HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Hortonville High School students got creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky for its opening night of The Addams Family.
The musical by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman, and Rick Elice follows the macabre Addams family — Gomez & Morticia Addams and their children Wednesday & Pugsley — as they navigate their daughter, Wednesday, falling in love with a boy from a “normal” family.
Local Five caught up with some of the cast and crew before the opening performance on Thursday.
“We dedicated a lot of days after school, before school, Saturdays, and just kind of worked on getting good chemistry between the cast and just getting everything together, getting lines memorized,” said Elise Fellinger, who plays Morticia Addams.
“I love the Addams Family, I love Halloween in general and anything spooky and weird,” added Lily Davis, who plays Gomez Addams.
The show was cast before the end of the last school year, which allowed the cast and crew to hit the ground running once the new year started. Davis and Fellinger told Local Five that it was nice to have the summer to study different iterations of the Addams Family before stepping into the iconic roles of Gomez and Morticia.
“They’re already established characters, and it’s not necessarily a strict line that you have to follow, but like, this character looks like this or that,” Davis explained. “It was very fun to be able to step outside of my comfort zone, and play a traditionally male role… after a while of playing similar roles and stuff like that, you want to try something new.”
“It really gives you time to study the character, which is really nice when you’re doing such iconic characters,” said Fellinger, who also pointed out that it can be intimidating to fill such a well-known role. “It’s a little nerve-racking, trying to do the role justice, but being able to play a character exuding such confidence, it’s really nice and fun.”
Director Joe Engels told Local Five that one of the biggest challenges in the production is all the moving parts.
“One of the biggest challenges is we have some really big set pieces, and we don’t have all that much room here to store them in the wings, so we actually had to open up the garage and use the hallway to store things, bring it in and out as we go.”
But seeing it all fall into place was his favorite part of the rehearsal process.
“When everything comes together, you’ve got the pit, you’ve got the makeup, you’ve got the costumes, you can see all the hard work pay off,” said Engels.
Hortonville is also participating in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) Center Stage program this year. Theater programs are able to get their shows critiqued by a team that gives feedback to directors and students leading up to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase event in May.
Engels tells Local Five that the school has been a part of the program since its inception and that his students have loved taking advantage of everything Center Stage has to offer.
“Center Stage is wonderful. They offer so many theater opportunities for kids through the whole season and not only coming to look at the performances, but so many opportunities for the kids, it’s really, really good, really fun.”
“Last musical, they saw my performances and sent me a letter detailing what they thought, what I could work on and such, which was really great,” said Fellinger. She was sure to take that feedback into this year’s performance as well.
Fellinger and Davis agreed that Center Stage has provided opportunities they may not have seen otherwise.
“I think Center Stage is a really great way to have people who may not have — people won’t be able to see them unless they go through this, and it opens so many opportunities for high school students to possibly pursue theater,” said Davis.
Overall, the cast and crew are proud of the performance they’ve prepared.
“The kids are excited, they’ve worked hard, and they’re ready to put on a show,” Engels told Local Five.
Hortonville High School is performing The Addams Family on the following days at 155 N Warner Street in Hortonville:
- November 10-12 at 7 p.m.
- November 13 at 2 p.m.
Ticket information can be found here.