Fiddler on the Roof is a classic musical telling a story of persecution, family, culture and religion, and Fine Linen Theatre is holding auditions to bring the show to life. Kim Nisbett, director of Fiddler on the Roof and vice president of Fine Line Theatre, said the organization has always welcomed everyone to audition for their shows, but wants to use Fiddler to actively encourage an ethnically diverse cast to get involved.

Fiddler on the Roof is a classic musical telling a story of persecution, family, culture and religion, and Fine Linen Theatre is holding auditions to bring the show to life. Kim Nisbett, director of Fiddler on the Roof and vice president of Fine Line Theatre, said the organization has always welcomed everyone to audition for their shows, but wants to use Fiddler to actively encourage an ethnically diverse cast to get involved.

“Fiddler is known primarily as a Jewish story, and it is,” Nisbert said. “It’s very much the Jewish experience of being wanderers and being rejected and thrown out of so many places. There’s also the…story of their traditions…and their father trying to decide what’s important to maintain. But all of these are such universal stories, they’re not just Jewish stories. Every group of people experiences some sort of not belonging or not fitting in. I think it becomes a universal story, and I want the diverts of the cast to help the audience to connect with that.”

Nisbert said Fine Linen has always employed what she described as “color-blind” casting, but wants to use Fiddler on the Roof to make that effort more apparent. According to her, Fiddler as a “universal study of struggling to fit in with the culture around you,” is a perfect opportunity to make everyone feel welcome.

“I don’t want any child to come and think, ‘there’s not a place for me,’” said Nisbert. “I want everyone to feel vested and comfortable, and like they belong in every production we do.”

Fiddler on the Roof is set in what’s known as the Pale of Settlement, a western region of Imperial Russia, in 1905. The story primarily revolves around a single family, a man named Tevye and his daughters. The central theme of the show, as Nisbert described, is his struggle to maintain his religious and cultural traditions as his world continues to change around him.

“I think Fiddler is very culturally relevant now, I think it was when it was written. I think it always will be,” Nisbert aid.
She sees the story speaking to those universal struggles, even on the individual level.

Because the story is so universal, she said it’s important to Fine Linen to have as diverse a cast as possible.

“I don’t want anyone to think ‘I can’t audition for that because I don’t look like a Russian Jew,’” Nisbert said. “That’s one of our big messages. Theatre is about becoming someone you aren’t and that broadens your own personal experiences and the audience’s personal experience.”

She stressed no one should feel they have to look a certain way to audition for any show, and a strong, diverse cast will help bring out the story of Fiddler on the Roof, and help everyone connect to it on a deeper, more personal level. The goal is for any audience member to be able to find someone onstage with which they can identify, and learn from the show’s story.

“We want the story to be the star,” explained Nisbert. “The set will not be super flashy, it will be more subdued because it is about the community, it’s about the people.”

Auditions for Fine Linen Theatre’s production of Fiddler on the Roof will be this weekend, Friday Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28. The auditions are open to anyone age 10 and above. Guidelines for auditions can be found on their website, finelinentheatre.com, as well as script excerpts and descriptions of the show’s various characters. The show will be performed in April.