NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — They’re creepy and they’re kooky and they’re coming to West Essex. Masquers of West Essex is presenting its spring production of “The Addams Family” this weekend at West Essex High School (WEHS), with the first curtain call at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.
"The Addams Family," known for its obsession with the macabre, receives a modern treatment in this original musical featuring all of the familiar characters that Addams Family fans know and love. In this retelling, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and composed by Andrew Lippa, Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart, young man from a respectable family: a man her parents have never met.
Gomez Addams, whom Wednesday confides in and begs not to tell her mother, must do something he's never done before: keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. According to the musical, things heat up for the family on one fateful night, when the Addams host a dinner for Wednesday's “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
“This show is just really enjoyable for everyone, old and young,” said WEHS senior Tess Dyer, who plays Wednesday. “There is so much really great talent in our cast, it’s going to be an amazing show.”
“It’s a really good show with an awesome cast, and it’s really fun,” said junior Michael Gaccione, who plays Lucas Beineke, Wednesday’s love interest.
Senior Matt DeFazio and junior Kira Shabbab star as the heads of the family, Gomez and Morticia Addams. They’re flanked by the likes of Dyer and Gaccione, as well as junior Michael Gonzalez as Uncle Fester, junior Caroline Lanfrank as Grandma, sophomore Matt Uhlendorf as Lurch and sophomore Paige Wasserman as Pugsley. The Beinekes are played by senior Joey Klein as patriarch Mal and senior Lydia DeLuca as his wife, Alice.
The ensemble of ancestors consists of Erin Bogert, Sarah Candido, Blake Chamberlain, Kristen DeAngelis, Alexa DeVito, Maddie Feldman, Sammie Haas, Daniella Ignacio, Paige Johnston, Dina Kolesar, Samantha Luk, Marc Pelosi, Teddy Press, Elaina Ragusa, Serena Szarka, Delia Zumpano and Francesca Zumpano. Many of these ensemble members are appearing in their first Masquers production.
“It’s been challenging, but a lot of fun,” said sophomore and Masquers newcomer Sarah Candido.
Christa Rizzo directs this cast of 27 students, while Shaun Salmon is the choreographer and Donna Mateyka serves as musical director. Other staff members include crew advisor Lee Oberg, technical director Anthony Rizzo and lobby manager Stefanie DuCasse.
Several West Essex students also serve as managers for this production, including senior Tashiana Quiñones as stage manager, junior Jovanna Bartelloni as assistant stage manager, junior Tommy Pravata as lighting designer, senior Andrew Rubinich as technical manager, senior Brandon Riotto as assistant to the advisors, junior Stephanie Lombardo as props manager and senior Marissa Stille as hair-and-makeup manager.
“Being a stage manager in my senior year means that I have achieved all of the goals I wanted to achieve backstage, and that I get to have the greatest impact I can on the crew, which I plan on being a positive one,” said Quiñones.
Masquers also welcomed two new staff members for this musical: Anthony Fabrizio as pit conductor and Erica Lescota as art director. Fabrizio recently took over as band director at WEHS and said he is pleased with the program.
“We put in the work, we put in the time,” he said. “The students did a lot of work during the rehearsal process that made it a lot smoother than it could have been. We have a high quality show and I’m very impressed with West Essex.”
Rizzo, the musical’s director, said she is excited for West Essex students to see the show that everyone involved in has been working hard to come into fruition.
“The Addams Family is a lot of fun,” said Rizzo. “It’s a really funny show, it’s a very entertaining show and I think that [by watching the show] West Essex students will see their friends in a new light. I also think that they’ll really enjoy their time, it’s got that little bit of creepiness, but a lot of fun. I just that that it’s different than anything we’ve really done here at West Essex.”
The Addams Family runs from Thursday, March 10, through Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. on all nights, with a 1 p.m. matinee on March 12. All performances are at West Essex High School, located at 65 W. Greenbrook Rd. in North Caldwell. Tickets are $12 for students and $15 for adults at the door. Tickets pre-ordered online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2503135?date=1406275 cost $10 for students and $12 for adults, not including service fees.