Student in the Spotlight: Emili Lewis

The 50th anniversary of the legendary Broadway production “Fiddler on the Roof” will be held at SSU’s Pearson Theatre as the only showing of the musical in the Bay Area. Starring in the production as Hodel, the second oldest daughter, is Emili Lewis.

This senior has been interested in theatre since she was a kid, and it’s a passion that was passed down from her mother, who was also an actress.

Her vibrant personality and ability to grasp at opportunities throughout her college career have made her a well-rounded and balanced person.

Her love for social activities, making deep connections with people and singing are what have always driven her to keep theatre as one of her major hobbies.

Lewis has previously starred in the musical adaptation of “Legally Blonde” at the Santa Rosa Junior College playing Brooke, the fitness instructor accused of murdering her husband. She also starred in “Oklahoma!” as her first show at Sonoma State.

So far throughout her theatre career, she has only performed and tried out for musicals as opposed to contemporary plays. Musicals have always appealed to her more because of her passion for singing, plus it’s where her interest and comfort have always been.

Also, as a former Sonoma State STAR staff writer, she believes the experience helped further in aiding her writing and organizational skills throughout her college career. 

She is surprisingly not a theatre major or minor, but is a communications major. She uses theater as “an escape from real life.” 

Since she is a senior, she definitely wants to incorporate her job with theatre, but not in the aspect of acting and singing. 

Lewis wants to incorporate public relations with theatre so she can blend her life’s passion with her job. 

A plus would be being able to get free tickets to theatre performances of all her favorite productions.

Her favorite Broadway production is the comedy “Funny Girl,” more specifically the movie version starring Barbra Streisand, one of Lewis’ role models.

The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance is inviting the students and surrounding community to come experience this iconic play, especially since it is the only production of “Fiddler on the Roof” being performed in the Bay Area. 

This is drawing people from near and far to experience this unique performance of the most classical musical.

Since this play is based on Jewish family, Lewis knows that the Hillel, a organization comprised of Jewish students, will be coming to watch the performance one night.

Lewis’ character, Hodel, is an intellectual that is informed about issues in her community but is constricted to the bubble of Anatevka (where they live).

Her love interest, Perchik, comes in to educate her about the rest of the world and how much more there is to know and see outside of their little town.  

The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance took five months to prepare for this production. Starting the audition process in August, the actors had to audition with two songs and a monologue that couldn’t be from the production.

The next day involved callbacks where they spent all day singing songs from the play and try out different characters to see what fit for the best performance.

Since the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance took a five-month period to prepare for the play, where as most productions normally take three, this allowed the time spent to be spread out. They had rehearsals on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-10 p.m. as opposed to three month productions having every night from 7-10 p.m.

“Unlike other shows, it’s all about teaching,” said Lewis. “Sonoma State focuses on building you as actors, not just for the time being but giving you foundations to go on [as an actor].” 

These are students that are in the learning process and have accomplished a lot in the five months they have been preparing for this production.

This opening show starts on Feb. 6 and goes until Feb. 16 in the Evert B. Person Theatre. Students are admitted for free, with other admission ranging from $10-$17.

For more information on the play and ticket prices, visit http://sonoma.edu/theatreanddance.