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Review: ‘The Addams Family’ may be creepy but they’re also lighthearted fun

By BOBBY GLENN BROWN

Special to Journal

MARQUETTE — Marquette Senior High School has put together a talented group of young adults for their current production of “The Addams Family.”

Cast, crew and orchestra should all be commended for a job well done.

In their first collaboration, this reviewer hopes its the first of many to come.

Director Amber Christunas has put together a stellar cast and keeps the show running smoothly with the use of slide projections to provide added sets. Her use of space in and around the proscenium is a highlight. With assistance from vocal director Elizabeth Grugin and Conductor Eric Marta this trio will guide our youth to some stellar performances in the years to come. There’s not a weak voice in the cast and the orchestra is appropriate in its volume and enhances the performers never over powering them. Bravo for having a full orchestra.

Adding to the trio is choreography by Jill Grundstrom and Gabrielle Revord. This duo created some creative and theatrical moments that should not be missed.

The only part missing was Cousin It and Thing but no fear, this musical comedy, which hit Broadway in 2010 with book by Marshall Brickman and Rice Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa is a treat for all ages as is its gifted cast.

Sam Billman is a young versatile triple threat. He commands the stage with ease suiting him perfectly for the role of the passionate Addams patriarch, Gomez. Navigating a revealing black dress is Jayme Winn who complements him with primadonna playfulness as wife Morticia. Their sexy Tango near the shows end is worth the wait. Daniel Politi makes the most of his grunts as Lurch, and wears platform shoes that could imitate Lady Gaga.

The resident wisecracker is Uncle Fester. Beau Belkowski imbues the character with off-the-wall wackiness and spews a few throwaway pop-culture and political references. So what if Fester’s being in love with the moon, a subplot, is played to excess?

The premise however, is that daughter Wednesday (Kayla Grugin, an impressive singer) wants to marry clean-cut Lucas Beineke (Sam McKnight) and this brings Lucas’ unsuspecting white-bread-Ohio family to the Gomez haunt for a dinner party. John Thomas and Amanda Diddams are dead-on as the parents. The latter’s dinner-table transformation (due to a mis-administered potion) is funnier than any of Fester’s antics.

Highlights include: “When You’re an Addams,” Morticia’s wryly morbid “Just around the Corner” and the dinnertime “Full Disclosure” smartly incorporate sight gags and exploit the sprightly choreography by Grundstrom and Revord. Enseble members deserving credit include: Asa Naigers, Natalie Tripp, Drew Lakenen and Kenny Crum.

If you are looking for a lighthearted show with lots of macabre humor, then snap up your tickets and head over to Kaufman Auditorium today through Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or any NMU ticket location. They’re creepy and they’re kooky but you’ll be glad you did.

Bobby Glenn Brown is known throughout the region as an actor and director. He holds an MFA in musical theatre performance from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

If you go:

What: Marquette Senior High School presents the musical “The Addams Family.”

When: Today, Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Kaufman Auditorium, Marquette

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for students and can be purchased at any Northern Michigan University ticket outlet or online at tickets.nmu.edu