FRRUtah Extra: Thoughts On Utah Community Theater After Seeing The Addams Family

Yesterday I saw The Addams Family at the Capitol Theatre with my brother. I didn’t go to review it, but rather to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did! It was a well-crafted production with a very talented cast, immaculate sets, and nearly seamless technical execution. I laughed the whole way through and hummed the songs on my way home.

It was interesting to watch this professional production after having seen several community productions over the past few months, and being in one this summer. I couldn’t help drawing comparisons throughout, and I was happy to see that the community theater I’ve enjoyed does not suffer from the comparison. The areas where Addams Family clearly excelled beyond community theater levels are in the technical production and set design, but even this professional production had at least one glitch in the sound system (Pugsley’s mic was not on for his first lines), and I’ve seen some pretty impressive sets used in local community theater (Spanish Fork’s My Fair Lady comes to mind). So yes, in these areas professional theater is a notch above community theater, but the community theater I’ve seen is not horribly far behind–it seems limited resources foster creative solutions.

The one area where, in my opinion, our local community theaters are on par with this professional production is in the talent department. I was really impressed with the cast yesterday. Douglas Sills’ comedic timing as Gomez was perfect, Sara Gettelfinger’s body language as Morticia conveyed as much story as her dialogue, and Cortney Wolfson’s acting talent shined in her ability to convey Wednesday’s inner conflict between her family values and the love she has for her new boyfriend. But quite honestly, I have been no less impressed to hear Shannon Eden singing Eliza Doolittle’s songs, to see Steve Dunford transform from Jekyll to Hyde in Payson Theater’s Nightmare on Broadway, to laugh out loud at Miranda Duke’s and Emily McKinney’s portrayals of Calliope and Melpomene in Xanadu.

In short, The Addams Family at Capitol Theatre was wonderful. If you get a chance to see the play, particularly if you catch this same company performing it somewhere else (sadly yesterday was their last day in Utah), I highly recommend it. But at the same time, don’t forget that we have some pretty amazing productions happening here in Utah all the time, being put on by the very talented people in our community theaters.

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