Leading Man: Robert Summers
Robert Summers recently joined me to discuss his upcoming portrayal of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
ME: Can you share your background with us and tell us what it feels like to come back to Fiddler on the Roof in Artistree Theatre Company’s inaugural show.
December 29, 2014
ME: What's your relationship with Fiddler on the Roof like? How do you feel about the show?
ME: What attracts you to this play—other than the opportunity to play one of the most iconic roles in the American musical theatre?
ME: Do you identify with Tevye? Is there anything different you want to bring to the role this time around?
ME: What role are you longing to play and why?
Rob has appeared as Tevye over 200 times, including the 2013 National Tour. Some of his favorite roles include Mayor Shinn (The Music Man), Scrooge (A Christmas Carol), Lawrence (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Man #3 (Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical), Oscar (The Odd Couple), Leonard (Seminar). He has a BA in Theatre from UNC-Pembroke. As a veteran, he'd like to thank those who have or are still serving their country and thank you for supporting live theatre
RS: I started acting professionally in the early 1980s at the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre in Wichita, KS. I took a hiatus from acting while I served over 12 years in the US Army. I went back to college and received my BA in Theatre. I moved back home to Wichita and went back to work at the Crown. During the next 4 years, I played many roles and that included Tevye in 2008. In 2012, I started working with Prather Entertainment at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. I was Tevye in the 2013 National Tour and again in 2014. Coming back to this role and doing it in the inaugural production of this company is an honor and will make it even more special.
RS: Fiddler is a show I have wanted to do since I saw the movie in 1972. It has always struck a chord with me, especially since I love history. Learning of the time and traditions was and still is very special to me. I feel that this show is as relevant now as it was 50 years ago when it premiered Broadway. It's a show that transends generations and speaks to everybody through its music and story.
RS: The story and the time in history draw me to Fiddler. Through all the research I've done and the hardships and horrors they, the Jews, have faced throughout history, it's the sense of joy, community and family that makes me just stand in awe of their tenacity, love and faith.
RS: I absolutely identify with Tevye! I am a father and, as such, you have thoughts about what your children should do, but when they show you they have minds of their own, you give them wings to let them fly and love them even more. Every time I do this role, something new always shows itself. I want to see where this telling of the story will go and that makes it a beautiful adventure.
RS: I have a few roles I'd love to do. Henry - The Lion in Winter, Higgins - My Fair Lady, Norman - On Golden Pond. However, to me, every role is special and that's what makes this job a wonderful adventure!