They’re scary and they’re crazy and mysterious and scary – and they’re on stage at Wilmot High School.
The school’s spring musical is “The Addams Family,” a Broadway show inspired by the 1960s sitcom about a macabre family.
The TV show – which lives endlessly on reruns – was itself based on the Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams in his single-panel gag cartoons.
The Addams Family characters have proven so popular that they’ve also been on the big screen, in live-action and animated form.
Jaime Ivan, the school’s director of choral music and drama, chose this show “because I personally think it’s super funny and I knew the kids would love it.”
There are 47 students in the cast, including 18 “who are new to acting,” Ivan said. “The great thing about theater is that there’s a place for everyone, whatever your interest.”
One of the perks of playing a big Broadway musical is the ensemble parts, “which give a lot of students a chance to get in on the show. It’s super important to me,” added Ivan.
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Putting together such a big show involves “a lot of work and a lot of planning,” she said.
“The students are dedicated to making a great show, and I have to figure out how to make it happen on a budget that’s not similar to a Broadway budget,” she added. “I am grateful that the Wilmot administration is so supportive of me and this program.”
Put on a show
Ivan herself has to take on several roles during the production.
“When I put on this kind of show at the secondary level, I have to be a director, a sound engineer, a light engineer, a choreographer, the mom, the instructor, etc.,” she said, adding that the students myself “take on a lot of these jobs, but I still have to oversee everything.
Other members of the production team include Denise Bauer, assistant director; Ron Stephensan, set designer; and John Ivan (the director’s brother) as musical director.
The music for the show was originally going to be just John Ivan playing the piano.
But then Jaime Ivan got creative.
“About 10 days ago, I approached two talented high school kids, Marshall Walters and Brenna Ellis, who were willing to try drums, so we added drums and a baritone saxophone at the last minute,” a- she declared. “It looks great, like they’ve been training for months.”
(For anyone wondering how to find last-minute musicians for a gig, Jaime Ivan offers this ironic piece of advice: “They stole my (unofficial) parking spot one day so I told them they could have my parking spot for two weeks and a day if they do the musical.”)
Live on stage
Ivan has not seen “The Addams Family” musical live, but has “watched about 20 different versions on YouTube”.
As for the students, “I think when we started with the show, they weren’t too familiar with the TV show or the non-animated movies,” she said. “However, because I have rock star students who really dive into what we do, I think a lot of them watched the old TV show and movies to understand their characters.”
The story of the musical is not based on any particular episode of a movie or TV show. On the contrary, the stage version “has a story that stands on its own,” Ivan added.
A crowd pleaser
Ivan hopes the show will be popular. Audience members, she said, will see “an awe-inspiring sight. The students are doing a fantastic job. I couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished.
Additionally, “supporting local fine arts is so needed and appreciated. We are so desperate for people to come and see not only our talent, but also our amazing facilities at Wilmot High School.
The show is “worth the price of admission. You will laugh until you cry and I hope this will make you want to come back to our shows in the future.
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