On stages across the country, Aquebogue native Danielle Allen will soon go by a different name — Shprintze — as she joins the cast of the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Just a week after graduating from Wagner College as a theater performance major, said Ms. Allen, 22, she discovered she’d gotten the part in a new revival.
“It’s definitely a big transition, since this is my first professional show,” she said.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is set in pre-revolutionary Russia, where a poor Jewish man, Tevye, attempts to find husbands for his five daughters, one of whom Ms. Allen will play. Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher created an alternative version of the classic 1964 musical, written by Tony-winner Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.
The national tour begins Oct. 17 in Syracuse and concludes Aug. 25, 2019, in Forth Worth, Texas. The show will make stops in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities.
Most of the music in “Fiddler on the Roof” is heavily influenced by Hebrew hymns, and the musical itself is steeped in Jewish culture and traditions. While Ms. Allen has no Jewish roots, she said she’s interested in the culture. During her sophomore year at Wagner, she interned at the college’s Holocaust Center, where she learned about Jewish history and culture and later educated elementary school students in Staten Island.
“Even though ‘Fiddler’ takes place before the Holocaust, I find it incredibly interesting to track that community and their resilience over time,” she said.
Ms. Allen said she reserved a great deal of her schedule for auditions.
“I had Tuesday, Thursday and Friday completely free for me to go to auditions,” she said. “So I was going to as many auditions as I could, just to get experience, and one of those was ‘Fiddler.’ ”
Ms. Allen’s mother, Mary, said her daughter worked hard for this opportunity and her involvement in the local arts scene has helped advance her career.
“She started at the East End Arts Council when she was 18 months old, and she actually stayed there until she was 18 years old,” she said. “I had no doubt she’d get to this point because she’s always been a natural-born performer.”
At East End Arts, Ms. Allen played piano and performed.
She said several East End institutions, including East End Arts, formed the foundation of her theater training.
In second grade, she eagerly took on the role of a Munchkin for Bishop McGann-Mercy High School’s 2003 performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” Ten years later, she received the Teeny Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her performance in Mercy’s production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
“It meant a lot to me to be recognized for my work as an actor by someone outside my family and friends, and it helped to give me the confidence and validation I needed to pursue theatre as a career path,” she said.
Ms. Allen also studied at Mattituck Dance Studio for several years, performed in “South Pacific” and “Footloose” at North Fork Community Theatre and attended the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center’s summer camp before attending Wagner.
This past summer, Ms. Allen appeared in “Much Ado About Nothing” with Northeast Stage, a theater company based in Greenport. The production toured several East End towns.
Ms. Allen said that while her career goal is to be a working actor — meaning she’s able to support herself through acting without a part-time job — her dream is to be on Broadway.
“That’s what I’m working toward,” she said. “The dream would definitely be to originate a role in a new show on Broadway. Being a part of creating a brand-new work would be a dream come true.”
A full list of “Fiddler on the Roof” tour dates can be found at fiddlermusical.com.
Photo caption: Danielle Allen performed in McGann-Mercy’s production of “Jekyll & Hyde” in 2012. (Dominick Chiuchiolo courtesy photo)