Manistee News Advocate, October 23, 2018
A spooky spectacle: ‘The Addams Family’ musical comedy opens Friday
By Ashlyn Korienek
Classic characters will come to life in the Manistee Civic Players' “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy." (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)
MANISTEE — A creepy, mysterious family will hit the stage for opening night on Friday, as the Manistee Civic Players’ rendition of “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy” brings classic characters to life, just in time to celebrate the week of Halloween.
The macabre musical comedy will be held at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, it runs through Nov. 4 with curtain time at 7:30 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows, and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees.
This production was created by award-winning authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”), composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (“The Wild Party”).
The local rendition of the Addams Family show is directed by Jackie Karnisz and Paula Laws, as part of the Manistee Civic Players, and features a hysterical original story, singing, dancing and all of the favorite Addams Family characters.
Karnisz said the crew is nearly ready for opening night, with final touches on costumes, makeup and props ready to go, bringing the Addams Family to life, right here in Manistee.
“We really tried to base what we are doing on the original television series,” Karnisz said. “There are a lot of specialty makeup (looks), the ancestors especially because they are supposed to be ‘dead.’ It takes a lot of time.”
Items for the set were all collected and created specially for the show, and Karnisz said one item, Morticia Addams’ chair, was something she picked up a few years ago, without any need for it.
“Some things have been made. We have been loaned some things, found some things and it was weird, I found Morticia’s chair two years ago,” Karnisz said. “I did not need it for anything but when the show came up, I knew why I needed it.”
In this spooky, kooky world, the Addams Family is facing a whole new, grave crisis and it is every father’s worst nightmare, but in reverse. The dark, Gothic daughter, Wednesday, has grown up and has fallen in love with a “normal” young man, Lucas Beineke, from Ohio — a swing state.
A turn of events, the romance has seemed to turn Wednesday into a cheerful young lady, which leaves her family a bit concerned. Comedic chaos takes over when they host a dinner for Wednesday’s new boyfriend.
The show, Karnisz said, is sure to have a little something for everybody. One special feature about this production, she said there is a diverse cast, all with a vast range of experience. She said the public has been eager to find out more about the show.
“A lot of people have been asking questions about it,” she said. “They are excited that we are at the Ramsdell, especially with this kind of show. In the show, we have our youngest actor at age 11, and we have a variety of ages all the way up to folks, like myself, in their 60s.”
Karnisz said there were numerous volunteers that made the show possible.
“We have so many volunteers, when people see the programs they will see how many people it took to put on this show,” she said. “It’s quite a few, actually. I am quite impressed with the numbers.”
Starring in the musical comedy is MCP newcomer Amanda Feyen, as Morticia; MCP veteran Ben Hengy, as Gomez; Leanna Engwall, as Wednesday; Cameron Mitchell, as Pugsley; Robert Isble, as Uncle Fester; Elizabeth Zupin, as Grandmama; John Starmann, as Lurch; Zachary Weber, as Lucas; and Jordan Sell and Katie Biehl as the parents, Mal and Alice Beineke.
A group of spirited ancestors from past generations haunt the scenes, including: Olivia Holtgren, David Holmer, Kyle Wojcik, Caroline Nellist, Cynthia McKenney, Scott McKenney, Christine Hren, Nicholas Osborn, Ron Grew, Joan Grew, Espen Bluestein, Lauren Hanna, Cassie Pendry, Gracey Anderson, Kaleb Shoemate, Angelina Sam, Olyvia Becerra, Elizabeth Chorley, Kaitlynne Lange and Lillie Schafer.
Musical director, Bob Brenner and choreographer Shannon Snyder, were key in providing singing and dancing for the show.
The pit orchestra is made up of nine area musicians: Mary Paine (flute), Amy Tindall (clarinet), Ryan Biller (woodwinds), Larry Babcock (trumpet), Henry Minster (trombone), John Storms-Rohm (piano), John Petersen (violin, mandolin and bass), Tom Amor (drums) and Joyce Brenner (percussion).
The Ramsdell Theatre is located at 101 Maple St. in Manistee. Call (231) 723-7188 for tickets, or buy them at the door.
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