Fiddler on the Roof

by don westwood
Jacksonville’s new national touring theatrical production company, AIM launches with Fiddler on the ROof
The new production of Fiddler On The Roof, produced by American International Music Management, opens on December 3 at the Times-Union Center for the Arts. Fiddler stars Bruce Goldman as Tevye, leading a company of forty performers and musicians. After completing a run of twelve performances in the T-U Center’s Terry Theatre on December 13, Fiddler moves to the Lucas Theatre in Savannah and then on to central and south Florida.
Fiddler On The Roof is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is the story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters. Each one’s choice of husband moves farther away from the customs of their faith. Then the edict of the Tsar evicts the Jews from their village. The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, was the first run of a musical in history to surpass the 3,000 performance mark. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years. It remains Broadway’s fourteenth longest running show in history.
AIM Creative director Don Westwood explains how the show and the actor, Bruce Goldman, came to be part of the American International retinue: “The origin of American International Music Management (AIM Mgt.) dates to the Spring of 2007, started by Walter Hook, a singer and actor well-known in the Jacksonville area. [He] told me he had a friend who was interested in starting a production company. Walter explained that his friend, Bruce Goldman, was an accomplished actor and entrepreneur. He then handed me a copy of the newspaper from Hilton Head, SC (The Island Packet), opened to a review of Fiddler On The Roof. Bruce Goldman was performing the role of Tevye at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. The critic used terms like ‘magnificent’ and ‘stop-in-your-tracks incredible’ to describe Goldman’s performance.”
Deciding on Fiddler starring Bruce Goldman as AIM’s inaugural production was easy, but the process of establishing the company and going into production took two years. During that time AIM set forth to define the company goals, gathered support, and made focused plans. Major elements include the concept of co-productions (presenting a production in a number of locations with local participation in each), dedication to turning out excellent product, involvement of only highly experienced people in key positions, and a major charitable commitment. With Fiddler On The Roof, AIM has established a relationship with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), with the goal of major fund-raising on their behalf.
A production company like AIM is an organization that produces and, in general, manages its productions. Unlike a theatre company, operating in a specific theatre with a season selected by an Artistic Director, a production company may be involved in a variety of entertainment ventures in various stages of development.
The decision to locate the company in Jacksonville is based on geography and resources. From Jacksonville AIM can serve Florida and the entire Southeast. Local resources include set construction which is good news for lumber yards along with the carpenters and painters. AIM plans to hire musicians, techies and stage managers from the area’s extensive talent pool. The conductor for Fiddler, Samuel Clein, is a resident of St. Augustine. The only bad news is that local performers who may be interested in auditioning will have to do so in New York City. One performer from Orlando auditioned in NYC for Fiddler and was hired.
The company is offering an Early Bird Special on tickets through October 15 – Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Visit for info. Don’t miss this great inaugural engagement and the excitement of having a national touring theatrical production company based here in Jacksonville.