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Addams Family brings creepy, kooky experience to Raymond Playhouse

Posted on March 11, 2017 by Westwind Weekly

Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News

The Addams Family has been immortalized on television, cartoons and in a trio of movies in the 1990s.

Now, the iconic family is coming to Raymond.

From March 15-25, the Raymond Playhouse Society is bringing the musical to the stage, at 7:30 p.m. each evening (excluding Sundays), bringing back classic characters like Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, and Lurch.

For Lori Garner, the artistic director of the show, The Addams Family represented a unique opportunity for the society.

“We read several scripts and attend as many productions by other groups as possible each year, but the thing that enticed us to do Addams Family was the fact that it hasn’t been done in our area as the full production,” she said. “Plus, it is a very funny and quirky show.”

Garner added the musical also affords to society the opportunity to involve a wide range of actors.

“We look for a 20-plus cast to involve as many people as possible. Last year’s production involved a lot of children. This year, we went with an older cast of mostly high school and up. We also like to give the community a variety of shows, alternating between kids shows and a more mature audience. Our mandate is to give those in our community a chance to develop their talents in the arts.”

Putting on a top-notch production is always a challenge, according to Garner, who added each and every show requires many dedicated people.

“It take many hands to design and produce a show – costumes, set construction, dance, music, props, technical aspects, make-up and hair,” she said. “Talent, hard work and time are the mainstay of any community theatre. Thousands of collective hours go into the making of a fabulous show. Another challenge for our group is the size of our stage and backstage. But that is where the creativity comes in.  People are always surprised at what we can accomplish on our small but intimate stage.”

As with any production, the quality of the show depends greatly on the quality of the cast. According to Garner, audiences will be blown away by the performances they’ll witness, beginning with one of the main characters.

“Pat Roach comes to us with a wealth of talent and experience. This is his first starring role. He has always played character roles and his role of Gomez definitely gives him a chance to showcase his talents. Always professional, he devotes hours to perfect his role.”

Roach will be complemented by Tess Hemming, who has had years of dance experience, performing and teaching at the Dance on Broadway.

“She brings to the role of Morticia a grace and confidence with a dash of sexy haughtiness that is a perfect foil to Gomez,” said Garner. “This is Tess’s debut in a starring role with our society. She also has a wonderful professionalism that is a delight to work with.”

Derrik Nalder plays the part of Fester, the wildly-eccentric brother of Gomez.

“Derrik brings whimsical warmth to this role as well as a beautiful voice,” said Garner. “He is enjoying sharing the stage with his son, Gabe, who plays Pugsley.”

Rachel Nielson and Tanner Reeve bring youthful exuberance to their roles of Wednesday Addams and her boyfriend, Lucas. Bob Davis and Tekarra Roach play the roles of Mal and Alice Beineke, the boyfriend’s normal parents, both of whom have to flip their characters mid-play.

“Tish Gilbert plays Grandma’s whacky role with her usual pizzazz,” said Garner. “The stoic butler, Lurch, played by Devon Tieland, brings a smile to everyone’s face. Our chorus of Addams Ancestors will wow the audience with their dance and song, as they help move the story along.”

It has been a long journey to bring The Addams Family to the stage, as auditions began in October, as music rehearsals got underway immediately after.

“We take December off to enjoy with our families, then start up again in January,” said Garner. “We have been rehearsing three times a week, increasing to four or five rehearsals a week. It’s crunch time now, so we practically live there. The production crew are putting in hundreds of hours in creating sets, costumes, and props – all those things that bring the magic to our stage. Our board is a working board and each brings an area of expertise. Advertising, directing, design, technical – it truly takes a village.”

According to Garner, ticket sales are coming along, as she advised theatre goers not to wait too long to purchase them.

Tickets are available at http://www.raymondplayhouse.com, or by calling 403-894-9752. The Raymond Playhouse Society Facebook page will also post times when the society’s ticket person will be available at the theatre.

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