Brentwood brings spooky clan to life in ‘Addams Family’

Brentwood College School is presenting The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy March 1 to 5

Spookily we go, laughing all the way.

Brentwood College School is presenting The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy March 1 to 5 at the T. Gil Bunch Centre for Performing Arts, a humorous take on a macabre, death-obsessed clan introduced to audiences through television and films over the last several decades.

The musical takes a look at what happens when daughter Wednesday falls in love with a normal young man.

“Why can’t we be an average family?” Wednesday sings as she rues parental pressure to stay true to their family’s ghastly roots.

Wednesday wants to break free to be with Lucas, her well-adjusted and normal fiancé, but her father Gomez and mother Morticia, not to mention the rest of the freaky family, make every step a laugh-out-loud challenge. It all comes to a (witch’s) boil at a dinner where Lucas and his family are invited over to meet the Addams family.

“Wednesday is fascinating. She goes through character changes and is very dynamic. She starts out traditional Addams family, spooky and one-sided, but she has fallen in love and it changes everything,” explained Grade 11 student Holly Collis Handford, who plays Wednesday.

Auditions were held in September followed by frequent rehearsals ahead of next Tuesday’s opening night performance.

“It is honestly an absolute joy,” said Kyle van Wiltenburg, who stars as Gomez, a possessive father caught between taking his wife or daughter’s side as the new romance divides the family.

Van Wiltenburg auditioned by singing a song for a general role, only to be approached later by Director Edna Widenmaier with a surprising offer.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to be or anything, I was just like ‘you can put me where you see fit.’ But then one dinner I was eating with my friends and Mrs. Widenmaier pulled me aside and said ‘How would you feel about being the lead in the play?’” van Wiltenburg recalled.

Accepting the role has been a great decision, he said, adding that it has required really working on straightening his posture and perfecting Gomez’s Latin accent.

“He’s definitely a very upright, very proper man…It’s supposed to be Latin, Spanish or Latin but it kind of went off in its own direction,” van Wiltenburg said. “He’s a very charismatic person, very passionate, very animated in a sense. There are two things he loves in this world the most, his wife and his daughter and the whole point of the show is that it’s the first time ever where he has to choose whether he supports his daughter or his wife and because of that things just kind of go out of control,” he added.

A great musical score by Andrew Lippa keeps the action hopping along under musical director Phil Newns, with dramatic, detailed sets conveying a decidedly Gothic tone. Top-notch technical direction from Don Armitage and choreography by Lorraine Blake complete Widenmaier’s superb direction.

Van Wiltenburg said working with the cast and crew has been tremendous. “It is awesome. Everybody is just super supportive of one another,” he said. “We all have a blast when we’re onstage together.”

Handford has also found it a great experience working with the cast of 56.

“It’s been incredible,” she said. “The whole cast has worked together and become sort of our own family too.”

The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy opens March 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or by reservation through www.theatre.brentwood.bc.ca or by calling 250-743-8756. Special group rates are also available through the box office for parties for 10 or more.

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