Suze Diaz …A ghoulishly good way to kick off the month of October was to attend the final showing of “The Addams Family”! The Star Theatre in Oceanside had presented this
fantastic production on September 22nd through October 1st. All of your favorite characters from the vintage television show were expertly portrayed. Featuring an original story and peppered with well-executed song and dance routines, I was intrigued and delighted to see how this would transition into a musical comedy. “The Addams Family” is one of six productions in the 2017 Season.
But first, let me give you a little background on The Star Theatre. (Information derived from https://www.startheatreco.com) On the corner of Civic Center Drive and Coast Highway, this cultural gem first opened in August 18, 1956. The Star Theatre was designed by architect William Glenn Balch and is one of 17 built that were located in California. This particular theater is the last one that is still open. The Star Theatre has had its share of ups and downs through the years as multi-screen mega theaters popped up. With a sparkling marquee that brings back memories of a long-lost era, love for this theater helped bring it back into the movie business once again in the 90s and was named a Historic Resource in 1998. In May 2001, with the help of Poinsettia Center for the Arts, it was established as the base for live performing arts. There is an invitation on the website to join the theater family by being part of their efforts to contribute toward the building improvement fund to help the landmark thrive and support the arts for future years to come.
As I walked into the theater, I noticed a mini-red carpet area on the right side of the lobby with “The Star Theatre Company” backdrop and appropriately decorated with a cob-webbed coffin on one side and an old-fashioned lamppost with a bones and creepy sign ornamentation on the other. At the center of the lobby, there was a spooky black-webbed table dedicated to collecting items for “Welcome Bags” for the Ronald McDonald House. A simple skull marked table to purchase miniature skull necklaces was positioned right beside it. Across the way, was the Opportunity Drawing table showing items of intrigue available to the winning $1 raffle tickets chosen at the end of intermission.
Refreshments are available should you need a snack before the show. As I made my way up the stairs, I couldn’t help but notice how cozy the theater was and felt relaxed as I sat in my seat. They don’t make theater seats like these anymore: the kind that you sink into the cushions and the back gives a little so you can rock yourself into comfort. I was excited and couldn’t wait for the show to start.
The Producing Artistic Director of the show, David Schultz, greeted us, thanked us for our attendance and gave us tips on how we could be part of the show with our participation. Then….lights, action….a hand appeared and opened the curtain to beautifully-crafted screens of Halloween-style visualization prompted by the original score of the vintage show. It was met with enthusiasm as we clapped and snapped our way at the appropriate parts of the song. You couldn’t help but smile and be in awe of the animation of the video presentation.
The story presented in The Addams Family is about love: Wednesday Addams (Allyce Calloway) meets a sweet, smart young man named Lucas Beinecke (David Spitzfaden) and falls in love unbeknownst to her family. She confides in her father of this fact but with the stipulation that he doesn’t tell her mother. Gomez Addams (Johnny Fletcher) tries to do what a good father will do to show his daughter that he could keep a secret but at the risk of arousing wife Morticia’s (Erica Marie Weisz) wily suspicions. Uncle Fester (Patrick O’Connor), Grandmama (Lexie Machado), brother Pugsley (Jackson Taitano) and even Lurch (Greg Burman) have their own hilarious viewpoint of the whole matter. The creepy, kooky family plans a dinner with Lucas’ family (Kyle Trott, Sandra Kopitzke) and tries to show Wednesday their love and support by having the whole Addams family try to act….Normal. What could happen when two families of two completely different backgrounds meet for the first time?
The casting of each character was exquisite. Each actor and actress that was picked for their specific part was incredibly superb. The set and stage props were wonderfully created. It was a hoot to see the changing of the “pictures” on the walls of the mansion during particular parts of certain scenes. The acting, vocals and timing of witty jokes sprinkled throughout the performance were exemplary. I laughed out loud at quite a few spots! The song and dance numbers were electric and there was even one number where Death itself was hoofing it up nicely with a scythe in hand. I couldn’t help but dance in my seat during a few songs! The blended voices of singers of the “Ancestor” groups were excellent. Their opening number with Uncle Fester as they “escaped” from the crypt was delightfully executed. Tender moments between characters couldn’t help but touch your soft side and the realization that the moral of the story is about being true to you and to love who you are. No play wouldn’t be complete without a surprise at the end: Lurch sings, a very cute Cousin It (Parker Taitano) and Uncle Fester gives a great laugh-inducing pun! For an original story, this one was startlingly impressive. I’m certain the almost sold-out crowd would agree!
Treat yourself to a marvelous time and come to one of the remaining two productions of The Star Theatre Company’s 2017 Season: Hairspray debuts on November 10th and Annie debuts on December 8th. Also, take a look at their website for more information of other activities available at https://www.startheatreco.com ~ When they say “EXPECT….AMAZING!”, I’m here to say They Deliver!