A creepy, kooky production
LAKE PLACID — Thirty-one Lake Placid Middle High School students are tapping into the gloomy, goofy and macabre to put on a live performance of the comedy musical “The Addams Family” next week from March 2 to 4.
Based on the spooky fictional family from the famous 1964 television series — which was based on an earlier series of cartoons first published in 1938 — “The Addams Family” musical carries on the Addams family tradition of blending the hilarious with the bleak, according to Taylor Prosper, the LPMHS choir teacher and director of the musical.
“It’s definitely a comedy show,” Prosper said. “You’re going to be laughing the entire time.”
The show focuses on Wednesday Addams, the Addams’ daughter, and her love interest, who comes from a family that’s clean-cut compared to the gothic Addams family. The show blends the darkness with the light, navigating how the two families will get along. It’s like a modern take on Romeo and Juliet — except the main characters don’t die in the end.
“There are lots of dead people in the show, though,” Prosper said.
For a couple of the lead actors, the hardest part about performing in the play isn’t the laborious weeks of rehearsal on top of school and sports — it’s trying not to break character and burst out laughing at one another. Addyson Colby, who stands at around 5 feet 2 inches, stands on stilts to deliver her lines as the Addam’s historically tall butler, Lurch. Nadia Phillip, who plays Morticia Addams, said she gets to spend the whole play acting “annoyed with everything.”
Phillip, a junior, played Ariel in LPMHS’s “The Little Mermaid” musical last year, so playing Morticia this year is a complete 180 for Phillip performance-wise. Morticia is sultry, mysterious and gloomy — “literally the opposite of Ariel,” Phillip said. Phillip, who plays basketball and volleyball at the school, said being a cast member in the funny show is a bit of a relief from long days at school and practice — theater is a “judgment-free” space, she said.
“It’s so fun,” she said of the show.
While “The Little Mermaid” cast members masked up for rehearsals as a COVID-19 precaution last year — which affected their facial and vocal performances once masks were off during shows, Prosper said — “The Addams Family” cast has gone back to rehearsing and performing without masks, enabling them to sing and emote to their full potential.
Theater newcomer Cody Montagnola, a senior, is naturally expressive and funny, Prosper said. Montagnola said he basically plays himself while performing as Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas, who tends to deal with anxiety through humor. Prosper has dubbed Montagnola’s own expressions that shine through in his performance “Cody-isms.”
Prosper said Motagnola has “risen to the occasion” while playing his first lead role in a show at LPMHS. Montagnola performed in some group acts in last spring’s Broadway showcase at the school, and this year, he decided to say “why not” and audition for the show.
This is also the first time Abbey Light, a sophomore, has been a stage manager — she keeps “The Addams Family” props in order, oversees set changes and generally keeps the show running smoothly behind the scenes. It’s a role as big as the ones lead performers have because she essentially runs the show’s operations on her own while Prosper runs the music throughout the show. She was on the stage crew for the high school’s broadway showcases, “The Little Mermaid,” and this past fall’s performance of “Clue,” and Prosper said she’s handling her new responsibilities well. LPMHS alumna Sophie Morelli is the show’s assistant director.
“Addams Family” rehearsals were split up by the FISU Winter World University Games this past January — rehearsals started before the games and resumed after they ended. Prosper said the week off posed some challenges to the cast when it came to retaining what they’d learned so far, but the cast has been “pedal to the medal” since returning to rehearsal, and they’ve recovered well.
“The Addams Family” runs from March 2 to 4 in the LPMHS auditorium, with performances each night at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on March 4. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.