Review: The Addams Family finds a home in Lockhart
Story and photos by Ursula Rogers
Special to the LPR
Last weekend, the Gerry Ohlendorf Performing Arts Center was home to the creepy and the kooky as Lockhart High School students performed “The Addams Family.”
This musical comedy is based upon original Addams Family created by Charles Addams. The comic strip depicted a satire of the nuclear American family with an affinity for the dark and macabre.
There have been multiple adaptions including a 1960s TV show, films, and animated versions. The musical performed by Lockhart High School students was a restaging of the show written by Andrew Lippa.
(We find out early in the performance that our Addams adventure…) centers around young adult Wednesday Addams and her boyfriend Lucas Beineke. He’s from Ohio (gasp)! Even though determined to have one “normal” night with their “normal” families, both Wednesday and Lucas worry about how their parents will react to the news of their recent engagement.
Wednesday confides in her father, Gomez, but insists that he keep it a secret from her mother, Morticia, until after dinner. Ghoulish hilarity ensues.
Gomez Addams, played by Isaac Leyva, is a conflicted father, desperate to be true to both his daughter and wife as he is forced to host an evening of chaos. Leyva portrays this character beautifully with a warm and comforting energy that eagerly displays itself throughout.
With performances like “One thing” and “Happy/ Sad” he emotes, with brilliant simplicity, the conflicting feelings parents experience when their child makes a foray into adulthood. “I think of all the ways you’ve grown…and I’m feeling happy and sad again.”
Morticia Addams, played by Katherine Borgeson, was cool, collected, and perfectly morbid. She projects a caring but concerned mother, dealing with the angst of feeling like you’re not in on the same plot (although Morticia has had hers picked out for years).
With numbers like “Secrets” and “Death is Just Around The Corner” Borgeson’s resonate timber reveals a depth of character that openly admits the fear of the unknown but takes comfort in the inevitable. Death himself (uncredited) seems to laugh along with her as she copes using her own dark humor.
Ella McCarthy and Brady Reynolds play Wednesday Addams and Lucas Beineke. These two actors work together well to portray a couple in love striving to survive what we all must overcome, the judgment of our parents.
Playing my longtime favorite of the Addams clan, McCarthy did not disappoint. In the song “Pulled” she manages to convey the internal struggle of a young woman in love who seeks the blessing of her family. As Lucas, Reynolds further depicts for us the stark differences between the two young lovers and fosters our belief in his devotion to Wednesday in the song, “Crazier Than You”.
Speaking of crazy, I’m usually indifferent to the character of Pugsley Addams. But the physical comedy and vocals of Kateland Fierro were impressive. She sang with heart and conviction and I believed Pugsley’s distress at the thought of loosing his sister to Lucas and all the torture he would miss out on.
Katheryn Peterson and Aaron Grogan played the strait laced Mal and Alice Beineke. Or are they? Mal’s more reserved personality is not entirely mirrored in his wife Alice.
After a game of “Full Disclosure”, a long-time favorite of the Addams family, Alice finds her courage. And oh yeah…her voice! Peterson displayed a physicality reminiscent of vaudevillian actors of yesteryear. Her powerhouse voice and stage presence urged us all to contemplate our lives, deaths, and why we are waiting.
And who can dismiss him…our dear Fester! Played by Jason Hughes, and accompanied t by the ancestors, Fester serves as a Greek chorus that melodically carries us through this unorthodox evening and endears us to this delightful creep. He believes in love and bares his heart as well as his own oddities.
Some other well cast characters are Grandma, played by Lydia James and Lurch, played by Isaac Lewis. With fewer lines and less stage time, these actors closed the gap by constantly engaging us with their outlandish antics and were great crowd pleasers.
A good orchestra not only accompanies the vocalist but also elevates each performance. This ensemble did just that. This can also be said about the Addam’s ancestors. The pit orchestra consisted of members of LHS Band and professional musicians.
Mr. Kenneth Vise ensured that and did an exceptional job with the group. The combination of cast and musicians was truly showcased in the beginning and ending numbers. Especially the closing number “Move Toward the Darkness” which show caused a haunting feeling within me.
The set design, costumes, choreography, and makeup all worked to puts this musical “to rest” in the best sort of way. The technicians made use of their space and made the audience feel as if we were a part of the Addams clan. They at once piqued your curiosity and gave you closure.
“Full Disclosure” this was a heck of a play. Director Kenedi Worthington stated, “The Addams Family musical is a heart-warming story about family, acceptance, and growing up.” She, Jason Worthington (technical director, and Ashley Branson (vocal director) mange to get their actors and crew to convey these messages well. I give The Addams Family Musical two snaps and one maniacal laugh.