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MAHS' 'Addams Family' is Quirky, Creepy Fun

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams
The Tube City Almanac
April 11, 2019
Posted in: Entertainment

Cast of "The Addams Family" musical awaits opening night at McKeesport Area High School. (Photo courtesy of producer Carolyn Carreiro)

If you go...


McKeesport Area High School presents “The Addams Family”

Where: McKeesport Area High School auditorium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

When: 7:30 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13, plus a matinee at 2 p.m. April 13

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, available at the high school 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Fans of the original “Addams Family” TV show or subsequent movies may find it difficult to believe the story could be updated and made into – of all things – a musical.

But it has, and McKeesport Area High students are ready to bring their interpretation of its quirky and sometimes macabre characters such as Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, and even their extended family of living relatives and ancestors to the high school stage April 11, 12 and 13.

All versions are based on characters from cartoons by Charles Addams that appeared in the New Yorker.

In the musical, little Wednesday is all grown up and has fallen in love – with Lucas Beineke from a “normal” family from Ohio.

When they contemplate marriage, Wednesday and Lucas decide it is time for their families to meet, often with hilarious outcomes.

Producer Carolyn Carreiro said she, the director, choreographer, and music director liked that there were a lot of lead roles in “The Addams Family” when they were considering what show to stage.

She said the available talent was so good, that they decided to double cast many of the parts.

“We have such amazing talent and want to showcase them,” she said. “Double casting opens up more opportunities for them to earn a lead. Plus it seems to help the students learn how to work together; we expect them to help their opposite cast members.

“I firmly believe the only reason to not double cast is that it makes it difficult for the production staff. However, we are doing this for the students,” the producer said.

Double cast as Morticia Addams are Ray'Myah Pryor and Carlie Humanic. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

Ana Chelosky and Josh Klein will play the lead roles of Wednesday and Lucas during every performance, along with Wesley Wernsman as Fester and Dynaya Harper as Lurch.

The rest of the Addams family and Lucas’ parents are double cast. Matt Diamond and Adam Martinelli are Gomez Addams, Ray’Myah Pryor and Carlie Humanic play Morticia Addams, Olivia Bakaturski and Mikaela Wade are Grandma Addams, Tayler Cleveland and Keara Shields portray Pugsley Addams, with Charlotte Graham and Tayler Montalbano as Alice Beineke, and Hailey Morgart and Nya O’Neal as Mal Beineke.

Matt, in his fifth musical at McKeesport Area High School, said he actively pursued the role of Gomez.

“It’s been an interesting ride,” he said. “It’s very stressful sometimes because there’s a lot going on.”

Musical and dance numbers abound, with lots of catchy tunes, albeit some with unusual and unexpected lyrics.

An example is “One Normal Night,” with the definition of “normal” vastly different from each family’s viewpoint.

Matt said his favorite number is “Happy Sad,” when Gomez acknowledges that his little girl has grown up.

“The song is about a father giving up his daughter to another man,” Matt said. “It connects with the audience.”

While Addams family members have their dark sides, Matt said audiences may be surprised to discover they have moral standards and happiness as well.

Despite some serious moments, Matt said he’s happy to be performing in a comedic musical his senior year.

And when he’s not playing Gomez, Matt and the others double cast still are onstage as Addams family ancestors.

Charlotte said she was surprised when she was cast as Lucas’ mom Alice Beineke as a freshman, and nervous when they asked her to sing not one number, but two when she auditioned.

“I had one number (from the show) prepared,” she said, “but then they asked me to sing another. I play violin, so I could read the music, but I had not practiced it.”

Her character, despite being considered as from the more “normal” of the two families, has quite a few quirks of her own -- such as rhyming everything she says.

“This is the most dancing I have ever done,” she added.

Stage Manager Madison Kwiecinski and Alexia Derganz apply a coat of paint to what will become the dining room table for a dinner with the Addams Family and special guests Alice, Mal and Lucas Beineke. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

Alexia said she’s happy to be in the ensemble and play the Caveman ancestor, adding the Flintstone-like dress may be her all-time favorite.

“I’ve always been in the ensemble,” Alexia said. “I can help (producer) Carolyn out with things like the fundraising baskets we started two years ago. Last year I helped with ads. I help with anything that I can … sets, everything is so important for a good show.”

Carreiro said the most challenging part of this production was constructing the set.

“We always have a difficult time with the set because of time and financial restrictions,” she said. “We can’t start doing any of our major build until after the March Music in our Schools concert. This year we have a lot of major pieces to put together in a month’s time.”

As far as her favorite number, the producer said she loves the opening – “When You’re an Addams.”

“This is when we get introduced to the family ancestors as they are emerging from their graves,” Carreiro said. “It is a big dance number and the students have worked so hard to master the difficult choreography. They do such a great job.”

Cast and Crew

Thursday/Saturday matinee: Matt Diamond as Gomez Addams, Ray’Myah Pryor as Morticia Addams, Olivia Bakaturski as Grandma Addams, Tayler Cleveland as Pugsley Addams, Charlotte Graham as Alice Beineke, and Hailey Morgart as Mal Beineke.

Friday/Saturday evening: Adam Martinelli as Gomez Addams, Carlie Humanic as Morticia Addams, Mikaela Wade as Grandma Addams, Keara Shields as Pugsley Addams, Tayler Montalbano as Alice Beineke, and Nya O’Neal as Mal Beineke.

Every performance: Wesley Wernsman as Fester, Ana Chelosky as Wednesday Addams, Dynaya Harper as Lurch, and Josh Klein as Lucas Beineke.

Ancestors are Ryan Ziino as Conquistador, Alexia Derganz as Caveman, Crystal Reynolds as Soldier, Bethany Rubright as Saloon Girl, Jessica Wakefield as Bride, Johnathan Gramby as Puritan, and Kyra Puc as Flight Attendant. Leads who are double cast also play ancestors on alternate days.

Producer, Carolyn Carreiro; Director, Sean Thornton; Orchestra Director, Sarah Persin; Choreographer, Samantha Mitchell; Vocal Director, Sean Thornton; Assistant Director, Paul Fields; and Assistant Vocal Director, Kaelynn Hillegass.

Madison Kwiecinski is stage manager, with Ben Bossart and Jason Shank on stage crew.

Orchestra includes students and guest musicians. Violin – Ariana Berger, Alexa Krznaric, Marena Mathe, Hannah Smith, and Dylan Zavetsky. Cello – Adam Savage and Rocco Tarli. Flute – ZeVain Andrews and Jenna Ruozzi. Clarinet – Alexa Krznaric and Mrs. Karen Cole. Saxophone – Joseph Lukac and Erik Stripsky. Trombone – Richard Graham, Dylan Szepesi, Stephen Wilhelm, and Mr. Jeff Kesser. Trumpets – Julian Daniele, Rafael Daniele, Travis Scoville, and Mr. Jake Szimae. Percussion – Tommy Cicci, Ty-Juan Thomas, Sydney Townsend, and Mr. Keith Parton. Guitar – Mr. Robert Sheffer. Bass, Ms. Tommi Barnes. Piano – Mr. Aaron Gray.

Bonnijean Cooney Adams is a former McKeesport Daily News editor. She may be reached at adamsclick@aol.com.

Originally published April 11, 2019.

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