The UMass Theatre Guild’s reimagining of ‘The Addams Family’

New musical comedy brings the iconic Addams family into modern-day


(Simon Nathans/Daily Collegian)

By Nicole Bates , Collegian Staff

It’s midterm season, so naturally every student at the University of Massachusetts is busy, but the UMass Theatre Guild is especially hard at work. The students are currently preparing their next staged production, and if you’re a fan of the iconic “Addams Family,”you are in luck. The UMass Theatre Guild is opening its latest production, “The Addams Family Musical,”here on the UMass campus on March 21-23 in Bowker Auditorium. The show may include the world’s funniest family, but it’s a not the same Addams family that everyone knows and loves.

The story of this particular musical is not exactly the story you may be familiar with from the movie and TV show, as it “features an original story” with the same characters from the original musical. The show, according to one of the directors of the production, Greg Ford, “takes the quintessential Addams family characters and places it in modern day. It follows Wednesday finding love and finding herself as she grows up and [it shows] how those stock characters interact with possibly the most boring people in America and how normal people would react to the Addams family.”

Actress Samantha D’Orazio, who plays Wednesday Addams, shares that the characters are “older now, and [Wednesday is] about 18 or so. She has met this boy Lucas and they plan on getting married.” The story follows Wednesday as she confides in her father about her normal boyfriend, Lucas. This results in the Addams family trying to act as ‘normal’ as possible which becomes more complicated when Lucas and his parents come over for dinner. Brennan Stefanik, who plays Lucas, shares that his character is “the most normal person we see in the show, which is kind of strange. He’s the lover boy.” He describes the show as Lucas and Wednesday’s attempt to “get everyone to like each other and approve of the relationship [they’re] in.”

The cast and crew of this production have been working hard since December to stage the large-scale musical production. This juggernaut of a musical, according to actress Jessie Dimmock, who plays Alice Beineke, is full of “so many ridiculous songs and dance numbers and lines.” The director, Greg, offered his admiration for his team by saying “his favorite part of this show has been working with every single different team and [seeing] how [with] detailed-oriented shows that are this big, noticing little things and bringing them to life [can create] a huge spectacle.”

After speaking with several of the people working on the show, it was clear it has been a very fun and exciting rehearsal process for everyone involved. All the actors are very enthusiastic when describing their roles and their excitement about the production was illuminating for them as they spoke about the show. It is clear that every cast and crew member is excited for the show to finally be open, but it is clear that they all became a family during the rehearsal process. The other director of the production, Eileen Vanderwalle, said that her favorite part of working on this show has been “getting to work with everybody. We have a really, really great team and a really great cast.”

Both Ford and Vanderwalle are first-time directors and have successfully adjusted to the demanding job of putting on a huge musical that is “The Addams Family.” Though they both have been previously involved with the UMass Theatre Guild in various capacities, neither have taken on the huge task of directing before. Eileen said being the director of the show was the last challenge for her “because it’s my last semester and I feel like I’ve done a lot of things in Guild at this point…I feel like this is the final culmination of everything that I’ve done…directing the mainstage musical, which is one of the biggest jobs.”

Ford said that he applied to direct this show specifically because directing “The Addams Family” in particular is “so fun and upbeat.” And though “The Addams Family”“is such a pop culture reference, this show deals with real life themes as well.” He also said part of his decision to direct this show had to do with his co-director Vanderwalle: “I think directing with Eileen just made sense for this show. We complement each other very nicely, and with our minds together this show made sense.”

According to D’Orazio, the show is a complete package. It is entertaining with “lots of good songs, dancing, jokes, you might even shed a tear. [It’s] happy-sad, [and that is] so touching. Expect to have fun and see a different side of the Addams family.” The show is meant to take its audience through every emotion possible. It’s funny, nerve-racking and surprisingly uplifting. It shows the clash between two very different families and how they attempt to form a new one. “The Addams Family” is a show that celebrates uniqueness and working together, much like how Ford and Vanderwalle combined their minds to put on the musical of the semester.

The UMass Theatre Guild’s production of “The Addams Family Musical” goes up March 21st in Bowker Auditorium, and the shows are:

Thurs, 3/21 at 7:00 p.m.

Fri, 3/22 at 7:00 p.m.

Sat, 3/23 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Nicole Bates can be reached at [email protected]