The Portsmouth Area Arts Council and Children’s Theatre are at it again this summer, with their production of The Addams Family Musical.
The cast is all set and up for the challenge to produce another great performance that will keep all who attend mesmerized with the terrific acting, singing, and dancing, throughout the night.
Devon Watson, one of the area’s most talented actors, is not new to the theatre, as he portrayed Willy Wonka in the Spring for the PAAC. This time, he is portraying Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas. Watson will be a freshman this fall at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, studying musical theatre. As Lucas, Watson says, “He is from Ohio and he is like your normal average teenager, who gets drawn in with this really wacky family and is trying to adapt and he really grows as a person throughout the show.” Watson says this show has a lot of music, but is a really big dance show.
Elizabeth Elrod, who is portraying Grandma Adams says this part is so much fun. “She is wacky, she doesn’t really know where she is half the time and she is the funniest part in the show.” Elrod is one of several alumni, of the Children’s Theatre, that was eligible to try out for this summer’s musical.
Julianna Parlin, who is playing the part of Wednesday says about her part, “I’m stoked about it I’ve wanted this part. I first learned about it the musical, when I was about eight or nine years old, I used to sing one of her songs, for my audition song everywhere, and I actually get to perform it, it’s really nice.” Parlin said this is not her first big part with PAAC. “Oh my gosh, I love it, it’s really challenging, it’s something really really new for all of us, I feel like it’s really hard to pull off, like I don’t even know if I’ve got it all the way, but I’m trying.” Parlin is just starting her freshman year at South Webster this fall, making her one of the youngest portraying a main part in the show.
The character of Uncle Fester is being played by Tyler Stump, he too, has played big parts before. Stump laughed when asked if this part was fun, because Uncle Fester is quite a unique part. He said, “I’ve even gone as far as shaping my hair for the part in the show. This is the part that I really wanted to get from the beginning.” He says he is a ‘wing it’ and sometimes funny type of guy. Stump is another of the alumni people who got the chance to try out for the show. He said that this was the first time, they have been able to do this.
The part of Morticia is being portrayed by Bailey Hartlage, who is attending Shawnee State University and is another one of the older ones for this play. When asked if she was going to have a big black wig, she said she hadn’t seen it yet, but she was sure it would be fabulous. “I want to say, she is maybe sassy, but kind of like confident, she is more like sultry. This has probably been the hardest show I’ve been in, both musically and physically, there are, like I’m in three big dance numbers.” She too has worked in PACC for many years. “This is my first show in like two and a half years, so it’s been ‘a minute,’ it’s just like riding a bike, you just get right back into it.”
Drew Cunningham, plays Gomez, who he says is “eccentric” It’s been really fun, it’s been awhile since I’ve been on stage, it’s been interesting getting thrown back in this iconic part that also has many different challenges.” Cunningham is probably the oldest one of the actors, as he is 24. “I’m an alumni and I’ve been out of school for a while now. He graduated from Transylvania University.
Anna Lovins, an upcoming Sophomore at West, is playing the part of Pugsly, “It’s kind of a comic relief character, but definitely an annoying little brother character, it’s fun, it’s definitely fun.”
Xavier Camden is set to play the part of Lerch and talked about the deep voice needed to carry out this part. He said they had to raise the last note of a song, because it was just too low for him. “It was so low, that it was kind of dangerous for my voice.” Camden is from Wheelersburg and will be a freshman this fall. He loves music theatre and he was in Willy Wonka as well. “I really enjoy it, as for this play, I’ve been doing theatre a lot and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Becky Lovins, who is the Executive Director, has been working with PAAC for almost ten years, said she does all the paperwork. Susan Foster is the Director of the play.
Lovins said, “For a few years now, the alumni group has come together and put together, like a benefit concert for us, but they’ve really been dying to get back on stage in a show and the only time the alumni are available, is the summer because of college and they are otherwise engaged.
“Summer shows at the Vern Riffe are kind of difficult, the rent is kind of high, you don’t have the student matinees, so you don’t make as much money, but we partnered with Shawnee State University for this show, and they gave a very generous donation to help with the rental, which is new to them, but I think they are really interested in having some more Summer programming here,” Lovins said. “Whenever the expense line came down quite a bit, we were able to stick with our summer theatre camp, which we did. We had the young kids in the first part of June and then we auditioned ages 13 – alumni. So if you’re a new kid in the senior company ages 13-18, or if you are an alumni, you could try out, so we had a lot of kids try.”
Lovins spoke on the fact that the PAAC group, still does not have a permanent home. “We have a couple of temporary places we lease to keep rehearsals going, but our evening rehearsals will still take place where we were, which is part of the STEM Academy and we have a sort of home base at the Evangelical church on 5th. We’ve taken over a couple of rooms, renting from the church, it gives us the space to do smaller work, plus it has places for our offices and costuming. These are both sort of temporary, but we still need something long term. It’s very challenging, finding a space that is sort of a gymnasium, that has all the other spaces that we need to use. Keeping in mind, that this is a non-profit organization.”
Lovins expressed her thoughts, “What I think needs to happen, is that somebody, a property owner that is invested in the community, needs to take that ‘leap of faith’ with us. The rate of growth from our contributors, has gone 350 to 600 percent, we have the potential for growth. We can’t service all the kids who are interested, and the reason for that, is we don’t have enough space. When we find the right partner, it will be good for the community and it will good for everybody involved.”
As for the difference in this show and the ones they do during the school year, Lovins said, “This show, we only did it in a month, so it is an intense rehearsal process. we normally take six to eight weeks, bigger cast, younger cast. This one, we are doing a two hour show in a month. They have had to come in first day with their music ready and good to go. They rehearse longer every night and they work more nights, some weekends, different than the regular rehearsal process. We’ve put so much into it.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928