March 12, 2024 at 6:52pm

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


Last year, 10-year-old Jayna Miehl really wanted to try out theater, but was apprehensive about doing it on her own.

Her father gave her a boost by joining her in auditioning for “A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play!” by Northbrook Community Theatre. Both father and daughter were cast in the December production, and their experience was phenomenal, Alexander Miehl said.

“It was such a special thing to do together,” he said. “And after two or three weeks, she already wanted to do more!”

Northbrook Community Theatre is an initiative of the Northbrook Park District, which is committed to creating a joyful and inclusive performance space for individuals of all skill levels and backgrounds, Northbrook Park District Performing Arts Manager Drew Kambach said.

“It’s a place for people to explore their creativity, build friendships and experience the thrill of performing,” he said.

The Miehls’ experience is typical of families who join community theater programs, whether they’ve performed on stage before or not, Kambach said. “It’s a wonderful way to try your hand at acting, singing and dancing, all while making new friends and sharing a unique experience,” he said.

Performances take place at the 268-seat theatre located inside the Northbrook Park District’s Leisure Center building. The theater recently got a technical boost with improved lighting, upgraded soundboard and additional microphones.

Northbrook Community Theatre’s next production will be the beloved classic “Fiddler on the Roof,” and community members ages 9 through adults are encouraged to audition March 20 for a variety of roles in the large cast.

The story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and the five daughters he tries to protect in the face of changing customs and growing anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia. The play has universal themes and is sure to have a poignant effect on all audiences.

The last time the Northbrook Community Theatre staged a production of this scale was “Newsies” in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Productions typically attract a lot of interest for children, so adults are especially encouraged to participate, Performing Arts Coordinator David Zizic said.

“It’s really great for a parent to be in the show with their child, especially for something so well-known as ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” Zizic said. “All roles are open, including the leads. It’s a particularly large cast, so it works really well to have a variety of ages and different types of people.”

Staff members love working with actors of all skill levels, and take individual experience and preferences into consideration when casting, he said. Community theater also is a great way to meet new people, Zizic said. “One of the reasons to do it is as a social outlet, as well as a performing opportunity.”

As for the Miehls, well, they’ve been bitten by the theater bug.

Jayna will be part of the cast of “Finding Nemo,” next month’s production by Northbrook Theatre Youth Company, and will have a lead role in her school’s musical. Her father looks forward to repeating the experience. “As long as Jayna wants me in the next community theater production, we’re going to do it again,” Alexander Miehl said.

Auditions for “Fiddler on the Roof” take place 5 to 8 p.m. March 20 at the Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Ave. in Northbrook. Pre-registration is required.

The cost of the program is $125 for residents and $159 for nonresidents. The goal is to cast everyone who auditions, but if the turnout surpasses the available roles, the cost of the program will be refunded to those who are not cast.

Rehearsals will take place 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, April 3 through May 16. Performances will take place May 17, 18 and 19. Tickets will be available for purchase April 2. For information, visit or call (847) 291-2995.