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The Addams Family at Adams Middle School

by Press Release
March 21, 2019

In the opening number of “The Addams Family”, the darkly delightful musical that will run from March 29th-31st at Robert Adams Middle School, the patriarch of the family points out, “When you’re an Addams… you've got to like to stir the pot.”

Well that’s just what the ReAct Players intend to do this spring, as everyone in the cast and crew, from 6th graders up to the director, all agree this is their most outrageous and ambitious undertaking yet.

“It's probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest shows we've done,” admits Beth Hecker, the director and Drama Club advisor for the ReAct Players for the past six years. “It’s a little bit more modern than past shows we’ve done.” The production’s musical director, Becki Abalutzk, goes even further when talking about the show's diverse and difficult music. “It has a lot of demands on harmony. The range is a little bit more extreme than some of the other shows and it on a lot of different styles of music.”

Ironically, this contemporary musical which debuted on Broadway in 2011, is actually based on the classic black-and-white TV show from the mid-‘60s, which required the young cast to do some strategic YouTubing to understand the vibe and the backstory.

In the stage play, parents Gomez and Morticia Addams are the loving, albeit slightly undead parents of teenage daughter Wednesday and tween son Pugsley. They live in a mansion that feels like a mausoleum with an extended family of Uncle Fester, Grandma, Cousin It and their hulking butler, Lurch. But their dark domestic bliss is endangered when Wednesday dares to fall in the love with Lucas, a boy who is painfully… normal.

The result is a plotline that is both supernatural and super-relatable for the cast and for the parents in the audience; a story about family dynamics, the pain of parents letting go, and of course, youthful rebellion. For some of the actors, there is an element of art imitating life.

“Wednesday is always swinging back and forth from her dark side to her light,” says Colleen Malvey who plays the role in the show. “As a teenager, with mood swings and stuff, I can relate somewhat with that.”

For Teddy Peters, who takes the stage as Gomez Addams, the challenges include speaking and singing in a Spanish accent, parading on stage with a false moustache, and stepping totally outside his day-to-day. “Not only do I have to adapt to a character who thinks his abnormal life is normal,” says Peters, “but I also have to adopt the role of a father and husband. It wasn’t my plan at age 13, but what are you gonna do?”

To take on a show this sophisticated, the cast has been rehearsing since December while the crew and parents have been working on a set to match. That’s because Mrs. Hecker has a vision for a truly immersive theater-going experience that starts when people walk through the front doors, with plans in the work to transform the lobby of the school into an extension of the play itself. “I love the technical stuff between the lights and special effects. I think that's always fun.”

The musical also promises plenty of laughs to go along with all diverse music and dark environment, according to Allison Hurd, who plays Morticia. “It has a lot more humor in it than past shows. It's funny how strange yet loving the Addams family is.”

This contemporary and slightly macabre mix of comedy, music, romance and relatability made for a popular show, as more than 60 students auditioned for the production, giving Mrs. Hecker the ability to double-cast some of the principal and supporting roles to give more middle-schoolers a chance to perform. It also means that audiences that come to more than one performance could see something a little different each time.

“The Addams Family” will open on Friday, March 29th at 7PM, with two more shows on Saturday the 30th at 2PM and 7PM, before closing with a 2PM matinee on Sunday the 31st. Tickets are available in advance at Coffee Haven and Kamala Boutique, or at the box office in the lobby at Robert “Addams” Middle School before each show. But please be aware, many performances sell out in advance, so it’s better to buy your tickets early!

 

 

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