Barlow stages 'Addams Family' musical
The Barlow High School Theater troupe is counting on audiences being ready to "pay a call on" The Addams Family.
"We're super excited to share this with everyone," says director and theater teacher Jeff Schroeder of the live, online production. "It's very entertaining."
The production is a version of the Broadway musical, "The Addams Family," which has been specially altered for high schools and to be performed during the pandemic.
It will be the first production in Barlow's newly-remodeled theater and their first live production this year, although it will be live-streamed to audiences.
The characters are the familiar ghoulish oddballs from the iconic 1964 television show based on Charles Addams' 'New Yorker' magazine cartoons. Parents and lovebirds, Morticia and Gomez Addams, are joined by their children Wednesday and Pugsley. Uncle Fester, Lurch and other regulars round out the cast.
In this musical version, teenage daughter Wednesday has fallen in love with a "normal" boy, Lucas Beineke, much to the horror of her family. The boy and his family come to dinner at the Addams' home and plot complications, singing, hilarity and tenderness ensue.
In the Barlow production, Gomez Addams is played by Andrew Schroeder; Morticia by Peyton Hull; Wednesday by Audrey Thies; Uncle Fester by Dustin Bell; Pugsley by Anthony Felipe; Grandma by Abigail Bethke; and Lucas Beineke by Toby Neighorn.
Schroeder said the play has been altered for pandemic safety for the performers and rewritten to include some pandemic references and humor.
"They took out the huge dance numbers and some of the songs," Schroeder said.
The 19 Barlow actors sit in or stand on chairs onstage to keep everyone distanced.
The characters are fully-costumed and will be wearing specialized pandemic-safety masks so their faces can be seen and voices heard, Schroeder said.
The staging uses projections.
"We're being super creative with the staging," Schroeder said, explaining that the protocols for pandemic safety have been a challenge for the staging, but also got everyone's creative juices flowing.
"It has actually been really cool. We've had to think outside the box on staging," he said.
Barlow has been wanting to dive in to these creepy and kooky characters for some time.
"We had wanted to do the 'Addams Family' musical before COVID hit," Schroeder said.
The 85-minute "dramatic concert version" is designed to be played to a socially-separated audience by a cast of socially-separated actors. Schroeder was hoping that a limited audience would be permitted, but pandemic guidelines meant that it would be performed live online.
Because of state health guidelines, students could only rehearse for two hours per day, which Schroeder said has been another challenge.
"It forced us to get a lot done in two hours," he said.
Says Schroeder, "It's such a joy to be able to work with students again. They are enjoying being back together again, doing what they love to do."
Because of the limits on the number of performers and crew allowed in the theater for the production, musical accompaniment will be provided by a professional orchestra recording.
The show's book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The original 2011 New York show featured Broadway superstars Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia.
Says Schroeder: "It's a great show. It's hilarious, but it has a bit of a heart."
If you go
What: "The Addams Family," presented by Barlow High School Theater
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 6, 7, and 8; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 9
Where: Live-streamed online
Tickets: $20 for a family pass
Visit bit.ly/32DWLF9 for link to performances
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