'Fiddler on the Roof' performed at RiverCenter

John Preece has been typecast, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

He's played Tevye, the father in "Fiddler on the Roof," in 3,500 performances on 10 national tours.

The show is performed tonight and Friday at the RiverCenter.

Preece was in his 20s when he first performed the role and now he's in his 40s.

He's performed many times in various theaters around the United States.

"Sometimes, I know exactly where my dressing room is," Preece said. "Some of the theaters, I remember. Some of them are new. It changes all the time."

Preece had a break from playing Tevye recently when he went on tour playing Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha."

He has also played Benjamin Franklin in "1776."

He's from the Washington area but Preece has Georgia ties.

He went to school at Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga., and Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. He also worked on his master's degree in musical theater at Southern Illinois University.

Working on the road "is sometimes really hard," Preece said. "It's getting up and getting on a bus. Travel to the next city and check into a new hotel. Do a sound check and go back to the hotel. Then you do the show, go back to the hotel. Then you get back up and get on the bus. It's hard when you have to do eight different cities in eight days."

Performing in one theater for a week is a luxury, he said.

The current tour began in Alaska, which makes it the 49th state he's performed in over the years. The only state in which he hasn't performed is Hawaii.

Preece lives in Springfield, Ill. When he's not touring, he enjoys relaxing at home.

He's found this tour therapeutic. His wife died last month.

"It gets my mind off things for three hours every night," Preece said.

He said playing Sweeney Todd in "Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" would be a dream job.

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