ST. CHARLES – Achieving hilarious horror is no easy task. But with lines like “Have you ever seen a rat the size of a wiener dog?” and song titles such as “Death is Just Around the Corner,” a musical playing March 7 to 10 in St. Charles promises creepy fun at Pheasant Run Resort.
“The Addams Family: Young@Part” is a musical homage to the classic TV series, presented by Marquee Youth Stage. The plot is a zany, when-worlds-collide story (in this case, the nether world and ours), rendered by area actors born decades after the TV show. Book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and music and lyrics are by Andrew Lippa. The cast features 38 students in fifth grade through high school
As the curtain rises, we’re reunited with Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch, who are in the family graveyard for an annual ritual celebrating life and death.
But all is not well, because we learn a grownup Wednesday has fallen in love with – gasp – a normal human from Ohio. Things get so bad she even becomes cheerful and refuses to torture younger brother Pugsley.
How can this relationship possibly work?
“Addams” is the fifth collaboration of director Noah Bailey and music director Joelle Kasprisin. The duo has produced successful runs of “Disney’s High School Musical Jr.,” “Legally Blonde – The Musical Jr.,” “Best of the Best,” (an original production saluting Broadway’s best musicals) and “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.” for area youth theater.
“Not only is 'The Addams Family' a phenomenal, Tony-nominated musical adapted from one of the most niche and popular film and TV series, this production is special because it is comprised of a hard-working, dedicated, talented cast of youth performers who have devoted months to accepting and exceeding the challenging work in this demanding, fun and thrilling show,” Bailey said. “Being diligent to the artistic integrity of the show, while also taking liberties, these performers are delivering two hours of nonstop laughs and enjoyment. 'The Addams Family' has fantastic music, a hysterical book, edge, and an aesthetic like no other.”
Kasprisin said the music is challenging for a professional cast, much less teens.
“Teaching the music was quite a journey,” she said. “The score is an exciting mix of different styles and genres of music, including large ensemble numbers that require ‘walls’ of sound, as well as tender, ballad-like solos and duets. Styles range from Latin-groove to vaudeville to golden age – plus the well-known "Addams Family" theme, snaps and all – so there is truly something for everyone.”
Jason Akst teaches journalism and public relations at Northern Illinois University.
If you go
WHAT: “The Addams Family: Young@Part” presented by Marquee Youth Stage
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 7 to 9 and 4 p.m. March 10
WHERE: Pheasant Run Resort's Mainstage Theater, 451 E. Main St., St. Charles
COST: $10 for students and seniors, $12 for adults