CHS to present ‘The Addams Family Musical’

| January 16, 2017

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton High School drama club has started rehearsal for their annual spring musical. This year, the musical will be the ghoulishly-funny “The Addams Family” created by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice in 2010.

“This is one of those plays that would play to the strengths that the school has,” said Michelle Kittel, publicity chairperson.

The play was suggested to Coshocton High School drama director Kris Hardesty by one of her students. After looking at the script and reviewing the music, Hardesty thought the play was a good fit for the school.

“Every production we do, we go to great lengths to make it our own,” said Hardesty. “I love how much ownership these students take with these productions. We try so hard not to do cookie cutter productions.”

Each production presents its own unique challenges, but one challenge that each production faces is the licensing fees.

“One of the challenges is having enough funds,” said Kittel. “These are really expensive shows. The licensing fee is based on the seats you have in the auditorium, not the seats you fill. We have about 900 seats in this auditorium.”

Another challenge that schools have with putting on a theater production is the short amount of time they have from casting day to performance day.

“We only have about eight or nine weeks to leverage a full-fledged musical,” said Kittel. “We rehearse after school for about two or three hours. That’s not a lot of time to rehearse a play.”

Balancing school work, sporting events, rehearsals, and other activities is also a constant challenge to both the students and directors.

“The challenges are the same challenges any public school has in Ohio right now,” said Hardesty. “We are spread thin. Students are committed across the board. That’s the same problem any program has and that’s okay because that’s the earmark of having a diverse student body.”

The play features 10 main characters and an ensemble. Gomez Addams, the family patriarch, will be performed by Alex Burton and his wife, Morticia Addams will be played by Alexis Kittel. Uncle Fester will be played by Jacob Heading. Wednesday Addams will be played by Amanda Kittel and her brother Pugsley Addams will be Tyler Huston. Mal Beineke will be played by Graham Beaumont, Alice Beineke will be Kenzie Potter, and Lucas Beineke will be portrayed by Matya Dvorak, a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic. Grandma will be played by Halley Jones and Lurch will be Thomas Stonebreaker.

“We’re very fortunate to have actors who have not shied away from doing foreign accents,” said Hardesty. “It’s fun and if you can conquer an accent, it helps you vocally and to be well-spoken because it brings awareness to other cultures.”

Although a lot goes on during rehearsal including reciting lines, learning choreography, and blocking, a process where the actors learn when to enter scenes, where to stand on stage, and how they move, the actors also take scripts home with them to memorize lines and practice speaking in front of their bedroom mirror.

Other than the actors, there are multiple people behind the scenes that make these productions possible. There are students handling hair and make-up, students backstage making sure the props go on stage at the right time, opening and closing the curtains, designing and creating the sets, sound cues, and lighting, not to mention publicizing the production as much as possible. After the play is over, a crew comes in to tear the set down as well.

“My biggest challenge is the set because I love it and I love the potential for gothic, so I don’t want to go overboard,” said Hardesty. “The challenge is the functionality of the set because there are going to be so many moving pieces.”

Career Center students are working on set pieces and Fisher Decorating has donated paint and supplies.

Although the set is gothic and the play centers on one of the spookiest families in American entertainment, the play is classified as a comedy.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find people who haven’t heard of the Addams family,” said Kittel. “It’s not a dark play. It deals with everyday situations and problems in this story are very relatable. There are odd costumes and spooky sets, but it’s very funny and the story is relatable. I think the entire thing is a real delight. It’s a play that has a strong ensemble element to the story. I think the audience is really going to enjoy the music. There’s awesome comedy built into the script. It’s funny and I think the audience is really going to laugh.”

There are 25 total in the cast and 10 in the crew. The orchestra pit consists of both adults and students and there are eight adults on the production crew. Dawn Tumblin, a local choreographer, will be doing the choreography for the play.

To be physically fit for all those dance moves, Hardesty has each of her cast members run the hallways of the school so that they are able to do those dance moves without getting out of breath.

“I think the audience will really enjoy the tango between Gomez and Morticia,” said Hardesty. “Wednesday and Pugsley in the playroom is also a great scene, and Fester and the moon.”

The person mostly responsible for making sure the audience enjoys the production is the stage manager, who happens to be Hardesty’s daughter for this production.

“They’re the pilot of the airplane,” said Hardesty. “They’re responsible for everything. They’re with the director from the auditions through the final curtain call. Their job is to take the director’s vision and make it happen.”

The drama club had a fundraiser so that they could afford to bring “The Addams Family Musical” to the Coshocton High School stage and the community has supported them throughout their endeavor.

“It wouldn’t be possible without the support of the building administrators,” said Kittel. “They have been very supportive of this. This is truly a community effort. I wish more people knew the talent they have here and what they’re doing every spring and fall.”

The play will be March 9, 10, and 11 at the high school. March 9 will be at 7 p.m. and the remaining dates will be at 8 p.m. Doors open one hour prior to show time. Ticket information to be announced at a later date.

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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