Summer show is joint effort of FMHS Drama Department, new Platte Valley Theatre Company
Morgan Larsen and Nathan Howe were not messing around when they decided to put on a summer musical at Fort Morgan High School.
Even knowing that they would have just one week for rehearsals, on-site set building and everything else that goes into putting on a musical, the director and musical/technical director decided to go for it.
They picked a familiar subject, if not a well-known or classic show, for this dramatic endeavor: “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy.”
The show, which opened on Broadway in spring 2010, features the spooky, wacky, snapping family from the TV show and movies, but with a new tale being told that puts the members of the Addams family and their guests in some unusual and unexpected situations. It is on stage at 6 p.m. Friday and both 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday in the Glenn Miller Auditorium at FMHS.
“I picked this show because it has a really good mix of lead characters and ensemble characters,” Larsen said. “So there isn’t one single person in the play who doesn’t have a fun part.”
Larsen and Howe are hoping that people will recognize the subjects and come see the musical who have memories of watching the TV show and movies featuring the Addams Family.
“I think it’s different than anything we’ve ever done before in Fort Morgan,” Howe said. “It’s really clever.”
Something else that makes it different is that this show is a joint venture of the Fort Morgan High School Drama Department and the just-formed Platte Valley Theatre Company, a nonprofit community theatre group.
The cast and crew feature a mix of current and former Fort Morgan High School students, spanning 12 years of graduating classes, plus the current drama teacher Larsen as director, former orchestra teacher Howe as music and technology director and longtime backstage helper John Carlson as props coordinator.
The cast includes adults who took time off from work to return to Fort Morgan from far away to be in this musical, college students who came back for part or all of the summer and some current FMHS students.
“Everyone who is here took a week off,” Larsen said.
That includes Sam Baldwin, who came back to play Morticia Addams.
“It feels very odd to be back in Fort Morgan with people I went to high school with almost 10 years ago,” she said.
“It’s comforting, though,” fellow FMHS alum Josh Clift-Jinkins, who plays Gomez Addams, said. “It’s people we’ve worked with before and the same director. We fell back into the same pattern.”
Conner Gerken, who plays Uncle Fester, graduated more recently than Baldwin or Clift-Jinkins.
“It’s nice to have a lot of alumni,” he said. “It’s great seeing all these people I did drama with.”
Kyla Carpenter, who plays Wednesday Addams, only graduated this past May, but taking on a role in the summer musical just reaffirmed what it was like for her after her last show as a high school student not long ago.
“This is the first time I’m not coming back in the fall,” she said. “That’s definitely going to be weird. I didn’t think I’d get to do this again.”
Ben Garduno, who will be a junior at FMHS this year, is playing Pugsley Addams. He has gotten to experience preparing and acting alongside actors more experienced and older than himself.
“It’s very stressful, but also exciting,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve felt like I was in a really big production. It’s exciting to get to do this stuff.”
Matthew Hofman, who has been away from high school for a while but also was a part of the “Guys and Dolls” summer musical a couple years ago, said he was thrilled to be back in a production being directed by Larsen and to play Lurch, no less.
“There’s something about this stage, this community, this environment,” he said. “It’s magical just to be a part of it.”
And the spooky magic – and music – of the Addams Family will be alive and well on the stage on Friday night and twice Saturday.
“There’s really a lot of awesome songs in this,” Hofman said.
“It’s the most rock ‘n’ roll show I’ve ever been a part of here,” Carpenter said. “There’s lot of fun beats and it’s really fun to sing and dance with.”
“It’s so bizarre,” Clift-Jinkins said. “It’s so out there.”
“If you think you know the Addams Family, you don’t,” Hofman said.
But there’s also a story that will offer the audience familiar parts of the Addams Family lore, Gerken pointed out, plus some romance, comedy and tears.
“A little bit of normal, a little bit of weird,” he said. “We’ve got something for everyone.”
Performances of “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy” are at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday. General admission tickets, available at the door before each show, cost $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.
Jenni Grubbs: [email protected] or Twitter @JenniGrubbs