Gomez, Morticia, and their whole loveable, ghoulish clan wrestled — and sang and danced — with the challenges of change in The Addams Family, a student musical production in the Norris Ely Orchard Theater last week.
Set in the family’s gothically sophisticated mansion, the Loomis Chaffee Theater & Dance Department production featured the acting, voice, dance, and technical theater talents of a 20-student cast and 13-student crew as well as a live orchestra that included four students along with several professional musicians.
The show’s familiar characters encounter problems stemming from the lovestruck relationship of the family’s teenage daughter, Wednesday (played by junior Rosalie Lyons), and Lucas (sophomore Ben Radmore), a “normal” boy from town. When Wednesday invites the boy’s family to dinner at her house, comical chaos ensues as cultures and personalities clash and myriad mix-ups add to the hilarity.
The elegant hosts, Morticia (junior Lana Breheney) and Gomez (junior Baihan “Tom” Zhang), detect cracks in their perfectly ghoulish marriage. The visiting couple, rhyming housewife Alice (senior Grace Kulas) and gruffly superior Mal (sophomore Aidan Cooper), air their own differences, thanks to a misplaced truth serum concocted by the Addams family’s Grandma (junior John Howley). Meanwhile, Wednesday’s little brother, Pugsley (sophomore Grace Thompson), worries he will lose his sister’s companionship in enjoying all things gory and horrifying. And Uncle Fester (senior Steele Citrone) pines for his true love, the moon.
Through it all, a ghostly chorus of — well, ghosts — watches over and comments on the unfolding crises and their eventual resolution. And the household servants, including the monstrous Lurch (junior Evan Petkis) and the single-handed Thing (junior Sabrina DeGraw), maintain their humorless subservience with a hint of disdain.
The show was directed by theater teacher David McCamish and choreographed by dance teacher Kate Loughlin. Production Manager was Candice Chirgotis, head of the Loomis Chaffee Theater and Dance Department, and music director was Melanie Guerin. A talented group of other faculty members and theater professionals provided crucial assistance with the production.
The Loomis Chaffee Parents Association hosted a well-attended Theater Luncheon, complete with whimsically macabre desserts, in Brush Library before the show’s Saturday matinee.
Music and lyrics for The Addams Family were written by Andrew Lippa, who visited Loomis and worked with performing arts students several years ago. The book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The show appeared on Broadway from March 2010 to December 2011, followed by national and international tours.