Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. This weekend, Thursday, April 20 at 7pm, Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 1pm AND 7pm, the Addams family, a well-known weird and macabre clan, will take the Nederland Middle Senior High School stage, presenting a musical in which the family strives to appear normal.
It is a story of the once aristocratic family who lives in a gothic mansion next to a swamp and cemetery. In the strange morbid world of the Addams Family, the teenage daughter Wednesday believes that to be sad is to be happy; the son Pugsley believes that to suffer pain is to feel joy, and death and torture is a goal to be sought. They are not evil or bad: in fact, they do good works and welcome guests and love each other passionately.
Parents Morticia and Gomez are complacent in the way their lives are going, but then it happens. The outside world seeps in via their daughter Wednesday who is growing up and meets a boy; a kind, smart, Ohio-born good kid. Wednesday finds herself kind of smiling now and then and after the couple decides to get married, she invites his family to dinner. This brings on the Addams family’s greatest nightmare: they will have to change, have to portray themselves as your average family hosting another average family.
The Addams family has lived by their family values for hundreds of years and Gomez and Morticia, openly passionately in love with each other, have to get through this one inevitable, emotional night, as secrets are revealed and their marriage is tested. The whole family has to face the horrible and frightening fact that that they have to change.
Family members practice their manners, comb their hair, kind of, and put on clean clothes, but no matter what they do, their natural characters emerge.
Morticia, the mother, is played by Hayley Turner, perfect for the part, with her tall, classic stature. Morticia is beautiful, even in her lurid makeup and darkness, but she loves her family deeply, especially her husband Gomez, the patriarch. She believes in loyalty and insists on absolute honesty in their relationship.
Gomez is played by Emily Albright, who has been the lead in several NMSHS shows, beginning when she was in middle school. She carries off the part with a bravado and accent and handles the solos with ease. Emily is brilliant at combining compassion and pride in her character.
Uncle Fester, played by Marguerite Bradley, is hysterically demented in a happy way and blunders his way into trouble. Marguerite becomes Fester and steals the show with her comic antics and facial expressions.
The catalyst of the plot, Wednesday’s move into the real world, is taken on by Sashsa Godsil, a veteran of the Ned stage, who glowers darkly throughout most of the show. “Can’t we be normal for just one night?” she shouts at her parents. She is perfect at morphing into a happier state as the show nears the end and love conquers morbidity. Then there is Grandmama. Words can barely describe the grandmother of the Addams children. Played by Ellie Brewer who loses herself in the role and in her wild crazy wig. Every time Ellie is on the stage, the audience convulses with belly laughs, so adept is she at becoming the crazily grinning, cackling crone who concocts potions and creates spells, but she is good natured and loves her family in her own witchy way.
The boy, Pugsley, played by Bay Morrish, is a genius known for the toys of torture he creates and the poisons he mixes from his chemistry set.
No one ever forgets Lurch, the large Frankenstein type character that moves across the stage like a zombie. Kevin Merz plays the character perfectly, lurking in the background but always with a strong, huge presence.
In perfect contrast to the Addams family is the visiting family, the Beinekes, who are frightened, confused and shocked when the Addams characters reveal their true selves.
Lucas, the boy, is played by William Culver, perfect for the role with his clean cut good looks and gentle demeanor.
Alice, the mother, is played by Hattie Bakke who has a spotlight role. Alice finds herself charmed by Morticia and Gomez’s love for each other and the passions the family displays. Breaking from her meek and obedient mode, Alice breaks out into a pivotal moment of longing for a different life.
Jamie Hammers plays the dad, Mal, a rigid, controlling man who has kept a tight hold on his family and their actions. He ruled the roost until the night he met the Addams family and his wife and son rebel. Hammers has been on the Ned stage for years and loves stepping into a new role.
Through all of the hilarity in the plot, there are poignant song numbers where the characters reveal their deepest feelings; dances that reveal the talent of the actors, and chorus numbers that will sweep you into the fun of the show.
Don’t miss this weekend’s production of The Addams Family: The Musical.