“The Addams Family” Musical Comedy Reopens the Davidson College Stage
Staging an upbeat musical comedy, The Addams Family, the music and theatre departments of Davidson College finally reopened the Duke Family Performance Hall following a two-year Covid Pandemic hiatus. A joy for the community!
Besides a surge of cheering college students, the house rapidly filled on opening night with a drove of local citizens including a caravan of seniors from The Pines, and lots of area theatre enthusiasts.
As the lights went down, the excited house joined the Overture conducted by Dr. William Lawing, rhythmically clicking their fingers to the unforgettable tune from the film and televised series of The Addams Family. The rest of the musical numbers in the two-act play, although funny at times, are not as well known.
Many versions of the eccentric cartoon family have been staged. At Davidson College, Director Ann Marie Costa selected the more recent The Addams Family A New Musical written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Ellis in 2010 with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. It garnered commercial but not critical success on Broadway.
Davidson College’s production received a standing ovation! The show, under the musical direction of Jacquelyn Culpepper, is being performed in honor of Dr. Lawing who will retire at the end of the academic year, after conducting six musical productions at the college.
Anita Tripathi’s scenic set design on the Duke’s Performance Hall’s stage is marvelous! It’s fun to see little things and creatures, including a rat, race across the boards. Props fly. Furniture and fixtures roll on and off the stage, supporting the versatile central house’s moving conversions to change the sequence of scenes.
Ketti Shum deserves a huge round of applause for her outstanding, accurate costumes designed for the actors in the latest version of the story. They are superb!
Sword slinging Gomez, played by Tim Schietroma, and conniving Morticia, portrayed by Maddy Wolfenbarger, head the wacky Addams family. The pair also represents the nature of the cast, dominated by freshmen students, supported by a few
upperclassmen, mainly departing seniors. Tim, who comes from New Jersey, is in his first year at Davidson. Maddy, by contrast, is a seasoned performer on Davidson College stages and will graduate next month.
The story develops around Wednesday, Gomez and Morticia’s eldest daughter, played by senior Zoe Bock. Wednesday has fallen in love with a normal young lad.
“Define normal,” says the cooky, cackling hunched-over Grandma, portrayed with delight by Florence Cuomo.
No one is normal in the Addams domain—certainly not roguish Uncle Fester, portrayed by David Kilde with a coif not to be envied.
Pugsley, the Addams’ youngest daughter, played by Breanna Suarez is a hoot! To the audience’s delight, the impish youngster is full of mischief—until her dubious game goes awry.
And that’s where Lucas and his respectable family come in. Lucas, portrayed by freshman Jacob Schorsch, wants to marry Wednesday, the princess of darkness, who hesitates to introduce her lover’s parents to her own eccentric family at dinner.
Much to their surprise, when Lucas and his family arrive, they are greeted by stiff-jointed Lurch, played to perfection by Spencer Hawkins. And the fun begins.
Lucas’s father, Mal, is played by Joseph Santi-Unger. Alice, Lucas’s mother who speaks in rhyming verse, is portrayed by Hollis Plexico in her theatre debut at Davidson. She brings the house to their feet cheering at the close of Act One, singing and performing Full Disclosure across the well-appointed dinner table.
Unbeknownst to the normal family, the Addamses are constantly surrounded by an ensemble of intricately attired pale white dancing Ancestors, including Zayna Abuhakema, Thomas Wheeler, Rachel Alexander-Lee, Tyler Puleo, Duncan Bacon, Jake McGraw, Eva Carter, Isabella McCormick, Josh Furman, Caroline Maurano, Gavin Greenhill, Audrey Marshall, and Ellie Lipp.
Although The Addams Family is a silly musical play, Davidson College’s version is staged for the delight of fun-seeking fellow students and reopens the doors to the Duke Performance Hall for the enjoyment of theatre patrons from all the surrounding communities.
Connie Fisher, neé Consuelo Carmona, is a Davidson resident who grew up in Mexico City where she became a journalist and acquired a taste for the theatre. Her preference for work behind the scenes, led to an interest in writing reviews—Yale Rep among her favorite troupes. Connie is the author of Doing it the Right Way, the biography of an Italian hatmaker. Her prose appears with 87 other international writers in The Widows’ Handbook. An active member of Charlotte Writers’ Club North, currently she is writing chapters of memoir and continues to review theatre in the Lake Norman area.