‘The Addams Family’ opens on DeKalb stage Friday
From The Star – Thursday April 30th
WATERLOO — DeKalb High School’s theater troupe tackles a massive challenge of costuming, makeup and staging with “The Addams Family” musical this weekend.
Fortunately, DeKalb already had mastered the task when its Classic Connection show choir performed the musical’s opening song in competition four years ago. Having all those costumes already made allows us to be able to do this show,” said co-director Kent Johnson.
The cast’s nearly 50 members include some 40 who have returned from their graves as Addams ancestors. “Every exposed part is either covered with gray material or gray makeup, since they all have to look like they came back from the grave,” Johnson said. “This show has wonderful, large production numbers,” Johnson said. “The show itself is so well-written, so clever, so well put together. There’s a great flow to it.” Johnson and his wife and co-director, Shelley, caught the 2010 show on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in the leading roles of Gomez and Morticia Addams. The couple head a creepy, comical clan made famous in cartoons, television and movies. “We knew when we saw that, that one day we wanted to bring that to DeKalb High School,” Kent Johnson said about the Broadway production.
The Johnsons will achieve their goal when the musical opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. in DeKalb High School’s auditorium, continuing Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The show revolves around a crisis created when the Addamses’ teenage daughter, Wednesday, falls in love with a normal Midwestern boy, Lucas Beineke, and brings him and his parents home for dinner at the ghoulish Addams mansion. “The Addamses, for all their quirks, are a very loving, great family unit,” Johnson said. “We really find out that the Beinekes are much more dysfunctional than the Addamses are.” DeKalb’s Brandon Park returns to center stage as Gomez Addams after major roles in the school’s past two stage productions.
“He’s just outstanding in this role,” Johnson said. Park intends to study jazz guitar at Indiana University, Johnson added. “He has a real interest in music and the nuance” of the show, he said.
Graduating from smaller roles in past shows, Alison Kennedy, portrays Gomez’s witch-like wife, Morticia. “She’s just done an excellent job of getting the whole nuance of that character down,” Johnson said. Tia Hackbush plays the role of Wednesday, with Chris McMaken as her brother, Pugsley, and Courtney Myers as Grandma. Vince Rainelli takes on the show’s juiciest role as the family’s weird Uncle Fester. The supposedly normal Beinekes include Christa Voirol as Alice, who steals the spotlight when a potion loosens her tongue, Dalton Bell as husband Mal and Matt Irwin as Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas. Gunnar Stairhime is featured as the Addamses butler, Lurch. “The Addamses are so different from any other characters we’ve had on this stage,” Johnson said. “As abnormal as they are, if people play them abnormal, then they become caricatures instead of characters. So we work at trying to have our people play them as normal as possible and then just allow that personality to come out.”
He added, “I’ve got such a great cast this year, from side to side and front to back — just outstanding talent — and they’re all really shining well in this show.”