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2011 HOLIDAY GUIDE FOUR: Celebrate in song

"Fiddler on the Roof" part of an Olympia tradition

Some of the themes of Fiddler on the Roof remain topical today ... like hugging. Photo credit: MGM

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Fiddler on the Roof - back again this year at the annual Dec. 25 sing-along at the Capitol Theater - was released in 1971 and is set in 1905, but some of its themes have never felt more topical.

In one scene, Perchik, the student revolutionary (played by the late Bert Convy, probably best-known as a staple on TV game shows), says to Tevye: "In this world, it is the rich who are the criminals. Someday, their wealth will be ours."

"That would be nice," replies Tevye, the film's central character, a milkman raising five daughters in Tsarist Russia. "If they would agree, I would agree."

The sing-along, a project of the Olympia Film Society and Temple Beth Hatfiloh, is in its eighth year, and Fiddler has been the film of choice for six of those years.

"Some people love Fiddler, and they'll see it every year," said Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Temple Beth Hatfiloh. "Other people want to see something different."

"It's a great movie," he says. "I never tire of it." But he likes variety too and says next December he and Olympia Film Society programmer Helen Thornton will probably choose another film.

The temple has traditionally shown films on Dec. 25 to give those not celebrating Christmas a way to have fun in community, and Goldstein suggested the sing-along as an expansion of that.

At the event, volunteers collect blankets, coats and other warm clothing to be given to homeless people, and a costume contest is also part of the fun.

Of those who dress for the occasion, most - Goldstein included - simply wear period-appropriate clothing. "I have a hat that fits in, he says, "and I have a vest and a shirt and pants. I haven't varied my costume from year to year, but I will put on something that would allow me to fit into the film should I have been cast as an extra."

There have been a few more elaborate costumes, though.

"We've had people dress up like Fruma-Sarah and some of the zombies from the dream sequence," Goldstein says. (Fruma-Sarah, for those who haven't seen the film as regularly as the rabbi has, is the late wife of the butcher Lazar Wolf, who wants to marry one of Tevye's daughters.)

Sing-Along Fiddler on the Roof

Sunday, Dec. 25, at 6:30 p.m.
$7 for Olympia Film Society members, $4 for children younger than 13
Also at the event: Temple Beth Hatfiloh will collect winter clothing and blankets drive for the homeless.
Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia
360.754.6670 or

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