PHS brings The Addams Family to life

Robert Galbreath photos

PINEDALE – Dead ancestors rise from their graves to join the living in an annual rite celebrating generations of Addams Family history. Shaking out the kinks caused by lying 6 feet under for the past 12 months, the dead join the undead in a line dance around the cemetery.

This macabre spectacle is completely ordinary for the famous and ghoulish Addams Family. Gomez, Morticia and Pugsley Addams are about to have their lives turned upside down when eldest daughter Wednesday returns home with a big announcement.

The exceptional student talent at Pinedale High School took the drama program to a whole new level in “The Addams Family: A New Musical,” presented before a live audience – unthinkable months ago – on March 31 and April 1-2.

PHS faculty Greg Allen and Justin Smith directed the musical written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music by composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa.

Cultures collide and relationships are pushed to the limits in this dark comedy.

Uncle Fester, acted by sophomore Toby Allen, summons the ancestors in the customary family celebration. Tradition is the last thing on Wednesday Addams’s mind, the wickedly sarcastic and morbid daughter played by senior Zoe Griffin. An 18-year-old Wednesday is in love and plans to get married.

Wednesday’s fiancé, Lucas Beineke, a suburban college student from Middle America and portrayed by senior Juan Reyes, is an unlikely fit for the creepy Addams family.

Wednesday’s father, Gomez, acted by senior Erik Rivera, learns about his daughter’s secret and struggles to keep it from his wife Morticia, brought to life by senior Emma Rogers.

Morticia and Gomez eventually agree to host Lucas and his parents, Mal Beineke, an overworked professional played by junior Zach Maxam, and Alice Beineke, a colorfully clad housewife with a rhyming habit acted by sophomore Rhonda Auradou.

Meanwhile, back in the shadowy corridors of the Addams’s estate, Wednesday’s younger brother Pugsley, portrayed by freshman Wyatt Griffin, notices disturbing changes in his sister’s character. Wednesday replaces her usual dreary black dress with a yellow outfit, sings about love and is no longer willing to physically torture her brother.

A dejected Pugsley approaches Grandma Addams, acted by junior Rachel Essington, and gets ahold of some Acrimonium potion that can wreak havoc if applied correctly.

Following a painfully awkward dinner, Gomez and Morticia invite the Beinekes to partake in the game “Full Disclosure,” an Addams Family tradition. Pugsley sneaks a dose of Acrimonium into the chalice that is passed around during the game.

Grandma Addams’s potion loosens tongues and secrets come tumbling out (including Uncle Fester’s crush on the moon), shaking each relationship to its core.

Uncle Fester conjures up a storm, trapping the Beinekes in the Addams home for the night. Before dawn, the characters learn something new about themselves or rediscover a hidden quality.

Love and acceptance are rekindled as the Addams and Beineke families move toward the darkness together.

Even Lurch, the 9-foot tall butler with a vocabulary limited to grunts and played by senior John Covill, launches into song.

Superb acting made each character come alive as the show’s leads flawlessly hit high and low notes in musical numbers, delivered lines with ease and mastered complicated dance maneuvers, including a demanding tango.

The performances were made more impressive by the fact that many of the principal players came to the stage with limited experience in musical productions. Rivera, Wyatt Griffin, Covill, Auradou and Reyes had never set foot on a stage before “The Addams Family.” Identifying the newcomers from the veterans was nearly impossible.

The ensemble of actors portraying the ancestors were all at the top of their game – breaking into song and dance in an instant or holding expressionless, statue-like poses – no easy task during extended, hilarious scenes.

Gifted musicians in the pit orchestra included community members J.J. Huntley, Chandra Stough, Luke Myszewski and Katie Smith and PHS students Michael Vitanza, Kayla Cary, Troy Later, Zayne McClain, Tim Hosler, Chase Dorrity and Colbin March.

Dozens of people working behind the scenes made a show of this magnitude possible. Stage manager Ceili Fallon and crewmembers Jessi Nichelson, Michael Casebolt and Carson Deeluw kept the show running and the scene changes smooth.

Sean Ruckman served as light technician with assistance from Duncan Murdock and Reuben Allen. Sydney Wise was sound manager and Grant Fornstrom sound technician. Costumes were designed and created by Greg Allen and Cydnee Alfrey. Stasia Hamilton lent her dance expertise as the show’s choreographer.

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Robert Galbreath photos

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