I always found the “The Addams Family” TV show fascinating and peculiarly funny.
As kids, we tended to think of our own families as normal and viewed other families as either like us or bizarre. It occurred to me that the Addams family probably thought their home was perfectly normal and we were the weirdos.
Thinking of “The Addams Family” musical, which opens this weekend at the Performing Arts Center in downtown Leavenworth, I imagine entering the theater and hearing that cheerful melody as it lingers in my sub-consciousness as I slowly walk to my seat. Trying to act nonchalant, I glance over each shoulder. OK good, there are no monsters back there but what about that creepy hand called “Thing?” What if it’s under my seat? There are so many macabre things to consider when dealing with “The Addams Family.”
Happily, I was afforded a sneak preview of “The Addams Family” which is the latest production by the River City Community Players. The production actually begins outside of the theater where an 1890s horse-drawn hearse is parked. Talk about setting the stage.
Under the direction of Nino Casisi, this musical is neither gruesome or nightmarish. Thankfully, nothing jumps out and scares the audience. Rather, it’s a very fun and enjoyable PG-13 language musical suitable for older children. Teens and adults will especially enjoy the subtleties of some humorous events.
“The Addams Family” is famous for finding themselves in awkward situations and this musical is no exception with the actors obviously having a blast presenting another tumultuous family situation.
The light-hearted production has many comical lines delivered by well-rehearsed actors. The musical has a huge cast and is loaded with talent. Some members are local residents while others come from Farley, Missouri, Olathe, Kansas, and Kansas City. One actor who plays a Union soldier is an actual historian from Massachusetts.
The lighting and sound are excellent. The sound system makes it possible to hear individual cast members deliver their lines which is very difficult to do with large productions. The singing and choreography are outstanding. Timing is essential in theater and this cast has it down to atomic clock perfection.
The costumes are absolutely fabulous. Costumer Nancy Mazzia paid attention to every conceivable detail. The set is spot on. It is believable and creative. Enhancing the set are really cool artwork sketches provided by local artist Joan Lampkin.
“The Addams Family” musical is truly the fruit of a community effort. Sponsors such as Belden Larkin Funeral Home, Tune Shop, Friends of the Hollywood Theater and local merchants donated their time, talent and treasure to help fund this first-class production. Please thank them.
Show dates are Friday through Sunday and Oct. 28-29. A special Halloween show will be Oct. 31 and Nov. 4-6.
The special Halloween show will have some goodies for all of your ghouls and goblins. It is an ideal show for the kids.
This is a great, fun-filled production and I hope you will join me this Friday for opening night.
Stephen G. Noble is local musician who writes for multiple national publications. Like him on Facebook at Penny Black Band, Leavenworth.