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Locals get chance to be rich men, and women, with 'Fiddler'

ATLANTA -- The Tony Award-winning musical "Fiddler on the Roof" is coming to the Fox Theatre for eight performances starting Tuesday and will feature performances from Atlanta's local youth.

The play, which will also star Broadway's Tom Alan Robbins and Susan Cella in Atlanta's stage performance, has received critical acclaim for bringing to the stage a poignant story about the enduring bonds of family. It has been a hit since it opened in 1964.

"Fiddler on the Roof" is casting 16 members of the local youth to partake in the musical production, which includes acting and extensive choreography.

Robbins and Cella both agree that working with metro Atlanta youth is going to be challenging, but fun too. It is one of the larger groups they have been able to work with.

"Let me just say, challenge is an understatement," said Cella, who will play the character of Golde. "We are going to have a good time, and it's going to be fun. We have become a family in this short period of time, just in the rehearsal process, so we'll get along and we'll figure it out together."

Robbins, who will play the character of Tevye, said the youth will be working with theatrical coaches, Robbins and Cella for assistance. They won't be carelessly thrown on stage without guidance.

"I'm sure they're looking forward to it, and that's part of the fun for us, is to see young people that really love the theater and are full of energy and having fun," Robbins said. "That helps to give us energy too."

Following plenty of hard work and concentration, Robbins and Cella both believe the youth and "Fiddler on the Roof" will be prepared for the stage, despite short rehearsals.

"At its most basic level, ("Fiddler on the Roof" is) about family, and about a family that belongs to a very strong culture, and how the passing of time and changing of traditions affects that family," Robbins said. "It's also a very interesting story about a way of life that is now gone."

Cella said the score is also beautiful and engaging. The audience will be able to sing along to pieces like "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Tradition."

"You see the kids grow up, and you see them leave home and in some cases travel far away," Cella said. "You see the sadness that all the families feel about seeing their kids go away, but also the love and the pride they have in their kids. It's very identifiable. I mean, almost everybody is in tears in many parts because most people have been parents and gone through their own stuff with their own kid. It's very identifiable and very human, and I think that that's what keeps people coming back and back and back."