WHS students prep perform “The Addams Family” for weekend shows

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Macabre, ghoulish, frightening and creepy are adjectives which describe the characters in this year’s musical production at Washington High School. Students are performing as characters from the Broadway musical, “The Addams Family.” 

The “Addams Family” musical is based off of Charles Addams’ cartoons depicting the grotesque but immensely popular family whose story has been adapted for television and film. 

The musical follows the Addams family as they grapple with their daughter Wednesday having a love interest in Lucas Beineke who comes from a modest and average family. Uncle Fester enlists the help of Addams family ancestors (living and dead) when Wednesday invites Lucas and his parents to the Addams’ mansion for a simple dinner in an attempt to show how normal her family can be. Wednesday feels as if love is starting to change who she is. Her parents, Gomez and Morticia, are worried it may not align with their idea of what it means to be a member of the family. 

As the musical unfolds, audience members learn how Wednesday and Lucas’ relationship and possible marriage affect Gomez and Morticia’s relationship as well as Lucas’ parents Mal and Alice. The group plays a game of truth or dare that turns a simple dinner into chaos as secrets are revealed thanks to Pugsley stealing a truth potion and pouring it into Wednesday’s drink attempting to end her relationship with Lucas. 

Ryan Ange, a senior at Washington High School, is portraying the Addams family patriarch, Gomez. Acting is an interest he developed freshman year and plans to pursue at East Carolina University.  

He admitted to being nervous when he auditioned for the role of Gomez, but the hours he spent the week before auditions studying the character and accompanying accent “definitely paid off,” he said. 

For younger students who may want to take theater classes, but have some stage or hesitation, Ange says not to worry. “The people here who do theater are welcoming and some of the most fun I’ve been around here.” He says the more an actor or actress practices their lines and rehearses, they can become more confident and their fears about being in front of a crowd melt away. 

Ange has performed in other school productions, “Matilda” and “Diary of Anne Frank.” “Not once did I feel like I was on stage performing,” Ange said about acting in front of an audience. The first musical Ange watched was at Washington High School when they performed “The Wizard of Oz.” That kick started his interest in performing in musicals. His dad has fostered that interest over the years. 

Ange is following in his father’s footsteps. His father, Darren Ange, acted in the school’s production of “Grease” in the 1990s. Ange said his father, an educator in Pitt County, has helped with the productions there.

Audrey Miller, a junior at Washington High School, is portraying Morticia. This is a bigger role for her compared to two other musicals she has acted in. She said the role has been fun and challenging. She said it’s been fun learning the songs and tango dance she does with Ange. 

“I know most of my lines,” Miller said on Monday, “but practicing the songs and dances is where I’m at right now.”

Miller said being part of the school musical has been an experience which has taught her about patience and what it takes to be a good leader. “It’s definitely been an experience with patience and guiding people in the right direction.” She continued to say she’s made friends with fellow students that she would not have had she not been part of the musical. 

She encourages fellow students who may want to join the theater to check it out. “We’re not here to judge each other. We’re here to put on a good show and be friends with each other.” 

Rachel Lilley plays Wednesday, but Christian Bullock plays Lucas. They are both freshmen and have little theater experience. Bullock said playing a major role is “nerve-wracking.” Lilley said she is not trying to think about performing in front of an audience just yet. She is more focused on dress rehearsals this week and practicing her lines. 

The performance of “The Addams Family” begins on Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m. and continues on Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. and Sunday March 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online. Tickets purchased at the door must be paid with cash.