‘The Addams Family’ brings newly renovated Blackbox theater to life


Photo credit: Amalea Brown

During a dress rehearsal, Willow Stein (’22) sings as the lead character, Wednesday Addams. The central tension in the play revolves around Addams’ engagement to the ordinary Lucas Beineke. “I was really proud of myself and excited to perform because [this photo was taken] at the very end of the first act. It was our first performance with a live audience,” Stein said.

Thirty-one student cast members performed “The Addams Family” in the recently renovated Blackbox theater on Nov. 15, bringing the new space to life.

Before the construction of the Diana Meehan Academic Center in 2018, the Blackbox theater was home to school productions for 18 years. Once construction began, the theater was no longer accessible, so productions were held off-campus in nearby locations such as The Miles Memorial Playhouse. With the completion of the new building, it re-opened for use in fall of 2019.

“The Addams Family” originally appeared as single-panel cartoons in The New Yorker magazine in 1938. The Telegraph calls the Addams “one of the most iconic American families.” “The Addams Family” eventually transformed from cartoons to television to musical theater. 

The musical follows the Addams family, who enjoy morbid antics, and their reaction to Wednesday Addams’ engagement with Lucas Beineke, who comes from an average American family.

While the Addams family is fictional, senior Audrey Choate said the family within the cast is incredibly real. Choate appears as the character Mal Beineke, Lucas’s father, who is a conservative Ohioan.

“I think what makes the musical special is the community and the friends that I have made over the years,” Choate said. 

Due to the Getty Fire, which placed the school under mandatory evacuation, there were four days of school closures, ultimately setting back the rehearsal schedule. The week following the Getty fire was “important” for making up the lost time; director Reed Farley said that the cast rehearsed until eight p.m. several nights in a row outside of normal tech weeks.

Farley credited the flexibility of the schedule to the new theater.

“The fire was a lot less impactful than had we been rehearsing off campus,” Farley said.

On Nov. 13, the cast previewed the musical for the upper school. Laughs echoed throughout the theater as the cast paraded across the stage. Opening night was on November 15, with closing night being on November 16. Assistant director Ava Vinton (’20) reflected on the final product of the musical.

“Everyone had a lot of fun with their parts, and I think the audience could tell. I think that’s when a show is at its best — when the actors are actually having fun performing.” Vinton said. “It’s been a month, and I still miss it.”