SACKVILLE, N.B. – Everyone’s favorite kooky family is getting set to hit the stage this week for a spectacular musical comedy that is sure to entertain guests of all ages.
Garnet & Gold Musical Theatre Society is bringing The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy to Convocation Hall and the cast and crew have been working hard and putting in long hours to delight audiences with this year’s show.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s so much fun,” says director Karen Valanne.
The Addams Family, a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elic, brings to life the wonderfully kooky and macabre world of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley and the entire Addams clan. In the show, the family is faced with a peculiar challenge – 18-year-old Wednesday has fallen in love with a sweet, smart and “normal” young man from a respectable family, whom she's invited over for dinner.
“It’s a dark comedy, with a lot of dark humour,” says Valanne. “But really at the heart of it, it’s about family. It’s about making connections and how people come together in the end.”
Valanne says the “fun and family-friendly” show features an array of amazing music – from big song-and-dance numbers to quieter song moments, something for everyone.
Garnet & Gold, founded in 1932, is one of the oldest and largest societies at Mount Allison University. Initially an offshoot of the Mount Allison Choral Society, its very first production was Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. In its early years, G&G was known as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, producing mainly shows by the pair. G&G became an official Mount Allison society in the 1960s, began to diversify its performances in the 1980s, and since that time, Garnet & Gold has produced a wide variety of Broadway musicals.
From Willy Wonka to The Sound of Music, from the Pirates of Penzance to The Wizard of Oz, Valanne says university students and community members come together every year to create the productions. This year’s show features a cast, crew and band of about 75, she says, and they have been running lines, practicing their musical numbers and putting all the technical elements together during three-to four-hour rehearsals each night since the students’ return from Christmas break.
Emily O’Leary, who plays the role of Wednesday Addams in the show, said it’s been a challenge over the past couple of months balancing schoolwork with long nightly rehearsals, but she said she says it’s worth it to be a part of this incredible experience.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” says O’Leary.
The first-year music student says taking part in a huge production like this has broadened her horizons on campus, and she has had the opportunity to meet other students and community members she may otherwise not have met. The entire cast and crew have become very close, says O’Leary, like having “a whole new family away from home.”
She says there was no question when she found out Garnet & Gold was bringing The Addams Family to the stage that she would audition for the role of Wednesday. She says she sees a bit of the character in herself in fact and can easily relate to the role.
“She likes some dark and kooky things but she’s also very headstrong, just like me,” says O’Leary. “And she gets to sing all these amazing songs so I’m pretty lucky. Wednesday is kind of a dream role for me.”
The student from Cape Breton is no stranger to musical theatre. Having played lead roles in several productions since middle school, including Liesl von Trapp in Sound of Music and Rapunzel in Into the Woods, O’Leary says singing and acting is her passion.
Logan Pipes, who plays Wednesday’s brother Pugsley, also has a love of musical theatre. A Grade 10 student at Amherst Regional High School, Pipes is the youngest member of the cast but Valanne says he has fit right in, with everyone welcoming his youthful enthusiasm and talent.
“It’s been fun having someone from high school in the show,” says Valanne.
Pipes has been involved in several school plays and is also a member of Showcase Productions in Amherst. He also was in Garnet & Gold’s production of Tarzan two years ago, having served as a member of the kids’ chorus.
“When I heard auditions were coming around, I jumped at the chance,” says Pipes.
He says his character is kind of a mama’s boy, who loves his sister and mother dearly, but is a bit maniacal and likes to blow things up.
“But deep down, he’s really a sweet boy beyond his tough attitude,” he explains.
The Addams Family runs from Thursday, Jan 25 to Saturday, Jan. 27 with shows at 8 p.m. each night, and a matinee on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Convocation Hall. Tickets are available at Tidewater Books, Jean Coutu or the Mount Allison Student Union office, and at the door.