Veteran actor Frank Calamaro is no stranger to the little village of Anatevka. It’s the setting of Bock, Harnick and Stein’s Fiddler on the Roof. “I played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, when I was just eighteen,” Calamaro says. Since that production in 1972, he has been in twelve productions. “I have played a couple of the younger guys, but mainly it’s been either Lazar Wolf or Tevye the milkman. Actually, the boots I wore in high school still fit! I’m wearing them on the current tour.”
A Matter Of Respect
Sometimes Lazar Wolf is not treated with quite the respect that Calamaro thinks he deserves. “Lazar Wolf is the richest person in the village, but he’s also more than that. Being a butcher in this culture was a very important role with special knowledge and skills—It wasn’t just about being handy with a cleaver. I play Lazar Wolf as a dignified person who’s aware of his position.”
Even though Fiddler is nearly sixty years old and Calamaro’s been at it for nearly forty, he’s still willing to come to the show with a fresh approach. “The director for this tour wanted to really emphasize the village quality. He asked each of us to write a biography of our character and his or her relation to everyone in Anatevka. It was a good exercise. I appreciated it.”
With his Italian background, Calamaro is no stranger to a variety of relations. “If you look deeply enough,” he says, “every family has a Tevye, and even a Lazar Wolf.”
Fiddler on the Roof
Music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Based on the book by Joseph Stein.
February 8 and 9, 2011 at 8 pm