Themes of love, death combine to produce unforgettable show

Morticia and Gomez Addams, played by seniors Camille Edwards and Jackson Mattox, settle their marital issues through dance.

Emma Smith , Staff Writer

From the moment the lights dimmed and the curtains opened, the audience was instantly immersed in director and Drama teacher David Spearman’s production of “The Addams Family.” A line stretched from the auditorium doors and past the cafeteria as the crowd made its way to the nearly sold-out show each night. Laughter and applause emanated from the play-goers as the main characters exchanged morbid, satirical dialogue pertaining to the life of the Addams family as well as the lives of everyday Americans.

 “I was extremely pleased with the production,” Spearman said. “All the aspects came together to create an unforgettable show.”

 The story, written by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, takes place in the isolated Addams mansion in New York. The Addamses, much like their counterparts in the 1960s television show, are dark, mysterious, and anything but normal. Wednesday Addams, played by junior Alexa Echevarria, invites her normal boyfriend Lucas Beineke, played by senior Matthew Reindl, over for dinner with the promise that her family is just like any other. As the night unfolds, Lucas and his parents, played by senior Mark Bost and junior Hollyn Shadinger, quickly discover that this is not the case, and it leads to a night of excitement, uncertainty, and rekindled love.

 Senior Jackson Mattox captured the audience’s attention with his portrayal of Gomez Addams. His role required him to deliver his lines and musical numbers with a Spanish accent. He exchanged witty, comical dialogue with his wife Morticia, played by senior Camille Edwards, throughout the show. Unlike her roles in “Urinetown” and “Shrek”, Edwards showed a darker side in her outstanding portrayal of Morticia, who found comfort in the fact that she would be dead before she knew it.

 Junior Davis Murphy proved to be a crowd favorite with his hilarious performance as the light-hearted narrator Uncle Fester. In a show centered around death, Murphy provided a different, more humorous perspective on love and had the audience riveted with his performance during the musical number “The Moon and Me,” which featured an appearance by the school’s dance team, the Pantherettes. This number was also the one Spearman was most nervous about. “The illusion of Fester floating was done with lighting and the lights had to be in perfect position,” he said. “If anyone accidentally bumped the lights the illusion would be ruined. It went every night without a hitch.”

Shadinger made her stage debut. She wowed the audience with her strong voice and acting ability, particularly during the Act I finale number, “Full Disclosure,” when she stood on top of a table while belting words of disappointment toward her husband due to his lack of passion. “This was my first show, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had,” Shadinger said.

 The show’s music, directed by Panther alumnus Zach Stutts, ranged from slow ballads to upbeat dance numbers. Most of them focused on the idea of death, primarily the Act II opener “Just Around the Corner,” sung by Edwards with another appearance by the Pantherettes dressed as grim reapers. Love was the main theme for other songs such as “Crazier Than You” and “Live Before We Die.” Each song consisted of complex choreography directed by German teacher Antonela Kljajic, and most of them featured the ensemble. “The dancing in this show was very difficult. The actors worked very hard and they performed with polish and finesse,” Spearman said.

 The set, built to resemble an old gothic mansion and graveyard, was designed by Spearman, Steve Rambeck, Teresa Venturo and Darril Bill, and was constructed by nine SMHS students. The costumes were designed by Karen Bost, Tracy Rowell, Shellie Edwards, Stephen Hollenbeck, Sofia Quinones-Vilela, and Abby Raftary.

 Although each night proved to be a success, cast members agreed that the best night performance-wise was Saturday, Nov. 1. “The audience was so receptive and responsive,” Reindl said. “Plus the Shuler Hensley judges were there that night, so that motivated us.”

 “The Addams Family” proved to be an excellent final musical for Spearman, who will retire in May. His final production, which will take place in the spring, will be announced soon.