Ahead of the Upper School production of The Addams Family, Dragon Digest sat down with Director of Theatre Kellie Comer to talk about the musical.
DD: Why did you choose Addams Family this year?
KC: Over the summer I had the opportunity to come in and meet with a couple of the theater students before we came in for the year and I'd already picked the show for the fall. I knew we were gonna do Lightning Thief. But, every kid I met separately, was like, ‘Hey, you know what would be a really good show. The Adams Family, we all really love that here.’ They were right this show is a really great fit for high school.
Knowing what a vocal range some of the characters have, I was a bit concerned this summer. Once I met the students, I knew we would be great.
Normally we do a non-musical play in thee spring but this year we are going big or going home and doing two musicals.
DD: What’s it been like directing "The Addams Family" compared to "The Lightning Thief"?
KC: This fall, together with the athletics department, we began encouraging student- athletes to also participate in the musical. While this allowance to play a team sport and be in the musical was beneficial this fall but the real pay-off of this decision has come this spring. We have seen a great group come out for this production. It’s really great to have those new students and watch them learn the process of what it takes to put on a show. Some of them definitely thought it was gonna be easier than it was!
DD: What are your favorite numbers from "The Addams Family"?
KC: I do love the opening number, which is "When You're an Addams." It’s where we meet the family, the song most people are familiar with because of the cartoons, the movies, and the TV shows. But we also meet our ensemble of ancestors as they come out. All of the ancestors have their own unique personalities and backstory and costume. It's a show where all of the ensemble members really kind of stand out in that way and they all get a moment of introduction to who they are. Some of them give us little clues into how they died and became the ghost that they are, so it's really fun to have everyone on stage right in the beginning.
DD: Have you seen the students take ownership over this?
KC: They're definitely trying to make it their own which is really great and what you always want to see as a theater director. When I block with the kids, I tell them that I'm giving them kind of like a roadmap of where they need to go, but then they have to fill in all the details and all the places they wanna stop. I want them to find what feels right. You want them to have fun performing and think about their character and not entirely focus on memorizing where to go. We have one ensemble member who has made her costume from scratch because she had a fun idea in the beginning. She said, ‘If I bring you ideas and sketches, can we work to create this?’ And I said, yes, absolutely, so seeing that idea come to fruition has been really special.
DD: Tell us about the tech and stage crew.
KC: I love my stage crew. So many of them are graduating. I am going to miss them so dearly and have been really impressed with the work they have done this year.
In the show, there are a ton of scene transitions and all of them have multiple objects. It has been fun to watch them try to figure out the plan of where everything goes, and how to get it on and off in the most efficient way possible. I also have a student who is assisting in designing the lights for the show, and a lot of others have helped with the painting of the set.
We have this really funky prop that's the moon and one GFA student-artist has done a tremendous job with that. The student ownership has been fun to watch.
Tickets for the Addams Family production will be available at the door. Performances will be held April 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m. Presale tickets are available here.