“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky” — Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester and the rest of “The Addams Family” are coming to Chesapeake High School. The famous cartoon turned television show turned Broadway musical will be performed November 29-30 and December 1 as this year’s fall production.
“I know the kids are enjoying it, and I know that the audience is going to really, really enjoy it,” said director Michael Brisentine.
The appeal and desire to perform a more modern show led to selecting “The Addams Family,” written by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
“For the past 20 or so years, every single show that was put on at Chesapeake High School was written before the ‘70s and ‘60s,” Brisentine said. “We’ve done a lot of traditional Broadway. I wanted to spice it up a little bit and do something a little more recent.”
Last year, students performed Michael Stewart’s “Bye Bye Birdie,” a story inspired by Elvis Presley.
Several renditions of “The Addams Family” have made it to the television screen — a 1964 series and cartoon series in 1973 and 1992 — and live films in 1991, 1993 and 1998. Yet it wasn’t until 2010 that the show debuted in New York on Broadway.
“When I heard that we were doing this musical, I watched the musical on YouTube,” said Abby Shakan, who will play Morticia Addams. “It was just fun to do something new. I think this musical is hilarious.”
Students were excited to hear the selection of this year’s musical and have been rehearsing regularly to prepare for opening night.
“I’m really happy that this is what we’re doing,” said Laura Fisk, who will portray Wednesday Addams.
Shakan and Fisk will be joined by fellow Chesapeake students Tim Edwards (Gomez), James Siffrin (Lurch), Sara Simmons (Grandma), Alex Simon (Pugsley) and Chris Smith (Uncle Fester).
Added to the story when it became a musical was the Beineke family: Mal, played by John Johnson; Alice, played by Vivian Davenport; and Lucas, played by Alex Brown.
“This show has a lot of the dialogue and plot happen within these big ensemble numbers,” Brisentine said. “So, it's important to make them entertaining, but also keep them enlightening and make sure the audience catches the story that's happening within each ensemble number.”
Brisentine, who is the chorus and piano teacher at Chesapeake, said students have worked well together to grasp this musical comedy and all it entails.
“It's a comedy. They're fun rehearsals. They are pretty upbeat,” he said. “The ensemble numbers are very difficult, but I think that we are doing them pretty well.”
More than one-third of the ensemble participated in last year’s musical, but Brisentine believes this newer and younger group has responded well.
“We’re actually a relatively new ensemble, which is cool but presents its own challenges,” he said. “They are doing well.”
Assisting Brisentine with the directing of the show are Rose Mullikin and Kristen Bishoff.
Opening night is Thursday, November 29. All three shows will begin at 7:00pm, and doors will open at 6:30pm. Tickets for the show are $8 for students and $12 for adults.