Virginia native comes home to Capital One Hall in Tysons for ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Fiddler on the Roof' at Capital One Hall (Part 1)

A graduate of McLean High School is coming home to Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia.

Alex Stone stars in the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof” Friday through Sunday.

“This is my first very large, high-caliber, big-boy project,” Stone told WTOP. “This is nice not only for my resume, my career and my artistic side being fulfilled, but also my parents, who supported me in my journey along the way, getting the seal of approval. … It’s nice that this is going to my hometown. I feel so, so blessed and honored to be able to do this.”

He once performed “Fiddler on the Roof” at Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church.

“I played a very, very solid Tevye in eighth grade,” Stone said. “I told my folks that we were doing ‘Fiddler’ and I had never heard of it. They were like: ‘OK, stop! We’re watching the movie!’ So they showed me the classic film. … I was not only enthralled but very amped to do it and surprised that our teacher trusted middle schoolers to do it, but it wasn’t bad!”

Adapted by Joseph Stein from Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye and his Daughters,” the story follows Jewish milkman Tevye raising five daughters in the Russian shtetl of Anatevka during the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. He tries to uphold his religious traditions in a changing world as his daughters choose husbands against Jewish heritage.

“He’s dealing with his first daughter going off with someone who makes no money,” Stone said. “His second daughter goes off with someone who has no money, has no job and he’s a [political] radical. … His third daughter wants to get married to Fyedka, who is a perfect choice … has lots of money. He’s well-educated, he’s smart … however, he is not Jewish.”

The show feels even more timely after Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s quite bizarre how suddenly it’s become a very relevant topic,” Stone said. “Anatevka is in fact set in Ukraine. We mention many places like Kyiv and Odesa. It’s also quite jarring for my character … who is in fact a Russian coming into this village and claiming a territory that is not his. … It’s opened my eyes to the atrocities that are going on nowadays.”

In 1964, the original Broadway production won nine Tonys, including Best Musical, en route to an honorary 10th Tony as the longest-running musical in Broadway history. In 1971, the film version starring Topol earned eight Oscar nominations, winning three.

The songbook by Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) is equally timeless, including “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life.”

“There’s many different numbers that are timeless,” Stone said. “People who don’t even know musical theater, when we’re on the road and I mention to them that I’m in the touring production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ they’re like: ‘Oh, of course! ‘Matchmaker!’ … It’s very fun to be doing all of these classic songs in the new direction of [director] Bartlett Sher.”

Sher’s period visuals transport us to turn-of-the-century Russia.

“I thoroughly enjoy the entire design of this production,” Stone said. “We have different [back]drops for when it’s nighttime or sunset for the wedding number. We have this entire village [back]drop that comes in, so it looks like you see different houses designed after famous paintings from back in the day. … You just get absorbed into the world.”

Dancing across these visual spaces is authentic choreography.

“One of my favorite parts of this production is how gorgeous the choreography is,” Stone said. “It is all grounded, it is very real. They’re either dancing because they’re celebrating their legacy and traditions from a very structured, rigid place … or they’re having a grand old time, celebrating at a bar or wedding, showing off to their friends.”

Now, Stone gets to show off to his friends in his hometown in Virginia.

“I’m excited to see so many of my friends, colleagues and people I’ve worked with over the years,” Stone said. “It just feels so gratifying to come back to the place that gave me a bit of a reason and a bit of an inspiration to do all this. I did shows at not just the high school but at McLean Community Center! It’s truly, truly the stomping grounds.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Fiddler on the Roof' at Capital One Hall (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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