KING David School student Sara Reed has joined the cast of Fiddler on the Roof to play the role of Bielke, the youngest of Tevye the milkman’s five daughters.
Reed, 18, of Elsternwick, auditioned for the role in October, while studying for her VCE exams.
“I didn’t hear anything for a week or two and then I got the call with the offer of the role,” she told The AJN.
“It was a quick process, but I had to keep it a secret until the contracts were signed and the cast was announced.”
Reed has started rehearsals alongside Anthony Warlow, Lior, Sigrid Thornton, Nikki Wendt, Mark Mitchell and the rest of the cast for the much-loved musical, which premieres at the Princess Theatre on December 29 for a six-week season.
Fiddler on the Roof is set in a shtetl in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and is set around Tevye and his attempts to preserve his family’s traditions in a changing world.
Written by Joseph Stein and based on a story by Sholem Aleichem, the musical features many hit songs including Tradition, Sunrise, Sunset, Matchmaker, To Life, Matchmaker and the audience favourite, If I Were A Rich Man.
Reed has a wealth of stage experience including roles in the big-budget professional musicals Mary Poppins (2011) and Billy Elliot (2008-09), as well as appearing in the TV series Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? and with Nicolas Cage in the movie Knowing. She has also taken part in many school productions at The King David School, including The Threepenny Opera earlier this year.
“For Mary Poppins it was an open audition with almost 1000 girls spread over a week. With so many kids there were so many rounds covering different skills,” she recalls.
Reed was selected to play the role of Jane Banks with four other girls.
“For Fiddler it was an exclusive audition process and I was lucky that I looked very young, which was perfect for Bielke,” she says.
“Of course, I would have been happy with any of the roles – I’m just ecstatic to be in the show.”
Reed has been a fan of Fiddler on the Roof since she saw the movie and heard the music as a little girl, and was thrilled to see Topol perform on stage in Melbourne when the Israeli star, who has played the role more than 2500 times around the world, was in Australia.
She also has a family connection to the musical’s story, as her great-grandparents left Russia around the time that the show is set.
While scoring the role in Fiddler on the Roof is a dream come true, it has also meant a change of plans for Reed, as she will also perform in the musical in the Sydney season, which starts on March 24 at the Capitol Theatre.
Originally she was planning to join Netzer’s shnat program next year – a 10-month leadership training course for those who have completed high school but not yet started university. Participants travel extensively throughout Israel, live on a kibbutz and volunteer on community projects.
Instead Reed will take a gap year and hopes to travel to Israel in the middle of the year to meet up with her friends.
Then she plans to audition for tertiary fine arts courses for 2017.
“My goal is to be a performer once I have completed a tertiary course,” she says. “Performing is what I have always wanted to do ever since I was very young – it has always been my number-one ambition.”
Fiddler on the Roof is at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne from December 29. Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au.
REPORT by Danny Gocs