:18 P.M.

Anatevka, Rubicon Theatre.

Chava and the Constable (Lauren Patten and Joseph Fuqua) sit in Dressing Room #2 and commence the Fiddler “blog”. Our first day on stage! We are spacing the show (for you non-theatre folk, it means putting the show on stage as opposed to a rehearsal hall). We had a meet and greet at 5 P.M. (it was optional, but we all came because there was free food). We met the staff at Rubicon and heard Karyl Lynn Burns (the producing artistic director) describe the difficult process of attaining the rights to produce Fiddler. This was difficult because there is a national tour featuring Topol already traveling the country. We got the rights, and we are the only regional professional theatre allowed to produce Fiddler on the Roof through 2011! This is solely due to the community’s dedication and passion for this project. It’s been a long time in the making.

Everyone’s excited (free food!) Tight quarters – this is the biggest show the Rubicon has ever done, with 27 people in the cast and three times the usual budget. Wait until you see the set! Tom Giamario completely reconfigured the space to have the village of Anatevka surround you, the audience. Chagal paintings cover all four walls of the theatre, and the Rubicon has its first thrust – a Greek stage right in the middle of the audience. The audience will certainly be hit by sweat and spit (we’ll try and be good). A big musical in an intimate setting.

The one drawback to the tight quarters is that there isn’t enough room for a “hospitality” table where the company can enjoy snacks ‘n’ such. On a personal note, Chava enjoys great popularity, and the Constable, not so much. You’ll see why.

Close blog.

Talk to you soon, Chava and the Constable

Click here for Fiddler on the Roof show information


Honorary Chair
Harris Measures Management Consultants, Former Deputy Mayor, City of San Buenaventura

President of the Board of Directors
Ventura County Obstetric & Gynecologic Medical Group
Medical Director, Community Memorial Hospital Centers for Family Health

Partner Emeritus, Tolman & Wiker Insurance

Physician, Ventura, Thousand Oaks Secretary, Saticoy Country Club Board of Directors

Director, Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, California State University, Channel Islands

CEO, Via Alegre Educational & Counseling Services, Owner/Operator, Starbuck’s Ojai Valley Ranch

Founder & CEO, Fashion Forms

Community Volunteer


President, Ojai Film Society

Chair of English, Performing Arts and Communication
California State University, Channel Island

Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones
& Schneider, LL

President. Angel Heart Foundation

Immediate Past President

Managing Director

President, Grandes Dames

Legal Advisor

 April 2009


We cannot stress this enough. With the economy as it is, the individuals and companies who have supported us through large monetary gifts over the years have taken a serious financial hit and are presently unable to support us at the level they have given in the past.

Our ticket prices cover less than half of what our shows actually cost us to produce. If we charged full price, our $49 tickets would rise to cost over $100 each.

As in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, it is going to take our village of Ventura to solve this problem.

We know you have been hit too; we all have. That’s why we have launched a campaign to raise $1 million through a gift we all can afford:  $365. For just $1 a day, you can ensure that Rubicon Theatre Company will continue to produce the wonderful shows that you have enjoyed for the past eleven years.  

We need 2,400 gifts to achieve our goal, and we need them now. We can do this…together.

However, without your support, we will not be able to continue.

Please give today, and please ask your fellow villagers to join you in giving.

To make a contribution:
Please contact Patrick O’Hara at 805.667.2912 ext.237 (preferred)
Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 E. Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001

1006 E Main Street Ventura CA United States, 93001

March 27, 2009

Dear Friend,

We hope you enjoyed last week’s performance of Fiddler on the Roof!
Fiddler launches IT TAKES A VILLAGE, Rubicon Theatre Company’s pledge campaign for 2009.

In Fiddler on the Roof, the village of Anatevka is the tightly knit community that comprises the world of milkman Tevye and his family. All members of this community have a vested interest in seeing to it that every person is well cared for, well educated, and well raised.

Similarly, it takes a village to support non-profit, professional theatre in Ventura County.  If we were to charge the full cost of producing Fiddler on the Roof, a $49 ticket would be priced at $490. Surprising, isn’t it? Hopefully, we’d all agree that the Fiddler experience and memories we share as a community – from the eldest person to the very youngest child – make Fiddler a worthy project. (Whose heart doesn’t melt upon hearing “Sunrise/Sunset”?!)

We’re asking you today to pledge $1 a day over the course of 1 year - $365 - to support professional theatre in Ventura County.

Our goal is to have 1,000 compassionate and committed people give $365* each for a total of $365,000.

Please. You may not realize it, but we can’t do this without you.


Kenneth A. Wesler
Managing Director

* Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

1006 E Main Street Ventura CA United States, 93001