The Addams Family by Friends Select School in Philadelphia, PA
April 23, 2018
Review submitted by Harleigh Myerovich of Harriton High School
When you’re an Addams, “normal” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This weekend, Friends Select School Theater embraced the creepy, the kooky, the mysterious and spooky for an altogether ooky production of The Addams Family! Based on the characters in Charles Addams’s New Yorker cartoons, The Addams Family follows the loving, if unconventional, family of the undead. This musical focuses in on Wednesday Addams, who has fallen in love with average-Joe, Lucas. When this news reaches the rest of the family, their bonds are tested as they negotiate their family values, ultimately proving that love never dies.
In the role of Morticia Addams, Mary Graham delivered a poised performance which captured the aloof nature of the macabre matriarch. Her vocals in songs such as “Secrets” and “Just Around the Corner” carried each quirky musical number. Alongside her, Daniel Nelson portrayed Gomez Addams with heart and humor. In each of his scenes, Nelson commanded the stage and maintained Gomez’s signature Spanish accent with impressive consistency. In the role of the beloved Uncle Fester, Avery Johnson proved a comedic favorite with his energetic antics. As the hapless Lucas, Wednesday Addams’s paramour, Isaac Riley-Wasserman delivered a strong performance throughout. In “Crazier Than You”, Both Riley-Wasserman and Claire McHarg (Wednesday Addams) showcased their endearing chemistry in an animated duet.
In a standout featured role, Matthew Mark-Ockerbloom made the audience roar with his portrayal of the Addams’ zombie-like butler, Lurch. With a sonorous vocal performance, Ockerbloom surprised and delighted the audience with his scene-stealing solo in “Finale: Move Towards the Darkness”. In the role of Grandma, Margo Latty garnered laughs from the audience with her over-the-top physical comedy.
Adding to the gothic look of the production, the costume design by Isabella Iannozzi was polished and effective. Makeup, also headed by Iannozzi along with Kate Young and Rachel Soloff, helped to characterize the undead Addams ancestors with their signature blackened eyes. The sets, designed by Kitty Holder, Rudyard Lynch, Cece Williams and Lucy Doss lent themselves well to the atmosphere of the show, with various painted backdrops, reversible platforms, and an endearing spider web motif. For publicity, an eye-catching silkscreen design by Jamison Lung was featured on the playbill and on posters around the theater. Lung’s 1960’s inspired artwork captured the macabre aesthetics of the production while also serving as a well-rendered nod to the cultural context of the original 1960’s television series.
Overall, Friends Select School Theater brought the Addams characters to life in an offbeat end to their season that was anything but ordinary.
Review submitted by Anna Mondragon of AP Schalick High School
A familiar but unorthodox tale of love and the trials and tribulations it faces graced the stage of Friends Select School in the form of The Addams Family. With a passionate father devoted to the women in his life, a jealous brother, and a huge engagement secret, nothing could go wrong, right?
The show opened on Broadway in April of 2010 and closed in December of 2011 with a run of over a year. The Addams Family depicts a tale of a family with an affinity towards the darker things in life and the turbulence they experience when Wednesday Addams, the daughter, reveals only to her father, Gomez, that she is engaged to someone. Gomez needs to keep this from his wife which tears him apart. This secret is revealed by the end of the first act and causes the down spiral of the family and the engagement. It is up to Gomez to fix not only his marriage, but the impending marriage of Wednesday and fiancé Lucas.
The overall talent of the cast and the dramatic use of makeup really made the show stand out. The cast’s ability to embody characters that are not easy to relate to showcased the talent of everyone involved.
Daniel Nelson as Gomez Addams really showed the audience his talent not only with his accent but with his acting. It was easy to forget that Gomez was actually a high school senior and not a goofy and romantic father. Mary Graham as Morticia Addams embodied the confident mother figure with beautiful vocals, fluid movement, and complete understanding of the character. Claire McHarg as Wednesday Addams gave us wonderful vocals and a very nice portrayal of a girl on the cusp of changing her way of life.
Avery Johnson, who played Uncle Fester, was the goofy uncle bent on helping Wednesday keep her love. The expressive portrayal of the character and the amazing comedic timing made this character funny and lovable. Margo Latty as Grandma really put herself into the character and showed us the crazy side of the family. A real show stealer, though, was Matthew Mark-Ockerbloom as Lurch. The ability to keep a straight face throughout the entire goofy show was impressive and his vocals were truly amazing.
The make up by Isabella Iannozzi, Kate Young, and Rachel Soloff was something that really stood out. The dark under eyes and the pale ancestors really showed the personality of the family. The costumes done by Isabella Iannozzi were impressive as well displayed the different time periods of the ancestors.
“Full Disclosure,” Friends Select School did a wonderful job in their rendition of The Addams Family.