INA, Ill. (March 16, 2018) – A magnificently macabre musical comedy “The Addams Family” is set to hit the Rend Lake College stage next month featuring an iconic “creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky” American family. The cast and crew of the 2018 Spring Musical are working hard for opening night, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, with evening shows at 7 p.m. Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7, and a matinee final show at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 8.
“The Addams Family” is based on characters created by Charles Addams with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. This original story, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, focuses on Wednesday Addams who has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – quite the opposite from the Addams family. The musical escalates to a dinner party where everything changes for both families.
Taking the lead role of Wednesday Addams next month is Emeri-Jean Farnum of Benton in her second production at RLC. Farnum, a self-proclaimed “happy-go-lucky, always smiling” student, said Wednesday’s character has been a challenge to portray.
“Wednesday has a complete opposite personality from mine, so it’ll be exciting to take on a darker, more intimidating character. Wednesday is dark, straight-faced, and loves to torture anyone who will let her. I did go into the audition hoping to land Wednesday, and I can’t wait to do her justice,” said Farnum. “The Addams Family, while not quite the same as the story most people remember, is still very reminiscent of the older series. The characters are essentially the same personality-wise, but you get the added dynamic of Wednesday being in love.”
Last spring, Farnum filled the shoes of a character very similar to herself – Glinda the Good Witch in the musical “The Wizard of Oz.” Outside of theatre, she’s interested in all things music as a percussionist, vocalist, and pianist. The RLC music education major said music is at the core of nearly everything she does.
“I love to perform and teach in any capacity. I play piano and sing for my church, compose, and teach a few students outside of school,” said Farnum. “I thank God for blessing me with the talents that He has given me and allowing me to use them to their fullest extent.”
When it comes to next month’s shows, Farnum said she’s looking forward to bringing the music to life with her fellow cast members.
“I think my favorite part of the musical so far is the music. It’s a difficult thing to sing, but so fun and upbeat. I cannot wait to perform a wonderful show with my dearest friends,” said Farnum. “This musical is jam-packed with hilarious one-liners and exciting music that’s perfect for the whole family.”
Playing the part of Wednesday’s boyfriend Lucas Beineke will be Parker Robbins of Sesser making his debut performance on RLC’s stage. Unlike Farnum, Robbins said the role of Lucas is right up his alley.
“Lucas is a small town boy from Ohio who is very ambitious and wants more for his life. I’m a small town boy from Illinois who is very ambitious and wants more for his life. I relate to Lucas so much it’s almost creepy,” said Robbins. “I’m very excited to finally be in a theatre production. I know it will be challenging and time consuming, but God gave me this opportunity to bring joy to people, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Though it’s his first production, Robbins is no stranger to RLC’s stage as he performs with the college’s Concert Band and Choir. He’s also looking forward to bringing “The Addams Family” music to life during the comedic show.
“My favorite part of this musical has to be the song ‘Crazier than You.’ It is very up-tempo and I love how it ends in a harmonious quartet,” said Robbins. “Come watch a funny show about family, love, and a little mischief.”
When it comes to the Addams family, one of the most memorable characters is Wednesday’s stern mother Morticia. Next month, Alexandria Kubiak of Ashley will take on this aloof role in her second RLC production.
Kubiak, a vocal performance major and RLC volleyball athlete, first took to RLC’s stage last spring as an Ozian, tree and fairy in the musical “The Wizard of Oz.” This year, she went into auditions hoping for something a little more nostalgic.
“I went into the audition hoping to get the role of Morticia. I am really excited to play Morticia because I love her demeanor and dry humor. She has always been one of my favorite Addams from the old shows and movies,” said Kubiak. “I think I relate to my character well. I am known for being a little pessimistic and serious. I rarely smile, which sounds bad, but I am just quiet and shy in public. Going a little bit deeper, Morticia is laid-back and not very active until someone threatens her family. She does anything to protect them, which I really relate to myself.”
Outside of theatre, Kubiak loves to do anything involving music or spending time with her family and friends. After graduating this spring, she plans to transfer to Maryville University to pursue a degree in music therapy. She said she hopes the audience enjoys the performances as much as she does.
“Many people know of the Addams Family shows and movies, but not very many people know there is a musical. The storyline is so fun and dark. The musical is filled with so much unexpected humor and I think it would appeal to a wide variety of ages. The music is wonderful and the cast is filled with an abundant amount of talent,” said Kubiak. “I personally love any scenes that include all the members of the Addams’ family, or even the whole cast. It is so amazing to be surrounded by all of these talented cast members.”
Another popular character from the original cartoon is the bald-headed and electrifying Uncle Fester who will be portrayed by Mt. Vernon’s Zion McMillan. Much like his character, McMillan is full of comedic relief and is excited to take the stage for his second production.
“I am excited to wear a bald cap,” joked McMillan. “I am willing to take any role that the director thinks is the best fit for me. Hopefully the crowd loves me as Fester. It’ll be challenging for me because, at first, I didn’t really grasp his character and it’s a type of character I’ve never played before.”
Last fall, McMillan played a very different part on RLC’s stage as Prince Rupert in the play “The Sleeping Beauty of Loreland.” The RLC music performance major said outside of the theatre, he enjoys modelling and sleeping. Overall, he said he’s looking forward to his solo, “The Moon and Me,” and having fun with the rest of the cast and crew on opening night.
“I want to thank the whole cast and crew for their hard work. I am proud of all of you. Also, thanks to my family for supporting me,” said McMillan. “Come and watch a story that could change the way you look at young love.”
Joining Farnum, Kubiak, McMillan and Robbins on stage are 19 actors ranging from college students to middle schoolers. They are:
- Alex Brue (Chandlerville) as Grandma
- Seth Ellis (Mt. Vernon) as Mal Beineke
- Taylor Frank (Valier) as an Ancestor, Alice Beineke understudy
- Kailey Greer (Pinckneyville) as an Ancestor
- Shayne Kempfer (Coulterville) as an Ancestor
- Melina Launay (Mt. Vernon) as Alice Beineke
- Nealia Lewis (Waltonville) as an Ancestor
- Matthew Loucks (Sesser) as Gomez Addams
- Jon Mandrell (West Frankfort) as Pugsley Addams, an Ancestor
- Adrianna Maxwell (Macedonia) as an Ancestor
- Ariel Moore (Mt. Vernon) as an Ancestor
- Bailey Palmer (Herrin) as an Ancestor, Wednesday Addams understudy
- Benjamin Payne (Bonnie) as an Ancestor
- Lucy Rains (Mt. Vernon) as an Ancestor
- Riley Rogers (Wayne City) as Pugsley Addams, an Ancestor
- Maggie Sanders (Pinckneyville) as an Ancestor
- Cade Shadowens (Benton) as an Ancestor
- Celia Summers (Macedonia) as an Ancestor
- Madison Webb (Dahlgren) as an Ancestor, Morticia Addams understudy
Tickets will be on sale Monday, March 19 for “The Addams Family” and cost $12 each. Contact the Box office to reserve a seat at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1467. The show is rated PG (parental guidance). Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5 through Saturday, April 7 and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 8, all in the RLC Theatre.