Andrew Lovrine (from left) as Lurch, Gabe King as Gomez, Grace Boyle as Morticia and Andrew Kawalec as Fester rehearse a scene from Burlington High School’s production of “The Addams Family,” a musical that debuts Friday. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Burlington High School show features cast of nearly 100

In the kooky, upside-down world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy, and death and suffering are the stuff of their dreams.

Nonetheless, this quirky family still has to deal with many of the same challenges faced by any other family, and the spookiest nightmare faced by every family: the Addams kids are growing up.

That, according to Co-Directors Troy Everson and Beth Reetz, is the setting for Burlington High School’s spring musical “The Addams Family.” The play is fresh twist on the characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams and made popular in the 1960s television comedy.

Uncle Fester (played by Andrew Kawalec) tries to knock some sense into Wednesday (played by Hannah Beyer) in a scene from “The Addams Family.” (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

The musical had a nearly two-year run on Broadway in 2010-11 and the rights to the production became widely available last year.

The BHS production is scheduled to open Friday at 7 p.m. in the Burlington High School Auditorium. Additional shows are scheduled for Saturday (7 p.m.), Sunday (2 p.m.), March 15, 16 and 17 (7 p.m.) and March 18 (2 p.m.)

Tickets are $5 each may be purchased at www.bhsaddamsfamily.brownpapertickets.com. There will be a limited number of tickets available in the school office for the elderly and those without access to the internet.

The shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week are already sold out online, according to Reetz. A waiting list has been started for each performance as some tickets are returned or exchanged. Empty seats are filled five minutes prior to each show.

Those who would like to be placed on the waiting list for a particular performance should contact Reetz at reetz@wi.rr.com or call 262-210-0744.

A clash of cultures

According to the directors, the Addamses have lived by their unique values for hundreds of years and Gomez and Morticia, the patriarch and matriarch of the clan, would be only too happy to continue living that way.

Their macabre, beloved daughter Wednesday, however, is now an 18 year-old woman who is ready for a life of her own. She has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a sweet, smart boy from a normal, respectable Ohio family. And to complicate matters, Wednesday has invited the Beinekes to their home for dinner.

In one fateful, hilarious night, according to the directors, secrets are disclosed, relationships are tested, and the Addams family must face up to the one horrible thing they’ve managed to avoid for generations: change.

The show, which features a cast of nearly 100 students, follows the school’s popular 2017 run of “Mary Poppins.”

“We wanted to find a show that would appeal to kids and families, but that would also have a little more of an edge to it,” Everson said. “‘The Addams Family’ really fits that bill. There’s a lot of adult humor in the show, but it also has a playful side that will appeal to our younger audience.”

Everson said the directors knew they had a pool of students who are well suited to comedy.

“We wanted to find a show that had humor at its core to give them all a chance to shine,” he said. “We really think that this group of kids is going to do just that.”

Logistical challenges

Everson and Reetz have again maintained a no-cut policy, which maximizes the opportunities for students to participate, but also creates logistical challenges for the production.

One of the ways the directors handle that is by double-casting many of the main roles. The actors are organized into orange and black casts, which alternate performances.

The large cast also creates financial challenges for the production.

“That’s why we are incredibly grateful for the local businesses and individuals who have stepped in to financially support our show,” Reetz said.

Among the sponsors for the show are Burlington Community Fund, Lavelle Industries/Rhonda and Paul Sullivan, The Coffee Shop at Chestnut and Pine, Family Vision, Lynch/LDV, Fidelity Title, Bear Foot Yoga, Ron Kahl, Lois Tire, and John and Dorothy Hakala.

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