Dynamics theater in Tallmadge stages regional premiere of 'Addams Family' musical

by April Helms Special Products Editor Published:

Fans of the quintessential kooky, spooky Addams Family can see Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsly, Uncle Fester and more in Dynamics Community Theatre's production "The Addams Family: A New Musical."

The play can be seen Aug. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m.

Vicki Grimes, executive producer for the show, said that the musical came off of Broadway this past June, and that Dynamics is one of the first theaters in Ohio to stage it.

The book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, based on characters created by Charles Addams, is transformed into a full-length musical with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Dynamics' production is directed by Matt Beresh, with musical direction by Carolyn Bagley.

Beresh said he was "very excited to direct" the musical. Previously at Dynamics, he directed the musical "Honk!"

"This has been challenging in an exciting way, said Beresh, a Tallmadge resident. "How they've pulled this together is awesome. For example, the gates to the Addams family crypt were recycled from the theater's production of Willy Wonka. The tree's base is a large spool that you use to wrap cable around, and the crew added to it from there. I like the family tree in the middle of the stage; this show is all about family."

In the play, Wednesday Addams, the daughter of the eccentric family, falls in love with Luke, who comes from a more "normal" family. She wants to invite Luke and his parents to dinner, but pleads with her family to be normal for one night.

Family is not just limited to the storyline of the play; the cast of more than 40 includes the involvement of families acting on stage together. Kurt Fitzgerald of Cuyahoga Falls, who plays the Addams patriarch Gomez, appears alongside his son Karson, who plays Gomez's son Pugsley, his wife Kirsten and daughter Kassidy, who play Addams family ancestors. Kirsten's mother, Barbara Thomas, also appears onstage as an ancestor.

"We try to do at least one family show a year," said Kurt during a rehearsal before the show opening. He added that "The Addams Family" was his family's 25th show together. "Sometimes we do three in one year."

Kurt said a challenge with his role was speaking and singing with a Spanish accent.

"I've been watching a lot of Univision," he said, and he laughed.

Brian Bishop of Stow, who plays Fester, also appears with family: his sons Brandon, 15, and Nick, 13, who both play ancestors. Bishop said in the last show he was involved with at Dynamics, "Honk!" he played percussion in the orchestra. Onstage, he occasionally plays the Banjolele.

"Most of the time when I'm in a play or musical, I like the funny parts," Bishop said of his favorite moment in "The Addams Family." "But this whole play is just full of funny moments. One of my favorite scenes is with Morticia, Gomez and Wednesday, when they sing 'Happy Sad.' It's a poignant moment any parent can relate to."

The cast includes a wide range of ages, from children seniors. One of the older members, JoAnn Wood, 84, of Tallmadge, is a founding member of Dynamics.

"I am going to be knitting the whole time, and I'll be dressed as Betsy Ross," Wood said, taking a break from the knitting she was working on during rehearsal. "I'm also in charge of working with the ushers."

Chase Coulter of Akron, who came on board as both the Conquistador and as one of the choreographers, said he was happy to work on the show and help teach the cast dance. Coulter, a professional dancer for 20 years, said the scenes he choreographed include the opening number and the tango between Morticia and Gomez.

"There's a bit of a surprise in the tango," Coulter said, without elaborating further.

Coulter said he has enjoyed his time working with the cast.

"What interested me is the show itself," he said. "It's a great script, with great songs and a great story."

Ticket and show information

The show is staged at the Tallmadge High School auditorium, 140 N. Munroe Road, Aug. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors and are available online at www.dynamicstheater.org and also at the door the nights of the shows.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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