The funny, macabre, touching story of the Addams family will be told with music by Hinsdale Central High School’s Drama Club.
“The Addams Family” musical recounts when Wednesday Addams, 18 years old and in love, brings the boy she wants to marry home to meet her ghoulish family. Much to her parents’ dismay, Wednesday has fallen for a sweet boy from a normal family in Ohio, in other words, a total misfit for their ghoulish clan.
“It’s sort of like ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,’” said Susan Jaffe, the English and speech teacher who is directing the show.
“We think everybody is an ‘other.’ We think everybody is odd and different,” Jaffe said. “Then when we get together for dinner, we realize we all want the same things, happy and healthy relationships and our family full of love.”
Hinsdale senior Sean McCleary, an assistant director for the show, calls the Addams, “a strange, but an exceptionally functional family. They host a dinner (for their future son-in-law and his parents) that goes right or wrong, depending on how you look at it,” McCleary said.
A song in the show, called “Happy Sad,” which Gomez sings to his daughter Wednesday, shares the mixed feelings a father has when his child is grown up and leaving home.
Jaffe saw the musical in 2009 before it opened on Broadway.
The tryouts were in Chicago, with Nathan Lane playing Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as his wife Morticia, Jaffe said. Newly engaged herself and planning her wedding, Jaffe said she was so touched by the sentiment she cried.
She believes the students in Central’s drama club have the talent to balance the tones.
“The kids are so good at blending humor and a heartfelt message,” Jaffe said. “The story is both, hilariously funny and meaningful. This cast gets that.”
Colin Kurimay, a freshman from Clarendon Hills and member of the crew, said it took four weeks to build the sets for the show, which include balconies, a torture rack and black high-backed thrones, one of which has a lever to raise a curved blade up from the seat.
The students attached welcome mats to the exterior of the balconies because they resemble wrought iron, he said.
A mesh screen is lowered and lit from behind to reveal Addams family ancestors traipsing about a cemetery. Their costumes show they lived in all different centuries, from Medieval to Renaissance to Colonial times.
“We basically show up and help the characters realize everything they need to do rebuild their relationships,” said Grace Notbus, a junior from Clarendon Hills, who plays a Colonial era ghost.
That advice is delivered through songs, rather than conversations.
“We don’t have that many lines,” Notbus said. “We sing a lot.”
What: Hinsdale Central Drama Club presents “The Addams Family”
When: 7 p.m. on April 25, 26 and 27; and 2 p.m. on April 27
Where: Hinsdale Central High School Auditorium, 5500 S. Grant St.
Tickets: $10 for students, $15 for adults; can be purchased at the door or in advance at ticketpeak.com/hcdrama.