May 9, 2024 at 9:33am

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


The Northbrook Park District is excited to invite the community to enjoy theater performances of the beloved classic musical “Fiddler on the Roof” next week.

The production by Northbrook Community Theatre features a cast of more than 30 actors, ranging from children to older adults. The last time the theater staged a production of this scale was in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is a beautiful, timely show with a rich history, and we cannot wait to share this story with the Northbrook community,” said Melody DeRogatis, performing arts supervisor for the Northbrook Park District.

The plot 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 story has a great deal of personal significance for Michael Pekay, who plays the Rabbi. His grandparents were born and raised in current-day Lithuania and were in an arranged marriage, just like the couple in the play, he said.

“It means a lot because we are Jewish, and everything about the play deals with some of our heritage,” Pekay said of “Fiddler on the Roof.” “It’s a way for my granddaughter to see a little bit of the history of her family.”

His granddaughter is 10-year-old Brielle, who plays Shprintze, one of the milkman’s daughters. It was Brielle who persuaded her grandfather to take on a role in the play alongside her, just like her older sister did 10 years ago, when Pekay performed in his first play with Northbrook Community Theatre.

Brielle has been acting since age 5 through the park district and has been cast in professional plays across the suburbs. ““I am really excited because we (my grandpa and I) are going to get to perform together,” she said. “We always practice together, usually in the living room. And we talk about it a lot.”

Even though the play centers around the experience of a Jewish family, it tackles universal themes, Pekay said.

“There is so much value in watching the play, because you see the progression that there is in any religion of becoming modern and getting into the flow of history. I don’t care what your religion is… there is so much that we as human beings, and as Americans, can identify with,” he said. “And you also have (the theme of) immigrants, people who are leaving their home to come to America, and the trauma of that — which is definitely applicable in today’s society.”

Performances of “Fiddler on the Roof” will take place at 7 p.m. May 17, 7 p.m. May 18 and 2 p.m. May 19 at Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Ave. in Northbrook. Tickets are $25 each. For tickets and more information, visit or call (847) 291-2993.