Matchmaker! Matchmaker! Meet Tevye’s 5 Daughters at Arena Stage: Part 2: Maria Rizzo

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In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the daughters of Tevye in Arena Stage’s Fiddler on the Roof, meet Maria Rizzo.

Maria Rizzo. Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.
Maria Rizzo. Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.

Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers, and tell them where they may have seen you on local stages in the past year.

Maria: This past year, I was seen at Signature Theatre as Louise in Gypsy, Shelley in BatBoy at 1st Stage, and Sue in Carrie the Musical at The Studio Theatre.

Have you ever appeared in a production of Fiddler on the Roof before and who did you play?

I have not. Fiddler has been on my wish list.

Have you ever performed in the round before and how does performing in the round make this production so special for the audience?

I have before. This show is already so much about community and the building of a strong circle. The round emphasizes this theme so beautifully.

Maria Rizzo (Chava) and Ann Arvia (Golde).   Photo by Margot Schulman.
Maria Rizzo (Chava) and Ann Arvia (Golde). Photo by Margot Schulman.

Who are you playing in Fiddler on the Roof at Arena Stage and how do you personally relate to her?/ 

Her name is Chava. She’s the third daughter to Tevye the milkman. She is SMART! She pushes boundaries and makes a big decision in the show’s second act. I relate to her closeness and value of family.

What daughter is very similar to you and why?

I love Chava very much. But I think it’s so special how all of the daughters are so strong. They’re all easy to relate to. They fight with their hearts and their minds which is so unbelievably powerful of them at their place in time. I only hope I can be more like that.

Which daughter reminds you of your siblings and/or other members of your family?

I’m one of five as well. We’re all strong willed and incredibly close- very much like Tevye’s family.

What have been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your role and what advice did Director Molly Smith offer you that helped you with these challenges and with shaping your performance?

Molly, Choreographer Parker and Music Director Paul have all been so equally inspiring. They are so loyal to the story and to making choices that credit the story beautifully.

(L to R) Hannah Corneau (Hode)l, Dorea Schmidt (Tzeitel), and Maria Rizzo (Chava). Photo by Margot Schulman.
(L to R) Hannah Corneau (Hodel), Dorea Schmidt (Tzeitel), and Maria Rizzo (Chava). Photo by Margot Schulman.

What’s your favorite musical number in Fiddler that you do not perform in the show?

“Miracle of Miracles.”

Fiddler on the Roof is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What does the show still have to offer contemporary audiences and your generation of theatre goers? Why do you think these characters are so universal?

It’s so much about recognizing ones values and the daughters who grow to be their own individuals. They are strong–that’s what our generation is about at this time of our lives. Growing from our past and our traditions to shape who we will become. That’s universal.

In 5 words or less -how would you describe Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock’s score of Fiddler on the Roof?

A privilege to perform.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in Fiddler on the Roof?

I hope people are as moved as we are.

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Fiddler on the Roof plays through January 4, 2015 at Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater-1101 6th St SW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 488-3300, or purchase them online.

LINKS

Matchmaker! Matchmaker! Meet Tevye’s 5 Daughters at Arena Stage: Part 1: Dorea Schmidt.

‘Comfort and Joy’: Appearing in 1st Stage’s ‘Bat Boy:The Musical’: Part 3: Maria Rizzo.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.