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They’re creepy and they’re kooky…
Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre unleashes The Addams Family!
By Michael Summers
Fort Wayne Reader
Conventionality has a way of sneaking up on even the most unconventional of families.
Take the Addams Family. For untold years the tight-knit Addamses have lived in their own little world, where be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy, and death and suffering are the stuff of sweet dreams. Gomez and Morticia, the patriarch and matriarch of the clan, would be only too happy to continue living that way. But their macabre-loving daughter Wednesday is now 18, and has a serious boyfriend — Lucas Beineke, a “normal” boy from a “normal,” respectable Ohio family.
Wednesday Addams is hardly the first goth chick to fall in love with a normal boy from Ohio; that said, it isn’t the match Gomez and Morticia would have picked for their beloved daughter. When Lucas and his parents come for dinner, the situation promises to be even more awkward than such situations usually are…
That’s the story behind Fort Wayne Summer Theatre’s musical The Addams Family!, which begins its run at the Summers Auditorium at Canterbury High School on July 7.
The Addams Family! is a big production — 39 cast members take part in the show. And it’s a young cast, too, mostly made up of high school students with a couple middle-schoolers and a couple college-students filling out the cast.
But the size of the production and the fairly intense rehearsal schedule (more on that in a moment) are what the participants are looking for from Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre. For 19 years the organization has been providing local “theater kids” with challenging and exciting opportunities to hone their craft over the summer, when the school spring musical is over and show choir wraps for the season.
“We give local students — mostly high school students — opportunities to continue their theater experience throughout the summer,” says Clare Ramel, spokesperson for the organization. We try to include as many local schools as possible — I think there are maybe 19 local schools represented this year. Having these kids from different schools work together really helps build a strong theater community in Fort Wayne.”
Drama teacher Kirby Volz co-founded Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre and serves as the director for the productions (including The Addams Family!). The Addams Family! is a relatively new musical, which fits in with the organization’s mission to give aspiring young actors the opportunity to tackle work not normally part of a high school theater program’s curriculum. “In general, school programs often focus on the older classics,” Ramel says. “We like to be able to offer some new types of shows to kids.”
Ramel herself is a veteran of Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre and has been in the organization’s productions of Legally Blonde and Sweeny Todd. “Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre is kind of like a summer camp,” she explains. “We usually send out audition notices in late April or early May. Anyone who wants to be involved can audition. We hold auditions, and are ready to roll by the time school gets out.”
The rehearsal schedule is fairly rigorous — they start at the beginning of June and run 3:30 – 6:30 every weekday — but the students love the process, and are very serious about learning all they can. And since these are usually “theater kids,” they often know quite a bit about the work even before they show up. “Some of the actors knew a few of the songs (from The Addams Family!),” says Ramel. But the source material? The movies (25+ years ago)? The TV show (50+ years ago)? The cartoons (forget about it)? Not so much. “It’s been kinda cool to give them a little pop culture education with some of this,” Ramel laughs. “But this kind of goofy humor doesn’t need much education to appreciate.”
The cast features Atticus Bennett as Gomez Addams, Kaylee McCullar as Morticia Addams, Janae Jeran as Wednesday Addams, Mason Brindle as Pugsley Addams, Jason Wendt as Fester Addams, Daniel Moser as Lucas Beineke, Holden Davenport as Mal Beineke, Gwenyth Baer and Alice Beineke, Zara McCord as Grandma Addams, and Dylan Record as Lurch Addams.
Fort Wayne Summer Musical Theatre presents The Addams Family!
July 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th at 7:30pm, and July 9th and 16th at 2:00pm.
Summers Auditorium at Canterbury High School
3210 Smith Road
Tickets: $15.00 for Adults and $12.00 for students. (With a high school student I.D)
For tickets and more information visit FWSMT.com or call (260) 234-8383.