Mysterious and spooky: Draper Historic Theatre presents “The Addams Family”
Oct 01, 2018 01:39PM
● By Jana Klopsch
Cast members from “The Addams Family.” (Photo courtesy Draper Historic Theatre)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
In “The Addams Family” musical comedy, Wednesday Addams is a teenager in love with a boy from an average, “normal” family. She arranges for his family to meet hers and tells her grandma, “We’re going to act real normal.” Grandma answers, “Define ‘normal.’”
Things get more than a little crazy when the creepy, kooky Addams Family meets the Beinekes from Ohio — family secrets are revealed and feelings are bruised along the way. However, as Mackenzie Tolk, who plays Wednesday in the upcoming Draper Historic Theatre production, explained, one of the main themes of the show is “how family stays together when challenges come up.” Draper Historic Theatre will present “The Addams Family” Oct. 4–29.
Charles Addams’ twisted cartoons about an unusual family with macabre tastes inspired the iconic TV show in the 1960s and three popular films in the 1990s. “The Addams Family” musical, written by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, landed on Broadway in 2010 and was written in the spirit of the original cartoons.
Staging “The Addams Family” presents special challenges for the cast and crew at Draper Historic Theatre. To accommodate the performance schedule, the show has been double-cast. There are two actors playing each role for different performances. This presents an obvious challenge to the costume team. Rebekah Harris, who plays Grandma in addition to designing the costumes, said her team is busy “sewing, thrifting and getting anything that will stretch the budget.”
In one scene, the Addams Family’s ancestors rise from the dead — and perform a big dance number. This scene requires costumes representing a variety of historic periods from when the ancestors lived. Draper Historic Theatre is putting their own spin on the show is by depicting Gomez’ ancestors with sugar skull faces in reference to the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.
As anyone who has seen the movies and TV series knows, Gomez and Morticia dance a mean tango. In the musical, the cast will be performing many different styles of dance including the tango, cha-cha and samba in addition to jazz and musical theater steps. Choreographer Bailey Loveless is throwing in some hip-hop moves as well in addition to a reference to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Loveless has been acting since childhood and has been in four productions at Draper Historic Theatre this year. The goal of everyone involved in “The Addams Family,” she explained, is “to make the production our own. We want to pay homage to the characters from the TV show and movies but not copy them.”
Tolk concurs. “The fact that Wednesday is so iconic makes playing her a challenge. You want to put your own stamp on it.”
Tony Baca, who plays Gomez, is having fun with the role although it requires him to master a Spanish accent. He is mindful of making the accent authentic and not sounding like a caricature. A student of computer engineering at the University of Utah, Baca enjoys working with “all kinds of wonderful, talented people” at Draper Historic Theatre.
“Everyone is here because they’re having fun and they want to do it,” said Anne Considine-Olsen. Playing Alice, the mother of Wednesday’s boyfriend, is “a ton of fun,” she said. “You get to go a little wild and crazy.”
Considine-Olsen sees a larger theme in the show as well. “It’s about finding common ground when the differences seem so huge. And connecting with people who seem to be wildly different from you,” she said.
“‘The Addams Family’ is not only very funny,” said Loveless, “but it’s a reminder to embrace yourself and all your oddities and to embrace others in their own quirky ways.”
BYU theater student Jessica Taylor, who plays Morticia, summed up, “Everyone can find something they enjoy in this show. It’s for everyone.”
“The Addams Family,” directed by Eldon Randall, will be presented at Draper Historic Theatre October 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27 and 29. Draper Historic Theatre is located at 12366 South 900 East in Draper. The ticket hotline is 801-572-4144 during performance weeks. Tickets may also be purchased at the theater website at HYPERLINK "http://drapertheatre.org/" drapertheatre.org/