Theatre Thursday

Lessons from Addams Family… Round Two

Before I begin I must give credit to my friend, and talented photographer, John Bruning, for the excellent photos of our process and production.  His talents and contributions for our theatre program can not be measured.  He is truly a valuable member of our team!

We recently (well, a month ago) closed our production of Addams Family – the Musical.  I love our little production team!  Jeff, Linda and I have been working together for many years.  We counted recently and discovered that I have worked with Jeff on 35 show (and counting) at school and at least 8 community theatre show.  Jeff and Linda have worked together for 28 shows and most of them with me along for the ride.  We are a force to be reckoned with!

Addams Family was another one of our successes.  I know I have been blogging a little here and there about our process, from auditioning (click here to see that post)…


to building the set (click here to read about building the stairs…



– click here to read about painting the set…


– click here to read about building the set)…


to some of the makeup designs (click here to read about Grandma Addams makeup).


The rehearsal process was full of great lessons!  I will write a blog all about the lessons learned in rehearsal in a few weeks.

Addams Family rehearsals were more than blocking and character development.  Addams Family rehearsals taught great lessons in problem solving skills, commitment, a willingness to work cooperatively with others and to work independently, respect for others and their ideas, adaptability, focus and self-discipline. (Be sure to watch in the future weeks for a blog about lessons learned in rehearsal.


I also wrote about the power of having a great chorus (click here to read about having a great chorus).


We had great leading actors…  actors with skill and dedication.

Actors willing to adopt uncomfortable postures and time consuming makeups.


Actors willing to sacrifice for their art… including the willingness to sacrifice their hair.


Actors who work hard, even outside of rehearsal, to develop their talents and skills.


Actors who endure long rehearsals… sometimes in killer heels.


Actors who are willing to dive deep into the subtext of their show.


Actors who are willing to get “outside their box” and stretch.


Actors who are willing to give their all, all the time.


Actors who see the need and value of every character and work toward that perfect ensemble cast.


We were blessed to have MaryAnn Potter do costumes for us.  She did the costumes for the production I directed at Pentacle Theatre a few years ago. (click here is you wish to read about that production).  She is amazing!  She was able to borrow, alter and create some fantastic costumes.  A student, Kassidy Nelson, and her parents created some amazing props: an awesome rocket with lights and smoke, Grandma Addams fun wagon of goodies, a creative monster puppet, etc.  We had an army of parents that pitched in and helped with costumes, ticket sales, set construction, and concessions.  We even had two former students come in and help with sound.  Then, there were the student crew members who worked incredibly hard to set up mics, move scenery, help with makeup design and application, ran lights and spot light, house managed, and ushered.  This program is truly student driven.


All of this reinforced the lesson the Addams Family uses as their motto…

“It’s family first and family last and family by and by…”


These kids, the people, this production team, they are my family.  Family defines me.  We all need to feel loved and that we are part of something great.  Family creates that for us.  Family can be blood.  Family can be friends.  Family and be “undecided.”  It is family that gives us the opportunity to develop into our greatest potential.

Of course, it helps that my family is involved from my husband who comes to help me build and strike, to my adult daughter who comes to help me paint and run sound, to my youngest daughter who was an ancestor in the show and took on the difficult and thankless job as an understudy.


It’s not like the Addams Family is deep, philosophical theater.

“Why do I do it?… It’s fun!”

This show is based on the cartoon that appeared in the New Yorker magazine for many years.  Seriously, it is not deep.  Yet, I find that I can identify with the show on many levels.  Many of my own beliefs and thoughts were reaffirmed through my second experience with this silly, fun show.

“What I lack in depth I make up for in shallowness.”

Don’t we all need a little more silly?  The world is dark enough.  We just need the opportunity to let go and laugh.


“Let’s all be normal.”  Normal is hard define.  I am still NOT normal.  I am not a “normal” parent.  I am NOT a “normal” educator.  I am NOT a “normal” Mormon.  I am NOT a “normal” theater geek.

What is “normal” anyway?  Normal is to conform to the typical or expected.  The truth is we all have our own kind of “normal.”  We may long to be “normal,” but we create our “normal.”  We are all unique.  Our differences are what makes us “normal.”  Actually, I have learned that we need to remove this perception of “normal.”  We need to remove the old notions of judgement of ourselves and of our peers.  We need to embrace our differences and spread kindness and happiness to others.  The truth is we are all normal; we are all just people.


“Keep no secrets…”

Honesty is the best policy. You should always tell the truth, even when it seems as if it would be useful to tell a lie.  The truth is never overrated.  All of our relationships are strengthened when we tell the truth.  Besides, lie have a way of sneaking up and biting you on the butt!


…”all my inhibitions have been muzzled…”

When you have inhibitions, you’re self-conscious and maybe a little anxious.  As I continue working with the kids at the high school and with my friend Jeff, I am noticing that I am getting bolder.  I am not sure if it’s a good thing.  I do know that this school year I’ve been pulled in new directions.  I don’t teach seminary anymore.  I will soon only have one kid at home.  My life is changing… ready or not!


I learned that Cupid carries a crossbow.  LOL.


I have learned that theater is my sport!


I have learned that “waiting” is all it’s cracked up to be.  In fact, sometimes you just need to let loose and let all you have bottled up out!


I still identify with Morticia.  We both struggle to let go and see our children fly away and become the amazing adults we have trained them to be.  We both have control issues. We both rule the roost.  We both have husbands who adore us and do the most ridiculous things to pleased us.  We are both a mystery to those who meet us.  We both have a dark side and a light side.  Funny… nothing has changed since the last production.


I have learned that you just need to “own it!”  “Death is just around the corner.”  There is nor time to waste.  Learn something new.  Talk to people you have never talked to and maybe always wanted to.  Start a new hobby.  Own it and live life to the fullest!


I learned that life is at it’s fullest when you dance… with the moon.


I have learned that it is acceptable to be “crazier than you.”  It’s what makes life interesting.


I have learned that sometimes we need to remember the passions and dreams we had in our youth.


I have learned that watching these students is happy and sad.  Happy to see them grow and learn and sad because they eventually become seniors and move on.


Life is too short to dwell on the “what if”.  Grab today; grab the people you love; grab opportunities that come your way; grab happy thoughts, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.


I learned that getting a little R$R is good… it helps to refresh, rebuild, and replenish.


I have learned to all relationships can be mended… especially among family.


‘Cause in the moment that you’re frightened, life is real.” I loved working on this show just as much as I loved working on the first Addams Family production I worked on.  I loved working with my talented girls once again.  I loved working with my husband on a goofy project.  I loved working with one of my dearest and best friends, Jeff and I loved adding Linda to the mix.  I loved getting to know new kids.  I loved working with this cast.

“and love, love, love, love.”

 “Are you unhappy my darling?”

2 thoughts on “Lessons from Addams Family… Round Two”

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