In the middle of a sunny summer, one local theater company is embracing its dark side with a musical that's a scream come true for the director.
Community Players Theatre presents “The Addams Family,” opening with a preview on Thursday, July 11.
Based on the enduringly popular characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, the musical, like the popular TV show and movies, celebrates all that is spooky, kooky and ooky about the gruesome clan. But there’s a new nightmare on the horizon: laconic princess of darkness, Wednesday Addams, has grown up and fallen in love with a nice, respectable guy. And before you can say "guess who’s coming to dinner?" there’s a campy clash of cultures set to a witty score with a heartfelt message.
First-time director Samantha Smith is a big fan of the Addams Family and was excited to bring the musical comedy to the stage. This is the right play at the right time, said Smith. And it’s all down to the characters.
“I think they’re relatable,” she said. “Cracking the code on the Addams Family is, for me, noticing that there is no such thing as normal. That’s what Charles Addams always said, and that’s what the Addams Family says in the play.”
“If you feel like an outcast or feel like you’re suffering something, the Addams Family want you to know that you’re not alone. And know that whatever your darkness is, and whatever you find that you enjoy, to not feel like you’re left out. There’s something for everyone, and the Addams Family is unique and they celebrate that.”
The musical relies on the relatable storyline of two opposite families brought together by a young couple in love. “The Addams’ are very dark and celebrate that darkness,” Smith said. “And the Beinekes are a much more straight-forward, average American family.”
Part of the enduring charm of The Addams Family is the love story between Gomez and Morticia. Together, Smith said, they offer true relationship goals.
“Words aren’t even necessary. It’s the look of love in their eyes. I love our efforts to capture that, too. The thing about Morticia and Gomez is they try not to keep secrets from each other. I think that’s very noble for a relationship, you know keeping that open line of communication going. And that’s part of the plot, too. Their relationship is faced with tests and challenges.”
Expect to hear a fast-paced and varied score in “The Addams Family,” said Smith. “There’s all sorts of different styles incorporated into it. Expect to hear tango and Spanish flamenco. There’s different elements of musical style relative to the character singing the song.”
Though the Addams’ home is strewn with blood-lusting plants, torture chambers and dangerous potions, the scariest thing the family must face is change.
“They’re going through these life stages, and sometimes those can be the scariest. Yes, they have a preference for the dark side of life. They flip normal upside down completely and that’s their comfort zone. But life stages, such as meeting their daughter’s fiancée and their family or secrets between lovers, those can be just as dark and dangerous and scary. And I think that the Addams Family try to encompass the notion that you must move toward it, you don’t run away from it. You try to face your darkness.”
“The Addams Family” opens at Community Players Theatre in Bloomington on July 11 and continues to July 28.
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