TR Robertson …For the second time in three years, Escondido’s STAR Repertory Theatre presented the popular musical comedy, “The Addams Family”. This year, the eight performance musical was staged on the larger Lyceum Theatre Stage, to mostly sold-out audiences. This musical comedy has music and lyrics by
Flytrap Cast – Morticia (Brynn Bachman) and Gomez (Bryce Guzzetta) discuss dinner.
Andrew Lippa from a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The musical is closely based on the original newspaper cartoon by Charles Addams, but has been produced as a television show and movie as well.
“The Addams Family opened on Broadway in 2010, featuring Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, winning the Drama League Award and Drama Desk Award. The musical has the distinction of being staged in many countries overseas; including the Philippines, Germany, Italy, Mexico, France and England.
From the STAR Repertory web site, “STAR Repertory Theatre is organized exclusively for the educational, literary and presentational purposes of fostering greater awareness and understanding of performance theatre through educational programs and onstage theatrical performance.”
STAR’s performances generally always have two casts, which perform on alternating evenings. “The Addams Family” ran for eight performances, with one cast, Flytrap Cast, and the other cast, Crossbow Cast, alternating. For the performance I covered, the Flytrap Cast was on stage. The wonderful aspect of STAR is it blends veteran actors and actresses, mostly adults, with first time actors and actress of all ages as well as younger and older actors and actresses that have some experience on stage, but maybe not in a larger stage setting. What this makes for is a very enjoyable and entertaining evening, with usually large casts, that are performing for the love of acting and being on stage.
Photos provided by Meredith Kolod
For the performance I took in, the Flytrap Cast, there were several standouts on stage. Bryce Guzzetta was entertaining as Gomez, the head of the Addams household. He handles the Spanish accent and clever punch lines of Gomez with ease. Playing his wife was 17 year old, Valley Center H.S. senior, Brynn Bachman. You would not know Brynn was 17 as she had great stage presence as Gomez’s wife, with a booming singing voice. Paloma Peterson played the surly daughter, Wednesday, who is in love with a normal human. Peterson had a number of opportunities to show off an equally powerful singing voice. Rounding out the Addam’s clan were Brendan Beck as the conspiring brother Pugsley, Riayn Harris as the bizarre Grandma, Liam Sullivan as Lurch the giant butler, in his first show with STAR. A crowd pleaser was the performance of STAR veteran Ryan Burtanog, as the unusual Uncle Fester. Ryan interacted with the audience numerous times, helped sell raffle tickets and give away prizes, mingled with the crowd at intermission and before the show and was featured as Uncle Fester for both casts. He too has great stage presence and you can feel he loves what he is doing on stage. The strange “The Moon and Me” song Uncle Fester sings to his love, The Moon, is always a hit.
The “normal” family that comes to visit the Addams, the Beineke Family, is led by Gerard Velona as dad Mal, Jordan Beck as son Lucas and an audience favorite, crazy mom Alice, Theresa Dame-Bellasario. Her dinner scene is memorable, as is the whole Full Disclosure game, played at dinner in the final scene of Act I.
The Ancestors costuming was a standout feature of the show. The Ancestors were divided into two groups, Dancing Ancestors and Ancestors. The Dancing Ancestors routines were well choreographed, especially one featuring the ancestors with Morticia. The Ancestors appear throughout the musical.
This is a great show for theatre companies with large casts. It is fun for people of all ages, even though there are a lot of jokes that would go over a younger persons head. It is not a musical with a deep philosophical theme, other than, as Morticia says, “Let’s live before we die”.
The STAR version of “The Addams Family” is directed by first time director Katie Rideout. She is assisted by Musical Director Benjamin Goneia, Choreographers Kevin Burroughs and Riayn Harris. Costuming was handled by a large staff of 6, as well as 11 set designers and painters putting together an impressive Addams living room. Make-up and hair designs, props on stage and stage crew, not to mention a variety of other groups, were all handled by teams. The true theatrical experience is offered by involvement in a STAR Theatre production. There will be something for everyone to become involved with.
STAR Repertory Theatre was voted 1st out of 39 nominated theatre groups, on the San Diego A-List, as the Best Theatre Group in San Diego. This is STAR’s fourth San Diego A-List win. For more information about STAR Repertory on how to get you or your family involved e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to ww.STARrepertoroytheatre.com.
Next up for STAR is “Oliver” in December, to be staged at The Avo Playhouse in downtown Historic Vista in mid-December. Auditions will be held Sept. 18 and 19. For information go to the web site listed above.