By Perry S. Whitehair
The Sandy Arts Guild’s production of The Addams Family – A new musical Comedy at the Mount Jordan Middle School in Sandy is a spooky, fun-filled blast. My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed this Halloween-themed production.
The Addams Family, for those who don’t know, is the story of a quirky, spooky, offbeat family and how they interact with “normal society.” This musical looks at the potential relationship of young adult daughter Wednesday Addams who tries to orchestrate a “normal night” with her boyfriend’s family coming to meet her strange parents, brother, uncle, and grandmother. Chaos ensues and the family must figure out how to adapt to children growing up, as well as address other “normal” issues. Addams ancestors pop up for several scenes and they provide a funky, spooky living background for this fun production.
The massive auditorium of Mt. Jordan Middle School is incredible for the show. Inside this auditorium, the preshow graveyard set immediately draws you in for the production and the set only continues to set the mood throughout the show as we seamlessly change between the graveyard to the Addams home and to the forest outside the house. Set Designer Dwight Western made great use of their backstage area for all their various set pieces that rolled in and out very quickly and we stayed engaged in the moment of the show for the entire show.
Costume Designer Chad McBride’s costumes for the production were superb with varying eras of costumes for the ancestors, some of which include a 1920s golfer, a caveman, a conquistador, a Puritan, and a Native American ancestor. McBride also did a wonderful job for the main family members with even just little touches like Wednesday Addams’ black cat stockings. These details really help solidify characters. I also like that fact that this production includes Cousin It (Cash Noyes). While some theatre companies feel that this character is unnecessary, I felt it completed the family and the story that revolves around the idea of “Family is still family.”
Director/Choreographer Lisa Noyes did a wonderful job bringing such iconic characters and their family dynamic to life on the stage. The beautiful father/daughter moments, or the funny husband/wife moments, not to mention the tension at dinner with the Beineke family and the chaos that the game of “Full Disclosure” brings—we realize that the Addams aren’t all that unusual—or maybe we are.
Of course, the director can only do so much to bring characters in a script to life and for that they need talented performers. However, with this cast, it wasn’t an issue. Brittney Nielson playing Morticia Addams gives great depth to the character and making a well-known character her own. Andrew Lambert playing Gomez Addams is nothing short of phenomenal. He does well with the nuances of the character and the struggle that every father has: not withholding anything from his wife and being a loving, helpful father to his daughter. Notable performances amongst the rest of the family members include the energy-filled, psychotic Grandma, (Larissa Villers), Wednesday Addams (Morgan Western), and Pugsley Addams (Molia Salanoa). Villers and Salanoa share a great moment on stage when Salanoa is concerned about his sister and the possibility that they won’t have any good times anymore, while Villers nearly steals the show with charismatic energy and provides great laughs. Western and her love interest Lucas Beineke (Wade Flanagan) play a great couple and really display great chemistry and vocal ability during their song “Crazier Than You.”
The vocals in this show are fantastic. Musical Director Mark Pearce has created a wonderful tableau of sound. The singers are solid and wonderful harmonies abound in each number.
A word of caution, this production uses fog and sudden noises (confetti cannons). Also, if you are not able to navigate the steep stairs to get into the auditorium, make sure you ask for directions to the wheelchair access as it is not easy to find. However, bring your whole crazy family to Sandy Art Guild’s crazy fun The Addams Family. We dare you!
The Sandy Arts Guild presents The Addams Family by Andrew Lippa and Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
The Theater at Mount Jordan Middle School, 300 East 9400 South, Sandy, UT
Tickets: Adults $12, Student/Senior/$10, Kids (3-12) $8
Performances: October 13-14, 16, 20-21 7:30 PM
Sandy Arts Guild Facebook Page
The Addams Family, the Musical Facebook Event Page