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Meet the Addams Family: Branford High School (BHS) Performing Arts cast members (l-r): Abby Boyle (Grandma), Sophia Coppola (Wednesday), Alina Catania (Morticia), Brandon Hernandez (Lurch), Gabe Villa (Gomez), Dylan Campos (Pugsley) and Ben Clouse (Uncle Fester) make up part of the big cast and crew bringing six performances to the Cathyann Roding Auditorium at BHS March 20 - 24. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
BHS Performing Arts Presents 'The Addams Family, A Musical Comedy' March 20 - 24
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Branford is about to meet The Addams Family, in a delightfully macabre musical comedy blending ghoulish gags and fan favorites -- from the Tango to trademark snaps and claps-- all to tell the tale of the importance of family.
Co-directed by Michael Martone and Colin Sheehan, the talented cast of Branford High School (BHS) Performing Arts takes the stage Thursday, March 20 through Sunday, March 24 to present six performances of The Addams Family, A Musical Comedy, in the Cathyann Roding Auditorium at BHS, 185 East Main St. Tickets, $18 adults, $15 students (K-12) and seniors are on sale now, and reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve tickets, call (203) 315-7972.
Martone and Sheehan, the creative minds behind last year's hit performances of Shrek the Musical at BHS, are now in their second year co-directing. Both are former BHS students of Roding, and worked with her and with co-director Toni Cartisano in shows which helped build the BHS legacy for producing show-stopping spring musicals for over 40 years.
Martone said audiences who loved Shrek in 2018 are going to see next-level performances when they come out to enjoy The Addams Family at BHS this year. As always, the BHS musical features top-notch student performances, backed by a live orchestra and production values of sound, lighting, extravagant sets and incredible costumes making it true to its Broadway roots.
"Being more familiar with the space, the set, the sound; everything is going to be even better this year," said Martone. "Our kids have been working very hard. They sound great and they're very professional in the way they go about things. It's going to look great and it's going to be great."
"Our choreographer is Paola Rarick and she is so incredible --we actually added a tap number. We took it to the next step for sure," said Sheehan.
Rarick said she saw an opportunity to ratchet up the show's fun factor with a big tap number, and to pay homage to Branford's performing arts' past productions.
"I think Branford has kind of a long-standing tradition with tap, and I think it's always a crowd-pleaser," said Rarick. "And I just kind of felt it in the choreography. I also wanted to expose as much of the cast to tap as I could, because I know it's such a staple in musical theatre."
Rarick adds the big tap number is just one among "...lots of big surprise, that I cannot reveal, that have never been done with an Addams Family production I've been exposed to. We've had lots of brainstorming on that; and Mike and Colin have come up with some great ideas that we're going to implement that are very audience-inclusive."
Rarick is assisted by the show's student Dance Captains, Kaitlyn Moore-Markey and Serena Sachs, who also help populate the Addams Family ancestors. The dancing, gray group of long-dead Addams ancestors join the family from the show's opening number, "When You're an Addams." set to a mambo-beat, the song opens with BHS player Gabe Villa, as patriarch Gomez Addams, exhorting, "Ah, the intoxicating spell of the graveyard!"
As head of Addams family manse, which makes up the show's main set, he's joined by Addams family principals Alina Catania (Morticia), Sophia Coppola (Wednesday), Dylan Campos (Pugsley), Abby Boyle (Grandma), Ben Clouse (Uncle Fester) and Brandon Hernandez (Lurch). Their haunted home's creepy surrounds are the perfect set-up for a visit from the seemingly average family of Wednesday's love interest, Lucas Beineke (Adam Jackson) and his parents; played by Bobby Olejarcyzk (Mal Beineke) and Saura Malahiazar (Alice Beineke).
The cast also includes a number of understudies, Sheehan noted.
"We had some understudies in Shrek, and we liked that process, so we have more understudies for this production," he said.
BHS students also make up backstage crew and tech production members. The show's co-student Stage Managers are Angel Villauicencio and Shelby Zoccano.
As an added layer, the BHS production is the spotlight community event for the month of March, in a year-long calendar of programs helping to highlight Branford's 375th birthday in 2019, said Sheehan, a member of the Branford 375th celebration committee.
"March is Music in the Schools Month and Theatre in the Schools month, so we thought that it was very important to have our high school musical as our community event in March," Sheehan said, adding, "...it's great show for the whole family. Last year with Shrek, the whole message was 'It's okay to be weird – let your freak flag fly.' This year, with the Addams Family, it's all about family, and how important family is, no matter how weird your family is. So the kids really have fun with that."
Branford High School (BHS) Performing Arts presents The Addams Family, A Musical Comedy, in the Cathyann Roding Auditorium at BHS, 185 East Main St. March 20 – March 24. Showtimes are Wed. March 20 - Fri. March 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. March 23 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sun. March 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 students (K-12) and seniors. To reserve tickets, call (203) 315-7972.
Reporters Note: On March 8, the commons at BHS became an impromptu stage for a flash mob cast performance of "When You're An Addams" during student lunch waves. The Sound has posted video clips on Facebook and Instagram (@thesoundct); look for BHS Performing Arts' creative video production posted at the Branford High School Performing Arts Facebook page.
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