Do You Love Me?
How better to celebrate an 80th birthday than to appear in "Fiddler" with your wife?
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
Friends And Family
"It's been really wonder-
ful directing Ceci and
hat could possibly have prompted
Willie together," said
Willie Stone to climb up on stage and
Bill Salisbury of West
perform in the first theater production
Bloomfield, half of
of his life — at age 80?
The same thing that brought his wife, Ceci, back
wife team involved in
from an 18-year-long acting hiatus.
"My wife, Jan, and I
"We did it for Fiddler, "she said.
When the Bloomfield Hills couple discovered that
have been members of
the Farmington Players
the Farmington Players community theater group
since 1959 and have
would be presenting Fiddler on the Roof— opening
directed many plays
on Friday, April 30 — they both auditioned, with
together, but this time
Ceci earning a lead role as Tevye's wife, Golde, and
we are directing our
Willie cast as the town's rabbi.
While the play may be a first for Willie, he's not
good friends, the Stones.
We even combined
actually a novice to the stage, having performed in
variety shows and musical reviews in the 1950s and
friendship and work
1960s for various Jewish organizational fund-raisers.
with Ceci spending
Ceci and Willie Stone in their costumes as Goide and the rabbi in the Farmington
For Ceci, who majored in theater at the University
hours in our home
"Fiddler on the Roof"
of Michigan, returning to the Farmington Players
rehearsing for this play."
Barn Theater in Farmington Hills was like coming
This is also the first
"Rehearsing can be tiring — exhausting," Ceci
time the two have directed Fiddler; but they have
home to her theatrical roots. She's held many roles
Stone said. "We may have had to give up a few
been connected to it since its beginnings.
since, but her first was playing the lead in Sabrina—
months' worth of quiet evenings at home, but it's all
"We saw the show for the first time when it opened
with• the Farmington Players in 1961.
been worth it."
pre-Broadway in 1964 at the Fisher Theatre in
"I really wanted her to be in the play," Willie said.
Willie agrees, but reminds her that they gave up
"I had never seen her on stage. We've been married for Detroit with Zero Mostel — and it blew us away,"
more than quiet time. "This is the first winter in 50
Bill Salisbury said. "What is so fascinating is this
15 years and she hasn't acted during that time. Now,
years I haven't been in Florida," he said. "But it's been
story remains relevant today, with all our world prob-
in addition to being able to see her, we're working
a great winter." For Willie — a lifelong athlete and
lems, prejudices and ethnic and religious hatreds. The
champion squash player — the season also included
play really hits a note with so many people."
And they're working hard. Often, there are four-to-
the thrill of being inducted into the Michigan Jewish
In fact, much of the cast have been in other produc-
six rehearsals in a week — filling most weekday
Sports Hall of Fame.
evenings and many weekends.
tions of Fiddler. "The show seems to attract the same
The couple's experience has proven to be more than
actors, once they've done it," he said. "It's like it. has its
But it's worth it, according to Ceci. "We're having
a chance at sharing an accomplishment — and a ride
the best time," she said.
to rehearsals. It's allowed them to share the cama-
Work on the production began early
raderie of other cast members.
summer. Auditions for the 33-
"They all adore Willie," Ceci said. While he often
member cast of singers, dancers
gets so into character he refers to himself as "Rabbi
and actors took place in October
Stone," last month his castmates showed him they
and rehearsals with music director
remember who he really is. In a surprise celebration,
Lee George and choreographer
they confirmed they can sing more than "Sunrise,
Belen Guzman started in February.
Sunset" and "Do You Love Me?"
"The music is so wonderfully
"One day, they all came up and surrounded him,"
melodic and dramatic," Jan Salisbury
Ceci said. "Then they presented him with a great big
said, "it still gives us goose bumps lis-
cake, gathered around him and sang 'Happy Birthday'
tening to rehearsals."
on his 80th." ❑
The Salisburys' daughter Lisa
Muscio of Farmington Hills and
Lisa's children, Lauryn, 11, and
Reid, 8, each have roles in the play.
Fiddler on the Roofwill run from Friday, April
In addition to acting, Lisa Muscio
30, through Saturday, May 22, at the
runs theater camps in the summer
Farmington Players Barn Theater, 32332 W
at the Barn and produces children's
12 Mile, Farmington Hills. $15, with special
theater during the school year
rates available. Call (248) 553-2955 or access
through the Farmington school dis-
The Farmington Players cast of "Fiddler" includes Steve Rosen of
the Web site: www.farmingtonplayers.org
Commerce Township, Gag Fink, Kathy Storchan, Gag Weinstein,
Maya Shwayden all of Farmington Hills, and Willie and Ceci Stone