Honesdale High stages 'Addams Family' musical
HONESDALE, PA — This week, Honesdale High School presents a stage production of “The Addams Family,” a musical based on the franchise of the same name. That franchise began as a series of cartoons by Charles Addams, all featuring the same family of creeps, ghouls and weirdos, who were then adapted into many decades worth of television, animation and feature films. The musical’s plot concerns a grown-up Wednesday Addams, who faces the challenge of bringing her “normal” fiancé to meet the rest of her infamous family. The cast includes Madison Palmer as Wednesday, Michael Kirk as Gomez and Mackenzie Tagle as Morticia.
“The show was released on Broadway back in 2012, so it’s a fairly new adapted show,” says Scott D. Miller, the show’s director. In this production, “the cast and crew—as well as our pit orchestra members, who play the show—are all student participants. So we as the directors, the adults, teach them how to do it, and then they completely take the show over and produce the entire show.
“[This] week, we go into what we call tech week, where student stage managers start calling the show, we have the student technical hands, [and] the orchestra’s all student-based, so we really teach them the whole value of the theatre with our productions.”
Being a relatively newer work, the show also reflects a newer era of stage production. “We really see a new style of music—just the choreography, how they need to act and respond—it’s completely different than, say, your older musical productions… And modern technology will step in to enable this high school production to achieve professional effects. Miller said, “This production really takes it to the next level of those characters, how they sing in harmonies. For example, in the orchestra pit, all the keyboards are running a computer program called MainStage... the keys might have three or four different instruments coming out of the amp that’s portraying all of the different music sound effects that would have been in the original show—trying to tie those nuances together.
“It’s been interesting, to say the least... There [are] different styles of music in the production, so it’s not the same sound and the same song rhythm all the time. One of the scenes has a honky-tonk saloon piano—the kids dance to that, and there’s different dance styles that are twisted all through the show, from the tango to some of these newer dances that are out there, and it all ties in with the newer reality the students are living these days.”
However, despite the challenges that arise with such technical and creative concerns, Miller says that the students have adapted admirably. “The students have worked very hard—we set the bar very high. This is a difficult production to put together for adults, and to be able watch the students work through it… it really makes it exciting to watch it come together… We had [a] rehearsal, and we ran the opening number, and you can just feel the presence of them building the theatre, if you will [...] so when the audience is in there, there’s going to be ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ moments… You’ll be rolling on the floor laughing, and then there are some very serious dramatic moments that really make you wonder as an audience member—you become emotionally tied to these characters.”
Honesdale High School will stage “The Addams Family” at its Performing Arts Center on Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17 at 7 p.m., and for a Sunday matinee on February 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $9, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and $4 for children 3 to 5. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit honesdalepac.com or call 570/251-9831.