PINEDALE – The iconic Addams Family first appeared in single-panel cartoons back in the 1930s. Today Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday and Pugsley Addams are household names and have appeared in numerous television, film and theater adaptations.
The Addams are the Halloween version of the Brady Bunch – funny and likeable, but also a bit peculiar and attracted to all things mysterious and spooky. Uncle Fester, Grandmama Addams, a butler named Lurch, and of course, the Thing, add to the creepy atmosphere.
Students at Pinedale High School bring the wacky family back to life in “The Addams Family: A New Musical,” created by “Jersey Boys” co-writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music by Andrew Lippa.
The show, directed by Greg Allen and Justin Smith, features plenty of laughs that the whole family can enjoy, explained senior Erik Rivera, who plays Gomez Addams.
Wednesday Addams has grown up and is engaged to an outsider from a “normal” family, said senior Zoe Griffin, who portrays the character.
“The Addams Family are a very centered family...” said Rivera.
“...And they’re very weird,” added Griffin.
“This whole situation arises when Wednesday meets a boy named Lucas and they fall in love,” Rivera explained. “The entire show revolves around Wednesday and Lucas trying to get together and the struggles that come from having a family that’s very tightknit.”
The Addams Family and Lucas’s family are from different worlds and clash as they navigate the impending wedding between Wednesday and Lucas.
“The show is about the ups and downs in Wednesday’s relationship with her new fiancé,” said Griffin. “It’s definitely an interesting show and it’s very quirky.”
The musical adds twists to familiar characters in the Addams Family franchise.
“You get to see the Addams family in an environment that you’ve never seen them in before,” said Rivera.
“You are going to see the characters grow and change throughout the show,” said Griffin. “They’re still their same old selves, but the show has a lot of character development.”
Griffin and Rivera are relatively new to the theater yet they both landed lead roles.
Griffin appeared as minor characters in PHS’s production of the drama “Radium Girls” last year.
“‘Radium Girls’ was so much fun,” she said. “It’s been even more fun being in a lead role this year.”
Rivera decided to try out for the musical on a whim, the chance to try something new, and found himself cast as one of the primary characters.
The seniors agreed that their musical backgrounds performing in PHS bands came in handy when learning songs. The choreography and memorizing lines posed a challenge, one Griffin and Rivera both took on.
In addition to thanking Allen and Smith, Rivera and Griffin gave a shoutout to choreographer Anastasia Hamilton for the patience she showed to the newcomers to dance.
Rivera emphasized that the Addams Family is one of the first stage productions in Pinedale since the pandemic began, and he looks forward to performing in front of a live audience.
“We’re lucky to put on a show after this crazy year when nothing has been opened,” he said.
“We’ve got a really talented, really hardworking cast this year and we’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Griffin said. “I think it’s going to be an awesome show. It’s full of comedy and good times, so come out and see it.”
PHS presents “The Addams Family: A New Musical” on Wednesday, March 31, Thursday, April 1, and Friday, April 2. Show times are 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Friday at the Sheppard Auditorium. Tickets cost $5 per seat and are available from cast members, the high school office, NAPA Auto Parts and Office Outlet.