The Addams Family presented by Kensington Arts Theatre, better known by its acronym KAT, is full up with professional performers, Bachelor of Arts/Music and Master of Arts graduates from top local universities and 30-year theater veterans. Unsurprisingly, the level of talent that KAT attracts is evident in the quality their productions. To put it mildly, The Addams Family at KAT is a just plain fun night out. But I digress…
The Addams Family is a quick moving, entertaining musical that delivers the laughs. There are even a few cheeky jokes snuck in there just for the adults and enough scattered curse words to make the kids in the audience snicker. Just like the movies and television programs before it, The Addams Family musical walks that fine line between edgy and family friendly with ease.
‘The Addams Family’ at Kensington Arts Theatre is a professional grade production to be extremely proud of and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Opening with the well-known and well-loved Addams Family theme song, the rest of the musical moves quickly and seamlessly through its scenes and songs. The Addams Family plot revolves chiefly around Wednesday Addam’s (local high school senior Camryn Shegogue) love affair with the chipper, upbeat and frankly, adorable Lucas Beineke (Ryan Burke). The subsequence consequences for their desperately different families drive the musical forward.
Upon entering the venue for The Addams Family, the Kensington Town Center, it is evident that a lot of love and effort went in to producing a top-notch production. A hundred or so seats are assembled on a large riser in the Center’s large main room. A raised stage features a projection screen, which provides background imaging and sets the scene throughout the performance. A large, moveable, pillared gate guards the entrance to the stage. The entire set is smartly constructed and engaging but never distracts from the performers or limits their movements.
Director Craig Pettinati and his production team (Producer/Set Dresser Malca Giblin, Asst. Director/Stage Manager John Nunemaker, Set Designer/Set Painting Designer /Master Carpenter Matt Karner, Lighting Designer Xena Petkanas and Sound Designer Dan Caughran) make smart use of the ensemble or ‘Ancestors’ (Elizabeth Grace Colandene, Gabrielle Amaro, Nick Carter, Emily Dey, Dana Herson, Kyra Koh and Magali Palmer-Young) in surprising and innovative ways.
The Addams Family relies heavily on dress and costume to identify characters and set the mood. Thanks to Costume Designer Eleanor B. Dicks, Makeup Designer Scott Beadle and Hair/Wig Designer Stephen D. Welsh, the entire ensemble is impeccably turned out in the grand Addams family tradition.
The Addams Family musical gives every character the chance to establish their individual character and personality through song. Buoyed by the talent of each and every actor onstage this makes for a very delightful and fulfilling experience. These songs and scenes give the audience the chance to connect with the characters onstage and for this reason it is easy to become invested in the outcome of the play and stay engaged throughout the performance.
Shegogue and Burke are a bit of an oddball couple onstage but are well paired to weather conflict. Shegogue’s voice is impressively powerful and she manages to encapsulate the turmoil experienced by her character as she transitions from adolescence to adulthood and experiences the joys that only love bring.
Bobby Libby (Gomez Addams) has a commanding presence, clear voice and a flair for character development. Among an array of impressive moments, Libby handled an unexpected Kensington Town Center fire alarm, complete with flashing horns, lights and explanatory voice, like an improve pro, making a stunned and confused audience laugh hysterically. Laura O’Brien (Morticia Addams) is a formidable Morticia. Singing and dance with ease, O’Brien is cold, sexy and graceful; everything that Morticia should be.
Uncle Fester (Chuck Dluhy) is the unofficial narrator and the mind behind the madness. Dluhy taps into the inherent joy of the character and gleefully works away on stage to successfully transfer his joy to the audience.
All members of the Addams family, including Grandma (Liz Weber), Lurch (David “DJ” Wojciehowski) and the Beineke family, including Mal (Chris Gillepsie) and Alice (Lisa Carrier Baker) deliver spot on and heart-felt portrayals. However, I would be remiss not to recognize individually the talents of 7th grader John Ray (Pugsley Addams).
The Addams Family at Kensington Arts Theatre is a professional grade production to be extremely proud of and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It is entertaining, well-developed and the music is upbeat and catchy (snap-snap). The Addams Family brought me back to a place of childhood and is just risqué and engaging enough to captivate both adults and children alike. Get your tickets quick because the Saturday night show was completely sold-out!
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes, with intermission.
The Addams Family runs through November 22, 2014 at Kensington Arts Theatre at Kensington Town Center, 3710 Mitchell St, Kensington, MD 20895. For tickets call (202) 888-6642 or click here.