The Hippo


Apr 26, 2019








The Peacock Players’ Addams Family. Courtesy photo.

See The Addams Family

Where: Janice B. Streeter Theater, 14 Court St., Nashua
When: Friday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 22, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $10 to $17
Contact:, 886-7000

Warts and all
Peacock Players’ take on The Addams Family

By Kelly Sennott

The Peacock Players promise kooky, spooky, ooky fun this weekend with their rendition of The Addams Family. (Snap snap.)

There will be ghastly makeup and costumes (possibly the longest wig ever onstage, to be worn by Cousin It); Thriller- and Dancing with the Stars-inspired choreography; a chorus of ghost family members; sword fighting; stilt-walking; sword-fighting while stilt-walking; and, of course, the characteristic silliness that epitomizes the death-loving family that began with cartoons by Charles Addams.
It happens at the Janice B. Streeter Theater this weekend and next.
“When we look at the makeup of our season, I like doing a mix of older and newer titles,” said Peacock Players artistic director (and show director) Keith Weirich during a recent rehearsal.
This is one of the newer titles. It hit Broadway in 2010 and starred Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, Weirich says it most resembles the comic strip.
“It’s terribly funny,” Weirich said. “But I also think the score is incredibly luscious and fabulous. That’s one of the things that really drew me to it. … I think it’s actually a nice throwback to classic Broadway musicals.”
At the plot’s center are four love stories. One is about Gomez and Morticia’s “honest,” unadulterated passion for one another. Another is about Alice and Mal Beineke, a couple of normals whose fire is dimming down. The most significant: that between Wednesday and her “normal” boyfriend Lucas Beineke, which has — gasp — caused Wednesday to consider wearing colors other than black. Maybe even bright yellow. 
Uncle Fester is in love with the moon.
The play encircles a single dinner at the Addams mansion with both families in attendance. Wednesday and Luke beg their parents to please act normal, but, of course, that doesn’t happen. Dark potions are drunk, secrets are dispelled, ghost ancestors invade a mansion (a French courtier, a victim of the Titanic and a former bullfighter are included in the mix), and death waits just around the corner.
Twenty-seven kids, mostly aged 14 to 18, will bring to life these characters and others, with cameo appearances by Cousin It, Thing and Lurch. Auditions drew record-breaking numbers.
“I like the humor in it,” said Brandon Feliciano, who plays Gomez. “I also like how it captures the essence of what the Addams family is.”
The score has a slight Spanish influence, Weirich said, and the dance numbers cater to this and to the family’s quirky, death-loving ways.
“I think the music lends itself to certain pieces of movement that are just fun and quirky and ugly,” said Valerie Psoinos Nelson, the show’s choreographer. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just needs to be funky, it needs to be quirky.”
For the most part, the dances are comprised of “stiff, broken, zombie-esque” movement. 
Except one, which required watching and rewatching Dancing with the Stars. Nelson choreographed a seven-minute tango number for Gomez and Morticia, which was no easy feat; not only was she designing for beginner dancers, but when it comes to the tango, Nelson’s a beginner herself.
There are musical challenges here too.
“The choral stuff is really thick. I wouldn’t say it’s the most difficult thing we’ve worked on, by any means, but it’s lush. It’s very deep, and there’s a lot more to it than I was expecting,” Weirich said. 
Weirich says he particularly enjoys seeing transformations like Christina Higginson’s, who was shy during the interview, but every night becomes a sarcastic, nonchalant, very dark Morticia.
The show will be family-friendly; Weirich doesn’t think it’s something that will scare little kids away (he’s bringing his own four-year-old). In fact, he thinks they’ll find it hilarious, and that they’ll learn an important truth during this production.
“There’s an acceptance message,” Weirich said. “It doesn’t matter how weird people are. You love them, warts and all the spooky, kooky things they do.” 
As seen in the November 13, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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