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The Addams Family, Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, Virginia, March 10, 2018

Carly Megan Shaffer

Herndon High School


They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky…and Bishop Ireton High School brought their wonderfully weird characters to life in their production of The Addams Family. 


Featuring Charles Addams's iconic cartoon characters, and inspired by their antics on the 1964 television show, The Addams Family musical made its debut in Chicago in 2009.  It tells the story of the Addams and their bizarre traditions, including their steadfast devotion to telling the truth.  All is turned upside down, however, when the daughter, Wednesday Addams, falls in love with a typical boy named Lucas Beineke.  Wednesday invites Lucas to dinner and begs her relatives for just "one normal night."  What follows is an epic showdown in which secrets are revealed and the Addams realize that they might be a normal family after all.  The show opened on Broadway in 2010, starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.  Since then, it has provided audiences all over the world with hair-raising entertainment. 


The talented cast featured several dynamic duos.  Leading the pack were the peculiar parents, Morticia (Olivia Hays) and Gomez (Jake Carlo).  Hays was marvelous in the role of the menacing matriarch.  Her comic timing was impeccable, as were her vocals, especially on her solo, "Just Around the Corner."  She was the perfect partner for Carlo, whose depiction of the ghoulish Gomez earned laugh after laugh from the audience. 


Morticia and Gomez's daughter, Wednesday, was played by Dagny Scannell.  Scannell made a seamless transition from an indifferent teenager into a passionate young woman.  She was also a powerhouse vocalist, and she brought the house down with her song "Pulled."  Scannell was complemented by Andrew Holland (Lucas).  Lucas might be ordinary, but Holland's performance was anything but.  His love for Wednesday was evident, and one couldn't help but cheer for their underdog romance. 


Lucas's parents, Alice and Mal, had their own quirks, and they played them up brilliantly.  Abigail Abraham was magically melodramatic as Alice.  Her sporadic recitations of poetry were impassioned and hilarious.  She also had a beautiful voice, highlighted on "Crazier Than You," in which she performed a duet with her charming husband Mal (Kevin McNerney).


The ensemble of the show was a highlight.  Extended family members stood out, especially rambunctious Pugsley (Libby York) and lovelorn Uncle Fester (Nick Ward).  Also noteworthy were the Ancestors, clad in white to resemble ghosts.  The Ancestors were dedicated to their chorus roles.  Their dancing was clean and sharp, especially on "The Moon and Me," where they performed choreography with umbrellas. 


The show's technical aspects were impressive.  Crew members wore zombie makeup to blend in with their surroundings.  The dark set was dimly lit by a chandelier, enhancing the eerie mood.  Perhaps most spectacular were the costumes, which were customized for each character and distinguished the sunny yellow Beinekes from the goth-like Addams.   


All in all, the cast of Bishop Ireton's The Addams Family embraced weirdness and reminded the audience that "it's family first, and family last, and family by and by."

Molly Klemm

Tuscarora High School


Who could be as creepy and kooky - or mysterious and spooky - as the Addams family? This oddball family is as weird as they come, but, as The Addams Family, reveals, they are just as ordinarily-crazy as everyone else. Bishop Ireton High School performed this heartwarming show with great enthusiasm and passed on the message of love and acceptance to a rapturous audience.


The Addams Family, originally a single-panel cartoon debuting in The New Yorker in 1938, follows the adventures of an unusual family: Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, Uncle Fester, and Lurch the butler. Wednesday, the oldest child, has fallen in love with a boy from a respectable family and struggles to tell her parents their plans of elopement. On one normal night, when the two households meet, conflict arises and chaos ensues. Wednesday and her devoted Lucas must find a way to reconcile the families, and their own differences.


The leading cast gave stellar performances, particularly Olivia Hays as Morticia Addams. Her posture, voice, and movements were so distinctly Morticia, that many audience members found it hard to believe she was a high school student. Dagny Scannell, playing Wednesday Addams, was another strong presence on the stage. Her fantastic vocals made her many solo songs remarkable, especially the show-stopping "Pulled". The duet, "Crazier Than You", between Wednesday and Lucas (Andrew Holland), was beautifully done, in large part thanks to the principal vocalists' notable voices.


Libby York, as Pugsley, stood out among the supporting cast members for her convincing and endearing performance as the youngest Addams child. The mischievous brother was an audience favorite and got many laughs. Nick Ward's portrayal of Uncle Fester was remarkably comedic and the perfect offset to the dramatic tensions of the other characters. Riley McHale (Lurch) and Lyndsey Lawrence (Grandma) shone in their respective roles, despite minimal stage time. Their dedication to their characters was apparent in every scene.


The ensemble, portraying various Addams ancestors, brought energy and interest to many scenes. With powerful vocals, clear harmonies, and clean choreography, the ancestors consistently grabbed the audience's attention. Most noteworthy were Gabby Baniqued (Saloon Girl) and Ronie Altejar (Conquistador). These two performers were actively engaged in every moment and created memorable characters, despite having no lines.


The technical aspects of the show were equally impressive. A huge permanent set, complete with spinning turntables to add variety to the scenes, drew the audience directly into the Addams' mansion. Stage crew carried out set changes with ease and efficiency, never drawing the audience away from the reality of the scene. The student makeup designers created multiple designs for each character, including the ensemble members, with black lighting makeup to glow in the creepier moments. Five wigs were used in the show, all with startling realism. A remarkable 62 costume pieces were made or significantly altered by the costume team. Morticia's classic dress, built from scratch, could be unzipped and re-buttoned for dancing. Each ancestor had a distinct character shown through their costume, which created interest and variety in the all-white costumes. A large audience, thanks to the marketing team, saw these fantastic technical elements. The advertisements and teaser trailers designed by the marketing team were fun and intriguing, perfectly capturing the energy of the show.


The Addams Family at Bishop Ireton High School was everything the Addams Family should be: goofy, spooky, quirky, and kooky while also heartwarming and emotional. With a talented cast and remarkable technicians, the show took "One Normal Night" and made it a night to remember.


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