“It’s family first and family last and family by and by.” Those are some lyrics from the opening song from “The Addams Family,” a musical that had an original Broadway cast that included the likes of Nathan Lane. The Ross Ragland Theater’s version of the musical opens Friday with different cast and crew, but those involved said that the family-first message remains the same.
“In the end, it’s all about family,” said Faye Crenshaw, who is co-directing the musical with her husband Dan. She said the plot revolves around some family drama after Wednesday, the Addams’ brooding, somewhat sadistic daughter, falls in love and wants to keep it a secret from her mother, who she thinks won’t approve.
Of course, though, it is a musical, so it needs a happy ending, though the Addams’ may have preferred a gorier aesthetic. “In the end, it all works out,” Crenshaw said.
Crenshaw said that the show has a cast of about 25 people, and that the theater community is thriving locally.
“We have a very large theater community in Klamath Falls,” she said. “There are lots of people in this small town with the desire to perform, the desire to share their talents with the community. It’s wonderful; we really have an abnormally large community for a town of this size.”
Mathew Landsiedel, who plays the Addams family’s eccentric patriarch, Gomez, with a passionate devotion to his witchy wife, Morticia, said he has had a lot of fun working on this show.
“There are a lot of people who I haven’t worked with before,” he said. “It’s always fun to have a large group like this, where you can meet new people.”
Crenshaw said that, although people in Klamath Falls are very supportive of the theater, she decided to tone down the musical a bit to make it more suitable for the whole community. Indeed, the original Broadway show is a bit raunchy, with innuendos galore. People are familiar with the Addams’, however, and have been for quite a while. The content from the Addams family canon, which started as a comic strip in the 1930s, has long been enjoyed by people of all ages, as long as they aren’t bothered with a bit of macabre and cynicism.
“It is very family-friendly. It takes both from the original comic strip, as well as the sitcom from the ‘60s, and some elements from the movies, too. It’s kind of a conglomeration of everything.” Landsiedel said.
Marcail Muno, 9, is playing the notoriously hairy Cousin Itt. She has been acting for a long time, for her age: starting on stage before she was born, in utero during a production her mother was in. She said the cast and crew have been working hard on this production.
“I feel like people should come because we took a lot of work for it,” she said. Muno’s unique costume requires even more hard work to stay cool under the stage lights. “After just one song, I was sweating like crazy.”
Crenshaw said she is excited for the show to premiere, and that she has a lot of gratitude and pride for the people who helped to make it happen.
“I can tell you that it’s been a joy and a half to work with this cast and crew,” she said. “If you wanted to come to see a show that’s full of fun, good music and joy, come and see us.”
“Addams Family — A New Musical Comedy,” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Aug. 2 through Aug. 10, with two Sunday matinees offered at 2 p.m. Aug. 4 and 11.
Tickets for “The Addams Family” are available for $19, $23 and $29, before transaction fees, at rrtheater.org, or at the theater box office at 218 N. Seventh St.