The kooky clan's misadventures come just in time for Halloween as troupe prepares for production

With Halloween on tap next week, the timing for Newberg High School's production of "The Addams Family" is spot on. SETH GORDON - Senior Cameron Shultz rehearses her part as Grandma Addams in Newberg High School's production of 'The Addams Family' Musical. The show opens with a 7 p.m. performance Thursday, as well as 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances Saturday.

But for a number of different reasons, the 2009 musical is also a perfect fit for the high school troupe right now.

Perhaps foremost among them is that the show's theme and energy and have served to unify a group that features both experienced upperclassmen and a lot of newcomers.

"There is a fairly large group of us seniors, so we're kind of bringing people in and showing them how it works," senior actress Molly Cox said. "It's really nice to be the Addams Family because it brings us all together as a family. That's a really nice feeling."

The range of roles is also wide enough to accommodate the large number of seasoned actors, while also engaging the newer thespians with energetic song and dance routines.

"It's a very comedic show and I think a lot of our actors here really excel with comedy," student director Jessica Samples said. "All of our actors are so versatile and there are so many different characters in there that we could really use their strengths to our advantage."

The cast is also well suited for the show vocally, as it's not particularly deep with tenors this year.

"We have more baritones and basses, so that's why this show was a good pick," said Cox, who plays matriarch Morticia. "And it's something completely different. We're changing things up this year. It's really exciting to do something new and kind of whacky.'

Samples, a senior, said the production has borrowed small details from various professional productions of the show, as well as from the movies, but mostly takes a traditional approach to the look of the characters in terms of costumes and makeup.

Cox and Braedon Sunnes, who portrays husband and father Gomez, said it has been a difficult process for them to put their own personal touches on characters that are already well known to the public.

Hannah Sapitan (Wednesday), Matt Goodbody (Pugsley), Blake Balmaseda (Fester), Sam Sinicki (Lerch) and Cameron Shults (Grandma Addams) have also faced that challenge.

Sunnes said he has tried to find a balance between his own style and the established aspects of Gomez, like his Spanish accent, while Cox has enjoyed playing a character with whom she has virtually nothing in common.

"I'm just Morticia when I'm on stage," Cox said. "It's a really cool feeling to be able to really step into this and have a stark separation from real life."

Rounding out the cast are while William Lamping, Tess Hartley and Ethan Olson, who provide a stark contrast via their normalcy as members of the Beineke family.

Lamping plays Lucas, the boy with whom an 18-year-old Wednesday has fallen in love and agreed to marry. Wednesday has subsequently invited Lucas and his parents, Alice and Mal, to dinner at the Addams home despite the fact that neither have told their parents about the engagement.

Cox said the show, which opens with a 7 p.m. performance Thursday at the Drea Ferguson Auditorium, also explores many of the emotions the senior class is feeling heading into their final year of high school.

The troupe will also perform 1 and 7 p.m. shows Saturday, with a final run of performances set for 7 p.m. Nov. 2-4. Tickets — $6 for students and $10 for adults — can be purchased at the door, or reserved in advance by calling 503-554-5305.

"It feels so right, especially because it's our senior year and the closing song," Cox said. "I get emotional every time we sing the closing song because it's talking about finding love, being at your weakest and rising above it. That's our journey through high school and it's hard to say goodbye."

Sunnes agreed, noting that the musical correctly kicks off the year with a celebratory tone.

"It's really come down to this pivotal moment, it feels like," Sunnes said. "That's super dramatic, but this play brings that out in people. You just want to scream and shout and dance."

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