DERBY, Conn. (AP) - On weekdays, he shuffles papers as the city’s town/city clerk posting agendas, processing minutes and signing off on important documents.
But on weekends, Marc Garofalo transforms himself from a real-life Valley politician into a beloved figure on the stage, playing characters like Professor Harry Hill in “The Music Man,” Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” and Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha.”
“It’s relaxing,” said Garofalo, a veteran of about 60 performances dating back to his junior year in high school. “It’s a great activity for adults. It allows you to use your creative side.”
This weekend, this Roman Catholic, Italian-American will be playing the role of Tevye, the philosophical, faith-driven Jewish dairyman whose struggles with century-old traditions, impending changes and doing what’s right for his family in 1905 Czarist Russia create the story line for “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“Marc is perfect for the role,” said Francesca Scarpa, who with her husband, Gary, is producing the show for their Center Stage Theater located in the former Lafayette School in Shelton. “He’s grown into the role.”
Garofalo played the role when he was 21. Now he’s re-creating it at age 46.
“I’ve still got the beard, but there’s more salt than pepper in it now,” quipped Garofalo, who served four terms as the city’s mayor.
“Fiddler” will run weekends until Feb. 22, with a Feb. 13 evening performance.
“Tevye is a big, demanding part,” said Garofalo. “To me, it’s an honor to play a part like this. It’s so well-written.”
He said, “There’s a lot of humor, a lot of drama to it. It has a very deep message about family, community, traditions and values in a changing society - all things that are relevant today. Life evolves and traditions change, but it’s still important to maintain them.”
Also, the music is incredible, he said.
His favorites are “If I Were a Rich Man,” the inebriated singing and dancing in “To Life” and the solemn “Sabbath Prayer” - a dinner table performance with his character’s wife and five daughters.
“That’s such a pretty, pretty song,” he said.
But don’t expect to see Garofalo walking around City Hall with a script in his hand, mouthing lines or humming music. He does that at home and in rehearsals at night.