I attended a crowded, sold-out show. Find out what happened.

By Andrew Andrews

Jackie Hoffman stars as Ariana Russo, who isn't exactly the star of Fiddler on the Roof portraying Fruma-Sarah. Original photos by Hunter Canning.

Ariana Russo sits backstage for the Roselle Park Theatrical Society’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, tethered to the fly system as she impatiently awaits her appearance as Fruma-Sarah, a ghost who will fly eight feet above the stage in the second half of the show.

Swigging bourbon from a flask that she fails to conceal from substitute volunteer fly-rail operator Margo Peterson, the aging Ariana complains about everyone from star performer Annie O’Brien, to her ex-husband Steven and his young gay lover Mateo.

Kicking off with hilarious quips that elicit laughter from everyone in the audience, Ariana’s diatribe turns increasingly saturnine as the effects of the alcohol take hold on this lonely “single woman of a certain age.”

Starring Emmy nominee Jackie Hoffman with Kelly Kinsella in the supporting role, Fruma-Sarah brings backstage drama front-and-center for a few dozen fully-vaccinated audience members at The Cell.

Kelly Kinsella supports Hoffman as her character Margo Peterson literally and figuratively supports Russo.

Place any script this highly-polished in the hands of such talented actors, and you’re bound to end up with a performance as thoroughly enjoyable as Fruma-Sarah.

The backstage setting could have easily been approximated with a few available props on-hand, but the attention to detail that went into the set design is immediately apparent as you wait for the show to begin.

Throw in expert direction, costuming, makeup and tech, and what you end up with is a production worthy of Perry Awards from the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters for everyone involved.

Although there were a few split-second pauses as the actors recalled their lines, this was a five-star performance from the get-go.

With prices starting at $35, it would be no wonder that remaining tickets are quickly selling out, even if there were more alternatives vying for access to theatre-going purses.


Andrew Andrews attended Fruma-Sarah at The Cell Theatre in Manhattan on Saturday, July 3, 2021 @ 8:00pm to write this review.