Washington County Playhouse stages 'The Addams Family' musical
When “The Addams Family” debuted on ABC in 1964, they had one of the more memorable TV theme songs: “They’re creepy and they’re kooky/ Mysterious and spooky/ They’re altogether ooky/The Addams Family.”
They were the next door neighbors who were a little macabre to the outside world, but they loved their family. And this weekend the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater in downtown Hagerstown will present the musical version of the popular TV family. The show opens Saturday and runs Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, Oct. 29, with two special Sunday matinees.
Stephanie Allee of Fayetteville, Pa., plays matriarch Morticia Addams.
Allee said she remembers watching the kooky family when she was younger.
“I loved watching them,” she said. “They were dark but still funny at the same time.”
And it’s that darkness that is one reason why she likes playing Morticia.
“I think she is dark and unconventional, and she loves her family ferociously,” she said.
Playing her husband Gomez Addams is Shawn Martin, who co-owns the theater with his real-life wife Laura J. Martin. Allee said it’s been fun playing opposite Martin because they’ve been friends for a long time especially because Gomez and Moritica are known for their onstage love affair and their dance moves.
“They’re so passionate about life and each other — it’s fabulous,” she said.
“The Addams Family” was based originally on the cartoons by Charles Addams who wrote the strip from 1938 to 1988. The comic would not only spur the TV show, but several animated shows and a small handful of movies for both TV and on the big screen.
“If you look at the old Charles Addams cartoons there is so much of what he actually wrote in the cartoons as lines in the show and lyrics in the music,” Allee said. “There was a lot of attention paid to his original cartoons when they wrote the music, which I think is pretty cool.”
Kaitlyn Marie Lamkin of Hagerstown plays Wednesday, the only daughter to Gomez and Morticia. In the musical adaptation, Wednesday is older than the original series, giving her character a new storyline.
“I like that you can see a different side of Wednesday in this show,” she said. “She’s older. She’s not a little girl anymore. Wednesday herself is pretty sadistic and kind of in herself all of the time. She feels twice the emotion as everybody else, but shows zero of it on her face — until she falls in love. The audience gets to see her fall in love and experience that new feeling while she’s experiencing it.”
Lamkin said she considers the show something that all ages can enjoy.
“Parents — or people that I consider parents — are going to enjoy the show in such a way that it relates to their childhood growing up with the show,” she said. “They’re going to see a lot of correlating things from the original show in this musical. It’s almost going to be nostalgic in a way. And I think for kids there’s a lot of humor, but there’s a dark side and dark humor, and that kind of comedy they’ll enjoy.”
With his towering height, it’s easy to see why Nate LaDow of Hagerstown was cast as Lurch, the family’s butler.
LaDow said he was familiar with the early show.
“It was very humorous in its original incarnation, very black comedy, dark humor,” he said.
He said the newer movie versions — beginning with 1991’s “The Addams Family” — took that humor to another level.
“The show is kind of the all three of those things — they take a little bit of each thing,” he said.
The music is an added level to the overall production.
“There’s going to be a song that each person can relate to and I think as they leave the theater, they’ll have their own (song) they can remember from it,” he said. their own what?
LaDow said he’s enjoying his time as Lurch.
“He’s memorable, silent, slow, methodical,” he said with a laugh. “It kind of works out for me in a musical. I’m not the most graceful person. Getting to play someone not as graceful is a little bit easier.”