‘They’re creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky’; SGHS Drama brings ‘Addams Family’ to the stage

By: 
Jordan Gerard

The Addams Family is coming to town and families collide on stage when Wednesday Addams invites her beau and his parents to dinner.

The Spring Grove High School Drama Department will present “The Addams Family” on Thursday, Nov. 14, Friday, Nov. 15, and Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the gymnatorium. 

Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. The show runs about two hours with intermission, during which desserts will be for sale. 

Theatre and English teacher Megan Miller directs this year’s fall production and said the play is a good one for the fall season.

“We wanted to do this as our fall production because we were finding props for Halloween,” she said. “It’s kind of that time of the year type of show.”

And indeed it is, as the drama department also hosted their Halls of Horror event in October, putting the audience in the mood for a play about a “spooky” family.

Favorite Addams family members including Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Lurch, Cousin It and the ancestors come out to play in a plot of collision between their family and 18-year-old Wednesday’s boyfriend’s “normal” family.

To help smooth things over, Uncle Fester doesn’t allow the family ancestors to return to their crypt until love triumphs again. 

Miller said the play has challenged the students to learn the mannerisms of well-known characters, of which some of the cast may not be familiar. 

“We have a young cast, so for many, theatre is new or some are returning after some time [away],” she said.

Even though the large cast has a long production ahead of them, they are enjoying rehearsals so far. 

The songs are quirky and silly, but also a challenge for the cast, she added. Audience members will most likely recognize the theme song with the familiar “snap snap.”

Juniors Olivia Mendez (Morticia Addams) and Brody Christiansen (Gomez Addams) said they liked the characters and the songs.

“It’s fun getting to play characters everyone knows and loves and putting our own take on them,” Mendez said. 

Compared to the 1960’s TV show and the movies, Christiansen said this production is more modern. Both said they’ve seen either the TV show or the movies. 

“It’s a very family-friendly show,” he said. “The songs are fun to sing.”

Mendez added a lot of people would know the characters, but it’s “fun to see a new take on the characters that people have grown up with.”

In addition to a large cast of actors and actresses, there are several more behind-the-scenes components to this production including student-led dance productions, set construction and the pit orchestra.

Sophomores Ashlyn Hammel (dance captain) and Hailey Borreson (assistance dance captain) have been teaching fellow cast members dance steps, one of which is the tango.

Miller is pleased with the work they’ve done for the production.

“They’ve done a tremendous job learning things really quickly from videos or creating things that worked for the dance,” she said.

Hammel and Borreson have drawn on previous dance experience for the production and have led their peers in learning the steps, Miller added.

The set was also a student effort from the set construction class, which had no blueprints to work from, but that’s where the creativity comes in.

“A lot of them have enjoyed being creative,” Miller said. “They came up with their own set and enjoyed doing that.”

Also working behind the scenes is the stage crew, including sophomore stage manager Marah Mathison, lights by Abby Towne and Eliot Bartell, sound by Ariana Kampschroer and projection by Maria Blaskowski.

Pit orchestra

Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice wrote the play. Andrew Lippa wrote the music for the production. The pit band is under the direction of music teacher Willy Leafblad and consists of a mix of students and community members.

“You have to have lots of music for a musical and you simply cannot beat live music!” Leafblad said. “The connection and emotion is so much more tangible during performances than it is with a prerecorded track or canned music.”

Volunteer musicians in the pit will be accompanying soloists, duets and the entire cast during the production, he added.

Much of the dialogue in the play will be underscored by music, which is quite common in musicals, Leafblad said. 

The orchestra has been rehearsing since Oct. 22, which allows them to tackle a tricky task of timing the music with the scene and dialogue.

The music itself changes a lot during the production, Leafblad said. One measure will be in C major and eight measures later it changes to B major, which adds five sharps.

In terms of music genres, this contemporary take on the Addams Family has a Latin number, a swing tune and other different genres.

“Every number is a little different style. That can be challenging,” Leafblad said. “The pit musicians are also all volunteer, so they do it for the joy of making music and live theatre!”

Members include: 

Bekah Leafblad - flute, piccolo

Steve Mann - saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet

Kristin Freedlund - alto saxophone, clarinet, flute

Carter Bratland - trumpet, flugelhorn

Sam Farnen - trombone

Katie Hansen - percussion

Lane Zaffke - violin

Zoe Lamm - cello

Nick Bjerke - bass

Rachel Udstuen - piano

Jean Ellingson – piano

Cast and crew