Why did you choose to direct this show?
Last year, the Spotlights had a successful run of Happy Days: The Musical. As part of the committee choosing this year’s season, I thought that the Spotlights’ audience would respond well to another musical based on a television show. During my research, I fell in love with the Addams’s family and thought that it would be a fun, creative experience, so I made it known that I wanted that show if it was chosen for the season. The challenge of presenting this iconic family that is so ingrained in American culture (try not to snap when you hear the theme song), in a modern, perhaps less-campy light appealed to me. The Addams are not just flat, stereotypical characters. Compare them to the Beineke’s (3 Ohioans who show up for dinner) and one can see their uniqueness and humanity even more.
Why does the world need this production, or, another production of this show?
The show’s theme of “Love Will Always Triumph” resonated heavily with me the first time I read the script, and I think it’s a very timely message for our society. That, and there’s one amazing alternate lyric about Kim Davis. In terms of other productions, take your pick! There are many opportunities to see The Addams Family in northeastern Ohio this year.
Can you share some memorable moments from the rehearsal period?
The energy at the read-through rehearsal was ridiculously tangible. Within the first five minutes, I knew this cast and show were going to be phenomenal.
In designing the show, I looked at many of the original cartoons by Charles Addams. In many of them, the rooms had interior shutters. I started scouring Craigslist and other sources for inexpensive shutters to no avail. I stopped at a gas station on the way to rehearsal and in the alleyway next door were 30+ old, decrepit shutters leaning against a dumpster. (Insert references to a sunbeam and angels voices here.)
The week before tech, one of our actors ended up in handcuffs at rehearsal. Real handcuffs. Real handcuffs without a key. Luckily, the theater is located next door to a Police Station. Who knew that there is no universal key for handcuffs!? About an hour into his captivity, the cast member was freed thanks to the help of the Fire Department and an electrical saw. Teachable moment: Don’t touch props that aren’t yours!
Working with Ryan Bergeron (music director/Gomez) and Zac Hudak (choreographer) was an exhilarating experience. It was a safe, risk-taking team that continually kept raising the quality bar. We’ve known each other for years, but have never worked together in these capacities. There were many “‘Does this work?’/’Why does it have to work?’/’How about this….'” discussions that allowed for free-flowing ideas and honest editing of ideas that flowed a little too free.
As you watched your opening weekend, what resonates with you from the audience?
The cast is not only ridiculously talented, but contains some of the best folks in the entire world. I want to be in the room with them, and I hope to be again soon! There was so much growth that the final product is quite remarkable. I actually watched the show from the light booth with Zac, and it was about the third scene that we realized we were both forgetting to breathe. I wish EVERYONE could see this show. Happily, (and a tiny bit sadly) we sold-out all ten performances before opening night!
What do you think you and the actors have accomplished?
Magic. And a quality show that doesn’t hide behind the “It’s just community theater” label.
Ryan Bergeron, Gomez Addams
Melanie Hauer, Morticia Addams
Courtney Hostetler, Wednesday Addams
James Newton, Pugsley Addams
Kevin Cline, Fester Addams
Peggy Newton, Grandma Addams
Daryl Kelley, Lurch
Tim Schuerger, Lucas Beineke
Pam Matthews, Alice Beineke
Keith Joritz, Mal Beineke
and featuring Declan Newton
Broadview Heights Spotlights
9543 Broadview Road
Broadview Heights, OH 44147