Nebraska actress finds community in Fiddler production
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - When the national tour of the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof takes the stage at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater Tuesday, there will be a local contingent of fans to cheer on one actor in particular.
The Meirhenry family and other friends from Lancaster County have likely snatched as many tickets as possible to see Randa perform.
The stage is Randa Meierhenry’s community, her place to belong, from Norris High School in Firth, Neb., to Indianola, Iowa, and Simpson College, where she learned that performing is just one aspect of being a theatre professional.
“The more that you know about the art, the more you can kind of let go of the technique,” Meierhenry said via Zoom while on tour with the production in El Paso, Texas. “You don’t have to think about it when you’re doing it, you can just live in the world of the play and experience each moment, and ultimately give the best performance you can possibly give.”
Now 27, Randa is in her home state in the cast of Fiddler, a production she originally joined after auditions in 2019 and remains a part of after the tour resumed following a COVID shutdown. The iconic musical explores the way people struggle with change, and features classic numbers such as “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Tradition.”
“You see this community struggling with change, which is constant,” she said of the storyline in Fiddler. “We are always changing, the world, and I think there are certain people who are like, all right, let’s go with the flow and change. And there are other people who are stuck in their traditions and their ways.”
Randa is in the ensemble and plays the role of Rivka, once played by a young Bette Midler on Broadway. She’s also an understudy for three larger roles in a revival that she sees as relevant today.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of, not just ‘a show’, but this show because the idea and sense of community is a major theme throughout the plot of Fiddler,” she said. “And I think finding a community to lean on and connect to is really important in a time where we just spent a year and a half in a kind of isolation, or through a computer screen was the only way we really connected to people.”
Randa said her grandmother, Pat Meierhenry, is a vocal inspiration, adding that she once played Hodel in a production of Fiddler on the Roof as a young woman.
The Omaha Performing Arts production runs from Tuesday through Sunday, Feb. 13 at Orpheum Theater. More information can be found at o-pa.org.
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