Don’t let their ghoulish appearance and affection for all things macabre fool you — the Addams Family are a loving bunch.
That is until Wednesday Addams falls in love with a “normal” boy and starts wearing a yellow dress in Edmonds Driftwood Players’ “The Addams Family,” staging April 12 to May 5 at the Wade James Theater.
When Wednesday invites her boyfriend and his parents over for dinner, things go awry for cartoonist Charles Addams’ fictional clan of oddballs.
Yes, even the most bizarre and eccentric characters have crises now and then. But “The Addams Family” is relatable despite their weirdness, said director Carissa Meisner-Smit.
“It’s really all about unconditional love and acceptance,” she said. “Wednesday has had some experience in the outside world and it’s opened her eyes. She’s incurably embarrassed and suddenly sees her family as strange and eccentric and makes them pretend to be normal.”
“The Addams Family” musical comedy is based on Addams’ comic strip from 1938 to 1988 about an odd, wealthy and close-knit family living in New York. The fictional family has since become a staple in pop culture for being a satirical take on the modern 20th century family and has spawned TV shows, movies and even goth culture.
Meisner-Smit said the family has always been portrayed as “super loving,” so any friction is pretty unusual. And there’s plenty of that in the beginning of the two-act musical.
Wednesday, played by Megan Acuna, is grappling with insecurities about her identity, her family and whether it will affect her relationship to her fiance, Lucas (David Naber). No one knows they are engaged except her father, Gomez (Doug Knoop), who reluctantly agrees to keep it a secret from his wife Morticia (Tamara Davis) until the night of the dinner.
“It’s almost too scary for Wednesday to broach the subject with her,” Acuna said. “Gomez is a little bit more easygoing and he’s more of a people person and a little less intense. It’s a questionable decision, but it’s the call she makes.”
But Morticia quickly detects he’s keeping something from her. Meanwhile, Pugsley (Catherine Craig), is afraid his sister won’t torture him anymore now that she has a boyfriend.
On the other side of the aisle, Lucas’ parents Mal (Jeff Strom) and Alice (Hayley Baudrau Gaarde) are straitlaced and judgmental when they arrive at the Addams’ house. But the couple’s relationship is also on the fritz, causing both families to do some soul-searching before the night is over.
Acuna saw the musical in 2013 before ever watching the TV shows or movies about the Addams family. She’s since become a “huge fan” of the macabre family. She said her singing parts are a challenge, especially the song “Pulled” about Wednesday falling in love.
“It’s very belty,” she said. “I definitely love that, but it’s very intimidating at first. But the more we’ve gone through the show, I’ve sunk into it.”
“I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can,” she added. “You don’t get to portray a role like this that’s so iconic very often.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
Edmonds Driftwood Players’ production of “The Addams Family” is showing April 12 to May 5 at the Wade James Theater, 950 Main St., Edmonds.
Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $28 general and $25 for seniors, youth and military.
Call 425-774-9600 or go to www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org for more information.