No one denies that the Staples High School Players put on excellent shows, but for those who participate, this student-centered theater group offers more than just moments in the spotlight.

“I think it’s different from any other community in the school,” said Players President Vignesh Namasivaym, explaining how the three-month build-up to a musical production makes for a close-knit group.

This weekend, the Players will cap the run of “Fiddler on the Roof,” having added an extra show on Thursday night due to the production’s popularity.

“Opening night was hugely successful,” said Jack Norman, stage manager. “I’m very proud of the work everyone put in.”

While the program is led by veteran director David Roth and employs the talent of several key adult players, students hold significant responsibilities and, to a large extent, take the lead in getting the shows through production.

“Everybody’s here because they want to be here,” said Chris Hoile, 15, who plays the constable. “It’s hard, but it’s totally worth it.”

“It’s very stressful,” admits the lead Jacob Leaf, 16, who plays Tevye. At the same time, he said, he enjoys the chance to get to know the people he’s working with and, whenever possible, to appreciate the moments of being part of something exciting.

“I like how we all get to work together,” said freshman Sydney Winthrop, 14, who worked on sets and sound. “We have all these different groups that will come together and make the play.”

“It’s pretty cool how there’s all of us coming together — freshmen, seniors — focused on creating one thing,” said senior Aaron Samuels, who plays Motel Kamzoil, the tailor. “Being so involved and working so closely on something that we’re so committed to means a lot to me. It’s very exciting.”

“Everyone here really cares about what they’re doing,” said senior Keanan Pucci, who feels the sense of community is the best part of being in the Players. “And when you put a lot of people with passion together, you develop some special bonds.”

“It’s just an outstanding sense of community and family,” said senior Jimmy Ray Stagg. “High school can be really challenging. There are so many cliques.”

However, he said, the Players offers a melting pot with a place for everyone. “Everybody’s really weird, but we’re all the same type of weird. There’s such an overwhelming sense of support.

“And the shows are incredible too,” he noted. “You can never underplay how great the productions are.”

“I’m really into musical theater,” said sophomore Olivia Payne, “and I think the Staples Players is almost like an off-Broadway show.”

Alex Elias, a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who returned to see “Fiddler” last week, said his experiences in the Players, which culminated with his role as senior manager of lighting, was a great training ground.

“I had this amazing opportunity for leadership and responsibility,” he said, noting the work prepared him well for college productions in a larger venue.

“It’s really fun to see the production come together,” said Braeden Smith, a sophomore involved with the tech crew. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a fun activity.”

“It’s really a rewarding process,” said Zoe Fox, a senior who has enjoyed four years with the Players. “We’re like a family.”

An additional show with special discounted prices was added for Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m., along with regular shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee Saturday at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available at, or at the door 30 minutes before each performance, subject to availability.