The Addams Family Visits Nashoba…March 9, 2016
By Ann Needle
Television of the 1960s featured, among the sunny variety shows and sitcoms, a family that found its calling in cobwebs and coffins. In a few weeks “The Addams Family,” a musical based on that television show, will resurrect the beloved characters of the TV series on the Nashoba Regional High School stage.
Director Bill Grady described the musical as “a fun, light-hearted show based on the cartoon characters created by Charles Addams in the New Yorker magazine; it later becoming the classic TV series in the 1960s that many of the older generations remember.” For those that were not around in those days (or missed the two movies in the 1990s), think of a dilapidated mansion housing a family that adores the color black, finds joy in pain, and frolicks in a backyard housing a cemetery of beloved relatives. An example of an Addams in action: In the TV series, matriarch Morticia’s (Stow’s Marianna Sardella) idea of pruning the greenhouse was snipping the heads off the roses.
The Addamses of the NRHS show will be out in force, featuring Uncle Fester, Lurch the butler, Morticia and husband Gomez, children Pugsley and Wednesday (Hayley Giovinazzo), and Grandmama. For those whose taste in characters runs to the even more exotic, expect Cousin Itt and his armor of hair, along with Thing’s fingers, to crawl by. Of course, there are dead people, with a chorus of long-gone ancestors hanging around.
The musical plot centers on Wednesday, who is now a young woman of 18. She has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a nice, normal young man from Ohio (the source of all normal people in musicals). Wednesday has invited the Beinekes to the Addams’ house for dinner, guaranteeing an interesting evening that will test the patience of both families.
Revelations at the dinner table include Uncle Fester’s declaration that he is in love with the moon (“but I haven’t told her yet”). The dinner concludes with Beineke clan patriarch Mal (Sean Bannon) declaring the Addams family insane, maintaining that the Beinekes would never get used to their “NY lifestyle.” Rest assured, while this is an Addams moment, the show ends on what everyone can agree is an upbeat note.
Creepy, Kooky, and Subtle
“The blend of crazy characters and subtle adult humor make it a great choice for this year,” Bill Grady said of this year’s NRHS musical. “This show truly allows each of the actors to step ‘out of the box’ and really develop these characters that they would never be portraying in any other type of production.”
Grady stressed that special lighting and other techniques will create unique visual effects that highlight the endearing oddities of the characters. He pointed to the bald-headed Uncle Fester, who sometimes lit a lightbulb by sticking it in his mouth and blowing. If you have never seen this it’s worth a ticket, but don’t try it at home.
There also will be “puppeteers” manipulating some of the characters’ movements for that special Addams look and feel. For instance, having a character fly across the moon, limbs flailing, singing “when the moon says I love you,” calls for the puppeteering touch.
This is not a production to keep the kids away from; the feel is much more Mardi Gras than Halloween. Grady remarked that Addams aficionados will likely find The Addams Family musical more in the light mood of the TV series than what he termed the darker feel of the more recent movies. And, many children enjoyed those movies, so consider the NRHS production a fine night out with the family.
The Addams Family plays at the NRHS auditorium, 12 Green Rd. in Bolton, on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, at 7:30pm; and Sunday, March 20, at 2pm. Tickets are $14 for adults $10 for children, students, and seniors. Order tickets in advance at www.NashobaDrama.com.
This performance is supported in part by a grant from the Stow Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.