The Addams Family Musical: Won’t be a Normal Night of Theater

Drama Club musical celebrates all things quirky

Ian MacLeod, Associate Editor

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the musical comedy “The Addams Family” is based off Charles Adams’ eponymous cast of characters, and is the Drama Club’s latest production (directed by Mr. Steve Shannon with musical direction from Mrs. Joyce Harrington with choreography by Ms. Corinne Mason). “The Addams Family,” an iconic part of American pop culture, started out as a series of cartoons that originally appeared in The New Yorker, and later spawned multiple television series, movies, and eventually, a musical that first opened on Broadway in 2010.

The musical centers around the Addams family, a macabre and abnormal, but close-knit clan composed of the father Gomez (played by Riley Morrison, Class of 2016), his wife Morticia (played by Leah Alessi, Class of 2017), their daughter Wednesday and son Pugsley (played by the siblings Alessandra and Marc Vento, Class of 2015 and Class of 2018 respectively), Uncle Fester (played by Christopher Burgess, Class of 2015) Grandma Adams (played by Lindsey Collins, Class of 2017), and a zombie butler named Lurch (played by Michael Nickley, Class of 2016). Trouble ensues when Wednesday’s decidedly normal boyfriend Lucas Beineke (played by Nick Sideropoulus, Class of 2015) comes to dinner with his parents Mal and Alice (played by Tim McDonnell and Hayley Burke, both Class of 2015) and Gomez is asked by his daughter to keep a secret from his beloved Morticia.

It’s different from other musical comedies I’ve seen. If I weren’t in it, I’d watch it.

— Lindsey Collins

A lot of the Addams Family’s allure comes from the quirky characters excellently portrayed by Abington High’s best actors and actresses. Leah Alessi describes Morticia, as “a morbid wife and mother, who keeps no secrets from husband and isn’t afraid to show a little skin.” Marc Vento describes Pugsley as “mischievous” but notes that his character is “sad that his sister (Wednesday) won’t play with him anymore because she growing up.” Grandma Addams is described by Lindsey Collins as “a promiscuous old woman who thinks she’s really young, but would do anything for the family.” And, Chris Burgess describes Uncle Fester as someone that  is “very eccentric, but loves his family,” noting that “he’s really fun to play because you can go to absurd extremes”. Hayley Burke’s describes the average Alice Beineke, as a woman that “goes through a drastic change in personality,” something that should be very fun to watch. Gomez, the musical’s main male character, is described by actor Riley Morrison (who was great in “Anything Goes” as  Moonface Martin) as “the most alive of all the Addams; he brings all the energy…(and) drives a lot of the plot forward.”

Leah Alessi as Morticia in the Addams Family (rehearsal photo)
Leah Alessi as Morticia in the Addams Family (rehearsal photo)

The music of Andrew Lippa is also great and encompasses a wide range of styles. Many cast members that this writer interviewed said the audience will enjoy the opening song “When You’re an Addams,” a comedic opening number that Marc Vento describes as “a six minute long song with lots of activity.” “One Normal Night” is another song that was highly recommended. Chris Burgess says, “It balances storytelling with being enjoyable, with a lot of really good choreography.” Also of note is “Secrets” sung by Leah Alessi and Hayley Burke; two very talented singers. Prospective audience members also have the talents of Alessandra (who played Hope Harcourt in “Anything Goes) and Marc Vento to look forward to.

The cast is very excited for their upcoming performance. Lindsey Collins says, “If you’ve seen the TV series or seen the movies, you’ll really enjoy it. It’s different from other musical comedies I’ve seen. If I weren’t in it, I’d watch it.” Chris Burgess says that he thinks that the musical is going to “turn out great despite interruptions (due to the recent weather). People have been putting a lot of work into it. If the writing and songs weren’t as enjoyable as they are I probably wouldn’t have (joined the Drama Club).”

However for many of the cast members (those who are part of the graduating class) this will be their last performance with Mr. Shannon’s Drama Club. Many seniors are sad that this is their last show. Susan Mullen (Class of 2015), who plays one of the Addams’ ancestors, a Puritan woman, has performed at AHS for five years (she was in “Seussical” when she was in eighth grade) and says that the show is “coming along really great and it’s definitely up there with the plays we’ve done in the past.” “The Addams Family” is shaping up to be a great musical and one that people will look back on fondly for years to come. Show will be performed at the Frolio Middle School Gymnasium, March 12 through 14, at 7:30 PM on Thursday and Friday and 2:00 PM on Saturday.

Due to the snow, parking is more limited than usual. A shuttle bus will run from 6:30 to 7:15 from the Beaverbrook Elementary school to the Frolio.

Full Disclosure: (See what we did there?) This author is a member of the pit orchestra for the musical and is friends with many of the cast members. Additionally, many members of the Gazette staff are also part of the Drama Club.