The BHS Wolfpack Players wow crowds with their performance of the musical  The Addams Family.   Photo courtesy David Hanks
The BHS Wolfpack Players wow crowds with their performance of the musical The Addams Family.  Photo courtesy David Hanks

They’ve always been “creepy and kooky”, but now, they’re in a musical! From March 11th to 13th, 2018, the Wolf Pack Players of Buford High School performed The Addams Family, a new musical comedy, at the Buford Fine Arts Center. The musical centers around the iconic family and the disturbance of their macabre lifestyle when eighteen-year-old Wednesday Addams brings her “normal” boyfriend, Lucas, and his family over for “One Normal Night”. Of course, chaos ensues, but through the jokes and high-energy dance numbers, one thing remains certain: family comes first. “[Through this show], we all, as a troupe, have really tightened our bonds and become a real family,” said Nick Warren, who played Lucas. “I really enjoyed getting closer with the cast.”

The Addams Family has been a popular musical over the past few years, being performed by what seems like every high school in the country. But the Wolf Pack Players managed to make their production unique. Avery Long, who portrayed Addams matriarch Morticia, described her preparation process as ‘eye-opening’. “To understand Morticia and the way she thought and felt, I no longer looked to shows, comics, or movies. I made [the role] my own by bringing my experiences into [my portrayal],” she said. “With each rehearsal, I was taught something new about love and honesty. Morticia brought out parts of me that I wasn’t sure I had: want for truth, love that consumes her, and passion. With that, I was able to carry my experiences, as well as things I’d learned, and make something beautiful that I wanted to share with the audience and with those around me.” Trevor Dodge, who played Fester, had a similar process. “I didn’t try to make him different per say, I just tried to make him my own. Ever since the first time I read Fester’s lines, I kind of just tried different stuff until it felt right. I didn’t look up many videos of other Festers or research the role too hard. I just got a feel for who he is and what his goals are through the script itself.”

As for the script, what seems like a silly family comedy is much more. Like the Addamses themselves, there is much more lying beneath that dark exterior. Many life lessons can be learned from the show’s tumultuous (and often ridiculous) storyline. “I think the main thing audiences can take away [from the show] is learning to accept change,” said Trevor Dodge, “It can be both good and bad, but regardless, it always occurs.” For Elam Rothweiler, who played Gomez, the show was a source of a personal epiphany: “It taught me that family is the most important thing in life and to never be untruthful to a person who you love.”

Of course, every production is about more than just what’s happening to the characters; it is also about the connections the students make with each other, which turn into lasting memories. Some memories are amusing. Elam Rothweiler recalls his favorite memory where ‘on Monday night, Keighly (who played Wednesday), tripped over a speaker on the downstage right side of the stage and almost fell.’ Said Elam, “It was the one time I really came close to breaking character.” Trevor Dodge says his favorite moment was before the show even started: “During the overture, the Addams Family theme song always played, and everyone backstage would stomp as loud as they could during the snaps. It was so fun.” Others were more sentimental: “My favorite moment of the show was in the last song of the show after Lurch sang,” said Avery Long, “Keighly and I, not just as mother and daughter, but as best friends, touched hands and began to sing. Every smile and emotion produced was so real. Being able to show the love that I have for my best friend while onstage was the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt and the greatest moment I’ve experienced in a show.”

Though the musical closed on March 13th, the memories will stay with the cast long after. “Performing in Addams was truly such an unforgettable experience,” said Keighly Brown, “This role was not only so much fun, but it also challenged me to become a better performer. I’ll never forget this show.” The closing of this musical also marked the end of a chapter for Elam Rothweiler and other seniors in the cast. “I have no regrets about my last show,” he said. “I’m ready for the next chapter of my life, whatever that may be. I’m just blessed to be here.”

The next full-length production by the Wolf Pack Players will be The Diviners, playing April 15-17 at the Fine Arts Center.

By Hayden Wiggs

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