Sick of Dating Apps? Try Me, The Girl Who Played Yente in a High School Production of Fiddler on the Roof.
By Amanda Melhuish, Contributor
Tinder, Bumble, even Zoosk — what dating app haven’t you tried? And where have they gotten you — nowhere, right? Of course, right!
That’s why you’ve come to me, the girl who played Yente in a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Sure, the iconic Jewish matchmaker was my first — and last — role with a name…but everyone says I really brought Joseph Stein’s book* to life, to life, l’chaim!
I was so inspired by the role that I became the defacto matchmaker of Ben Brantley High School. I mean, I got really into it. I’m not saying I went totally method with the part, but there’s a reason my aunt says I’m basically Daniel Day Lewis. I even won the coveted Benny Award for “Best Supporting Actress Playing a Role Significantly Older Than Herself.”
I realized I might share Yente’s gift when I guessed Aaron, who starred as Tevye, had a crush on Rachelle, who played Hodel. Not a day later, the tech kids saw them stealing kisses in the Math building after 5th period! I had an instinct, right? Of course, right?
Suddenly I realized Mr. Bosker cast me because Yente and I were spiritually aligned, and not just because it was an older female character and I was taller than everyone else. I was totally type cast!
I grabbed my Lisa Frank trapper keeper and made a promise: to find love for all the lonely hearts in my high school.
My first official match happened when I was grabbing a smoothie with Eugene, who played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, a good man! It was tech week — h**l week, am I right — and we were exhausted. Eugene was complaining about having no one to take to winter formal and I immediately remembered poor lonely Erma in the band. She just got dumped by an oboist and was totally on the rebound! By opening night, Eugene spent so much time gazing lovingly into the orchestra pit that he almost fell right in during the bottle dance! What an adorable disaster!
All I had to do was suggest the idea to Erma and suddenly, Eugene not only had a formal date; he had a prom date! They lasted until summer vacation, when Jeni S. caught Eugene doing hands stuff with Nathaniel at Stagedoor**.
I still count this as a success because the goal was “date for winter formal” and I definitely made that happen.
My second match was between Mr. Bosker and Mrs. Bosker, because there was a rumor they were taking a break. I boldly went up to Mr. Bosker after notes one night and said, “Mr. Bosker, give it another try. Also, I disagree. I think my accent is very authentic.” They never got divorced — thanks to me!
My last match was between Zitty Zadie and Josh C. Zitty Zadie was afraid no one would love her because she had — you guessed it — horrible acne! I said, “Zadie, you’ll find someone — even your pimples have partners!” She locked herself in the bathroom for all of P.E. after that. But, when she came out, she said she was willing to give me a chance! I set her up on a blind date at Wetzel’s Pretzels with Josh C., a down-on-his-luck jock with a sprained ankle. They wound up getting married! I wasn’t invited to their wedding because I’m “mean” and “a bully,” but still — that’s was all me.
As you can see, I have a much higher success rate than those silly apps. I’m three for three!
Of course, I don’t just miss matchmaking. I really miss performing too. All this talk is making me so nostalgic! I think my best show was the Sunday matinee, when my parents sat in the front row of the auditorium. After the show, they complimented the writing.
I don’t think I’ll act again, but I’d love to help people fall in love again. If you need a match, call my mom’s landline before 8pm and she’ll let me know. Not every woman is Yente, but I am Yente (or at least I was for a few weeks in 2013) and Yente is a matchmaker. Right? Of course, right!
*that’s musical theatre-speak for script
*Stagedoor is a really prestigious summer camp for musical theatre kids that has produced stars like Ansel Elgort. I always wanted to go but my parents said my “talents lie elsewhere.” Whatever, Dad.
Amanda Melhuish is an actress, writer, and a comedian based in Brooklyn, NY! Her work has been featured on Reductress and Buzzfeed, where she’s gone viral with pieces like “Who Said This? Nicki Minaj or Elizabeth Cady Stanton.” You can find her doing improv all over New York City, or sipping on sangria at any Midtown bar with wifi.