In the spirit of Halloween, composer Andrew Lippa and librettists Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s 2010 musical adaptation of “The Addams Family” will be presented Oct. 31-Nov. 17 at Wright State University.
Inspired by Charles Addams’ cartoons, the musical is centered on dark, mysterious Wednesday Addams’ budding romance with well-mannered Lucas Beineke, which sends both sets of parents into a tizzy. Director Joe Deer says the core conflict of parental acceptance can be traced back to shows of the past from the classic plays of Kaufman and Hart to the flashy, feel-good musicals of Jerry Herman.
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“We’ve seen this story a lot (because) it’s a timeless story,” he said. “It’s ‘You Can’t Take It with You.’ It’s ‘La Cage aux Folles.’ It’s about supporting your children in who they love and how they love and also finding yourself again in their experience. As a parent, one of the things you have to do is find out who your child loves and support them. There’s a reason stories like this keep coming back over and over again. It never stops being timely. It never goes out of date.”
After staging “Crazy for You” at WSU last season, Deer embraces another chance to dabble in musical comedy, particularly imparting the proper techniques.
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“In physical comedy, many things are important,” he said. “In addition to understanding lines, I enjoy teaching my students what exactly is funny in a line or where are the possible ways to capture comic moments out of real human behavior. My students have grown hugely throughout this process. The rehearsals have been so fun, playful and incredibly professional. The students have been so focused. Overall, this is a really well-crafted show. Andrew Lippa is such a talented writer.”
Lippa’s tuneful Tony-nominated score includes “When You’re an Addams,” “One Normal Night,” “The Moon and Me,” “Let’s Not Talk About Anything Else But Love,” and Wednesday and Lucas’ terrific pop duet “Crazier Than You.”
FATHER KNOWS BEST
Hunter Minor, memorably seen last season as David in WSU’s impressive local premiere of “If/Then,” portrays patriarch Gomez Addams, particularly pressured by Wednesday into keeping her relationship with Lucas a secret from her mother, Morticia. Choosing to remain silent is a challenge for Gomez, but Minor regards it as the perfect example of a father’s unyielding love.
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“This show highlights a father who would do, and does throughout the show, anything for his family,” he said. “When both his wife and daughter ask for the impossible, he still does his absolute best to make both of their lives as perfect as possible. The show makes an incredible point of questioning what makes a ‘normal’ family. The Addamses and the Beinekes show us how every family, through their own uniqueness and quirks, is perfectly imperfect in their own way.”
CAST AND ARTISTIC TEAM
Joining Minor in principal roles are Robin Dunavent as Morticia, Michaella Waickman as Wednesday, Erik Moth as Fester, Dylan Tacker as Lurch, Amanda Astorga as Grandma, Eric Thompson as Lucas, Emma Bratton as Alice, Nick Martin as Mal, and Parker Kaibas as Pugsley. Marcus Butts, Tommy Cole, Mitchell Lewis, Jake Siwek, and Jeremy Weinstein portray the Male Ancestors. Lauren Eifert, Tassy Kirbas, Emma Metzger, Maggie Musco, and Jeannie Sincic portray the Female Ancestors. Matthew Shanahan and Sophie Hardy are the Swings.
Deer’s artistic team includes choreographer and WSU alumna Dionysia Williams (“The Music Man,” “Les Misérables,” “The Wild Party”); musical director Wade Russo (Goodspeed Musicals, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Boston Conservatory); set designer David J. Castellano; lighting designer Matthew P. Benjamin; costumer Zoe Still; and sound designer James Dunlap.
WANT TO GO?
What: "The Addams Family"
Where: Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton
When: Oct. 31-Nov. 17; 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays
Cost: $25 for adults; $23 for seniors; $15 for students
Tickets: Call (937) 775-2500 or visit wright.edu/tdmp
FYI: Patrons who attend the show dressed in costume will receive Halloween candy at the box office.