William Allen Middle School (WAMS) presented its spring musical, The Addams Family Young@Part, to friends and family earlier this month.
“We have a lot of really talented actors that go beyond just the words on the page, (who) come alive when it’s their turn to say something or their turn to sing something,” said vocal director Hope Knight.
“They really have taken a lot of time to practice their character development and be the character through and through the entire show.”
According to theatricalrights.com, The Addams Family Young@Part is tailor-made for young actors. Songs and scenes are edited for time and content but the spirit of the original Broadway show remains intact. The show can feature any size ensemble and/or chorus throughout.
“As soon as they’re on stage, we see them being somebody else,” Knight said of the cast. “So I’m really proud of them for that.”
The musical tells the story of Wednesday Addams falling in love with Lucas Beineke, a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family whom her parents have never met. Addams confides in her father, Gomez, and begs him not to tell her mother. Everything changes for the whole family on the fateful night when they host a dinner for Addams’ “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
Lucas Oeltjen played the character of grandma.
“She believes herself to be a witch, she loves brewing potions, and she really likes to spend time with her grandson, Pugsley,” Oeltjen explained of his part. “Even though she’s old, decrepit if you will, … my character really likes to bring out her soul when dancing, because it can remind someone of their youthfulness years back.”
Finn Vajapey, cast as Pugsley, described his character as a devilish child who tries to make Wednesday’s boyfriend fall in love with her.
“I love spending time with grandma,” Vajapey said. “I speak to her about all my truths and worries.”
Knight and Oeltjen wanted their audience to see how both the Addams and Beineke families are the same, given how different their backgrounds are.
“It’s juxtaposing a family that is perceived as odd next to a family that’s perceived as normal,” Knight noted. “The more and more you get to know the families, the more you see that they are extremely similar.”
“Even though they’re different types of visual families, each family has its insecurities, their different flaws,” Oeltjen pointed out. “They (the Beinekes) struggle with not looking like the perfect suburban family, but the Addams, they struggle with being too kooky, too odd, too weird. They don’t allow themselves to show affection.”
Oeltjen believes that the foundation of theater is to not only show love, but also for the audience to truly enjoy the plot of the show and the characters.
“It does well for the actors,” Oeltjen observed. “Their point is to express themselves, to show their skills, their talents … To show what they can do.”
Vajapey and Oeltjen expressed the message they wanted the audience to get from the show.
“It doesn’t really matter if one person has nothing in common to the other, it’s the way they perceive their interests, their traits, their personality and how they enjoy it,” Oeltjen said. “ … That’s what this show shows, because the Addams family is the direct opposite of the Beinekes, and yet in the end, they grow closer.”
“The Addams family is the most diverse family because their ancestors come from all different places,” Vajapey said. “ … It gives people something to relate to, so if someone’s feeling like they stand out in a bad way or a good way, they can relate to that person and think they’re not the only one.”