By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
It was the night before Thanksgiving and not a student was sitting at Wyoming’s Daniel Heintzleman Auditorium as there were costumes to sew, props to prepare, and lines to review.
This weekend, the Wyoming Theater Company presents the musical “The Addams Family.” Created by cartoonist Charles Addams as a satirical version of the ideal 20th Century American family, “The Addams Family,” with its fascination with the macabre, became a cult hit in the mid-1960s with videos, an animated TV series, books, two feature films and a 2010 Broadway musical following. It is the musical that the Wyoming High School students are set to present this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec 1 – 3.
“It is very outside the box for us,” said junior Caitlyn Bulthuis who plays Grandma. “It’s a lot bigger show than what we have normally done in the past.”
It is also quite the opposite of the children’s productions the company presented last year, said 11th grader Clayton Howell who plays Pugsley Addams. “When I first read the script, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun,” Howell said. “And of course, I could see myself playing Pugsley.”
The characters in “The Addams Family” are very distinct from the crafty, but jolly, schemer and patriarch Gomez to the “electric” personality of Uncle Fester. This means having the right set of actors to pull off such an eccentric group of characters is essential for the show, something Director Jeremy Schnotala said he found when looking at his possible cast.
“I have a pretty good group of leads, about seven, who I felt could handle the parts along with about 10 future leads in the upcoming classes,” Schnotala said. “I applied early for the rights and we actually promoted this musical in the spring to help create some buzz for it.”
“Last year I played a Twit in ‘The Twits,'” said senior Matt Bulthuis, who plays Lucas in “The Addams Family.” “This part is really different for me and I like the change as I have the freedom to act more on my own and to improvise.”
The story centers around Wednesday who, normally a cold-hearted person (her favorite doll is a headless Marie Antoinette), has fallen in love with a normal, everyday guy named Lucas. This comes much to the surprise of her family but before Wednesday will agree to marriage, the two families must meet.
“I like the music,” said senior Cianna Gomez who plays Wednesday. For most of the cast, it is the music that makes the show. Among the most recognizable songs is “When You’re an Addams.”
“The music is so much fun,” said senior Olivia Cool, who is part of the orchestra pit. “When you perform at a concert, you have to play a specific portion. With the musical, there is more variety with you being asked to add or subtract depending on what is needed.”
“I really love the jokes,” said 11th grader Melissa Hadzikic, who plays Lucas’s mother Alice Beineke. “I really like the dynamics of the two families, one that is weird and kooky and the other that is normal and regular — here they are so different and they come together to make it work.”
Much like the story, it takes all kinds of people to put together the production. More than 70 Wyoming High School students are involved from acting to building costumes, from back stage to the orchestra pit.. Many of the students have worked long days since unlike many high school companies, Wyoming Theatre builds all of its items for each show, Schnotala said.
“It’s my last musical,” said Ansleigh Hamilton who wanted it indicated that she said it with a sniff. Hamilton who plays Morticia, said she has been performing since seventh grade and has loved every moment. “It’s been work but its been fun. There is a little bit of dancing and [the show] has become a great favorite.”