New London, Hortonville musicals this weekend
Students stage ‘Annie,’ ‘The Addams Family’
By Scott Bellile
Area residents looking to get their Broadway musical fix this weekend can catch two high school productions in New London and Hortonville.
New London High School stages the 2009 show “The Addams Family,” based upon the 1960s TV series.
Three shows run from Friday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 11. The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7 p.m. while the Sunday show is a 2 p.m. matinee.
Tickets cost $10 and are available at the door, New London Area Chamber of Commerce and Festival Foods.
Hortonville High School goes more traditional with its rendition of the 1976 classic “Annie.”
“Annie” runs for four shows Thursday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 11. Shows begin at 7 p.m. the first three nights and at 2:30 p.m. for the Sunday matinee.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors the first three nights, and $8 for everyone during the Sunday matinee.
‘The Addams Family’
Halloween is over, but it’s not too late to get creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky with the Addams Family. New London students say at the center of the play is a timeless and relatable message about family.
The story follows Addams daughter Wednesday, who falls in love with a sweet and “normal” man her parents have never met. Wednesday asks her father, Gomez, to keep a secret from her mother: The two plan to get married.
Gomez has never hidden anything from his wife Morticia, so it is a rough proposition for him, especially when they host a dinner with the fiance and his family.
“That’s kind of the big picture, is keeping secrets tears your relationships apart,” said senior Bryar Tuchscherer, who plays Gomez. “[As the character Gomez] I’m really in love with my wife and I love my children and it’s more my children trying to force me to keep something from my wife, [whom] I love with all my heart.”
Senior Katarina Wickman, who stars as Wednesday, compared Gomez’s situation to being in a purgatory of sorts, only the forces pulling him in different directions are Wednesday and Morticia.
“[Morticia is] basically the glue of the family,” said Morticia’s actress, senior Maraya Bult. “She holds everything together. She’s very serious, so she believes everything should be open and there should be no secrets kept.”
Wickman said “The Addams Family” packs more depth and emotion than the lighter musicals NLHS staged in recent years, but there are plenty of laughs.
Gomez is clumsy and goofy. Morticia specializes in dark and subtle humor. And then there’s Grandma, the mysterious family member that Gomez and Morticia forget whose mother she actually is.
“I hope [audiences] just have a good time, just take in the humor,” Tuchscherer said.
The leads are Tuchscherer as Gomez, Bult as Morticia, Wickman as Wednesday, Josh Hansen as Malcolm, Haille Magolski as Alice, Kenneth Lee as Lucas, Calista Montgomery as Grandma, Mason Garrigan as Pugsley, Weston Spencer as Fester and Trent Kloehn as Lurch.
Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” its musical adaptation “Annie” revolves around an 11-year-old orphan in 1930s New York City who is determined to find her birthparents.
Annie meets the billionaire Oliver Warbucks, who offers a reward to Annie’s parents if they come forward. Unfortunately, Miss Hannigan, the cruel and greedy caretaker at Annie’s orphanage, learns of this and hatches a scheme to claim the reward.
HHS junior Madison Price stars in the title role. She said playing Annie is an “amazing opportunity” because her childlike personality melds well with the character.
The role has caused Price to reflect on her own life and realize how privileged she is to live in the U.S. with a family.
Price said she hopes Hortonville’s student production shows audiences that Annie is not an “overly optimistic orphan,” but rather a girl living a “hard-knock life” who perseveres through her strength and bravery.
“We’re not trying to make it the headache-like, so cute you want to vomit ‘Annie.’ We’ve seen that before,” added senior Andi Bryant, who plays Miss Hannigan. “We’re trying to bring something new to the table.”
There are even some history lessons to learn from the story’s early 20th century setting, students say.
“Orphanages in the 1930s were basically sweatshops,” Bryant said. “It’s interesting to see how things have changed.”
Senior Brooke Voelz, the head of wardrobe, researched the Depression era in selecting the characters’ outfits. Audiences can take notice: The orphans and Hooverville dwellers wear drab brown and black colors, middle class characters sport blue to indicate their blue-collar status, and the few upper class characters wear hints of red to symbolize their wealth.
The leads are Price as Annie, Bryant as Miss Hannigan, Nathaniel Ales as Oliver Warbucks, Maiah Dunn as Grace Farrell, Connor Krause as Rooster and Chloe Skrober as Lilly St. Regis.