Dewsbury Collegians singer takes to the stage in 100-year-old shawl

REHEARSING: Michael Siegel, with the prayer shawl, and his daughter, Caitlin. (d24051271)

REHEARSING: Michael Siegel, with the prayer shawl, and his daughter, Caitlin. (d24051271)

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singer Michael Siegel will honour his grandfather’s memory when he takes to the stage in the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof.

Michael, a member of Dewsbury Collegians, is playing Tevye, the milkman with five daughters, in the show at Dewsbury Town Hall from June 12 to 16.

In the show he will wear a prayer shawl, dating back more than 100 years, which belonged to his grandfather.

Myer Sieglnitsky was born and lived in a small village in Lithuania until he was forced to leave during a wave of pogroms against the Russian Jews in the early 20th century.

Michael, a sales consultant from Batley, said: “My grandfather and the other villagers were forced to leave due to the destruction of their homes and feared for their lives.

“My grandfather, who was just a teenager, made a decision to leave Lithunia during this time to avoid the uprising. He packed a suitcase and made his way to America through Ellis Island where the authorities changed his name to Siegel.

“He took a suitcase of belongings and clothes and one of the items was his prayer shawl.”

Michael later found the shawl among his late father’s possessions and it has become a treasured family heirloom.

“When I got the lead in Fiddler on the Roof, I thought it would an ideal opportunity to honour my grandfather by wearing the prayer shawl,” said Michael.

The show will be performed nightly at 7.15pm. For tickets, priced £8-£12.50, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls or phone 01924 324501.