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Amy Earls Acts in Fiddler on the Roof
Posted on March 6th, 2015

Amy Earls Adds to 'Fiddler on the Roof' Community
 
Photo by Pam Johnson/The Courier

Most folks see Amy Earls at her day job as vice president of Operations at Page Hardware & Appliance, but from March 20 to 22, they can see her in the role of Tzeitel, together with many members of her community, church, and even her own family in Fiddler on the Roof at First Congregational Church.
She may be a local business executive by day, but between March 20 and 22, Amy Earls joins an inter-generational cast bringing Fiddler on the Roof to musical and dancing life at First Congregational Church.
A Guilford native and vice president of Operations at Page Hardware & Appliance Co., Amy says the show's well-known theme of tradition runs deep in the First Church production, in a way only community theater can produce. Amy plays Tzeitel, the first daughter to marry-and question tradition-in the family of ever-musing village dairyman, Tevye.
"When I was in 5th grade, Nutmeg Players put on Fiddler and I got wind of auditions and got a part," says Amy. "They needed more men, and I said, 'Hey dad, you sing.' So he and I did the show together."
In another connective wrinkle, Amy points out that present-day Fiddler cast member John Anderson grew up in the house once belonging to Stephen Page's parents. Amy's connection with Page's Hardware & Appliance Co. began when she was still in high school, working then as a cashier.
"I've been here 19 years," says Amy of her career at Guilford's iconic hardware and appliance store on Boston Street.
After she finished college, Amy came back seeking full-time work and was hired by Andrew Page to assist the company. She's now been Page's vice president of Operations for some 15 years.
"My official title is VP of Operations-that means I have to do whatever needs to be done to help out Andrew, the owner," she says, smiling.
While she was a student at Guilford High School (Class of '97), Amy got involved in the school's theater arts program.
"I tried out for the play freshman year and didn't get a part, but I ended up doing props for a non-musical and a musical with [Director] Pat Souney," says Amy, who also went on to act in four more productions with Nutmeg Players.
This time around, Amy and the cast of Fiddler are being directed by Guilford's own Liza Ukena Catino, with choreography by Victoria Font Newman.
The church first sought the area rights to put on Fiddler in 2014, but Goodspeed Opera House got there first, so First Church was instead scheduled for a 2015 production. In the meantime, Guilford High School (GHS) Theatre Arts mounted a school-licensed production of Fiddler as its 2015 spring musical. That show wrapped just a few weeks back.
"One unique thing about Fiddler is the show has the choreography along with it. Jerome Robbins was very specific," says Amy.
The production remains true in many other ways, as well.
"So if people saw the high school production, they'll see many similarities," says Amy. "But I would say each interpretation is different."
In a recent church bulletin, Director Catino describes Fiddler and its connection with First Church by writing, "in the boisterous opening number, 'Tradition,' Tevye explains to the audience what life is like in Anatevka: 'We have traditions for everything...and because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.' Throughout the course of the musical, these traditions evolve, change, and some even disappear. How appropriate for First Church as our congregation is currently involved in its own transition of finding new ways to be a faith community in the 21st century."
"I'm not sure if people realize what a great place we have to put on these shows, even if they've been to something like the a high school concert here after the tree lighting," says Amy of the church building on Broad Street, across from the Town Green. "We push the pulpit back, we put up a proscenium; we build a stage with a ramp. It's not just something that's on the floor."
Beyond the church's physical transformation for the show is the church's philosophical support for the theater program as an important component of the church community.
"The reason that the church started doing these shows is they wanted to have multi-generational time for fellowship, and I think there's something special about having a group that does commune on a regular basis," says Amy, noting many involved in the production are also members of First Church, including one-third of the cast coming from the church's choirs.
"We know each other, so it's easier to fall into that chemistry, and that makes the show really special."
Amy says she and her husband, Matt, are not only happy to be among the cast of Fiddler, but hopefully starting a tradition for their kids, too. The couple's family includes twins Scarlet and Zachary, 7, and little Cordelia, 2 ½.
"This show is all about tradition," says Amy. "It's a tradition, certainly, in my family and our extended family;,and we're passing it along-our youngest is already singing 'Matchmaker'. So in another 25 years, they can do it again!"
First Congregational Church presents Fiddler on the Roof on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 21 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 122 Broad Street, Guilford. Tickets, $10, are available at Page Hardware & Appliance, Boston Street, and Sachem Card & Party, Boston Post Road, or by calling 203-458-9701. For more information, visit www.firstchurchguilford.org.



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