By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Ashton Thomas, a senior, who made his musical debut in the McNary High School drama department as a freshman in Urinetown, isn’t ready to say goodbye to the Ken Collins Theater.
“It’s going to be hard to leave this behind because this has been such a cool place for me,” Thomas said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet, honestly. It’s going to be really weird transitioning into college life, most likely without theater stuff so I’m just trying to live in the moment and enjoy it while I can because this place is awesome.”
Thomas, who plays Gomez in The Addams Family musical, couldn’t think of a better way to go out.
“The show has a perfect blend of great music and then awesome comedy,” Thomas said.
But it’s the cast that makes the show special.
“I feel like I just know everyone in the cast this time and being able to just go up to anyone and high five or talk to them, it’s such a different environment than anything we’ve had before,” Thomas said.
“We’ve been with this show all semester too so it’s cool to see how everything is coming together and how it’s completely different from any other musicals I’ve done here and that’s what makes this show so special. The cast, crew, everybody that’s part of this show are the best people.”
The Addams Family debuted on Thursday, Jan. 19 and runs Jan. 20-21 and 26-28 at 7 p.m. Matinees are also scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets, available at mcnaryhs.ticketleap.com, are $10 for adults and $7 for patrons under 13 and over 65.
The story centers around Wednesday Addams, her love for a normal boy, Lucas, and the meeting of the two vastly different families.
Two seniors who were previously love interests as sophomores in Legally Blonde, Emma Blanco and Ryan Cowan, play Wednesday and Lucas.
“I’m excited that this is the show that we’re closing everything up with,” Blanco said. “I’m definitely pulling a lot of inspiration from the movie, her dark personal. She has a very morbid sense about her.
“This musical is different because it’s when she falls in love and experiences happiness and things she’s never felt before. It’s definitely tricky trying to find that balance between the darkness and when she’s happy. That’s probably been the most challenging part of this experience so far. But it’s really fun. There’s lots of touching moments dispersed between these really funny, weird ones.”
Playing opposite Thomas as Morticia, Wednesday’s mom, is another McNary senior—Skyla Cawthon.
“It was kind of hard at first because she’s a super confident, strong woman,” Cawthon said. “I had to think though how she would think and how she would feel and even posture wise, how she walks. But I just enjoy how different it is than the other musicals and being able to play a character that I’ve never played before is a really nice experience.”
McNary Drama Director Dallas Myers said the musical is a showcase for the entire cast, which also includes Avery Smith as Pugsley, Josiah Henifin as Uncle Fester, Annie Purkey as Grandma, Matthew Albright as Lurch, Jacob Grimmer and Madi Zuro’s as Lucas’ parents Mal and Alice and an ensemble of 31 Addams family ancestors.
“Everyone of our kids that has a featured part in it is killer, is really killer and it fits them so well,” Myers said. “They’re (the characters) big and they cause kids to make huge choices.
“Ashton and Skyla are dynamic as Gomez and Morticia, more so than I even anticipated. They are on another level. This is a real feature for them. Emma as Wednesday is terrific but even Annie as the grandma character is one of my favorite things of all time. She’s just so good. Matthew has never been in a musical for us. Lurch is a fairly voiceless part but he grunts a lot and he’s doing terrific. I’m pretty thrilled with their performance. They are so ready.”
The cast has also kept Myers laughing.
“I’ve done a bunch of comedies and usually about two weeks left I stop laughing in rehearsals and with this one I continue to find new stuff and the cast has done such a great job of finding new things that I’m still laughing,” he said.
Myers has less students in his technical theatre class than usual but that hasn’t slowed them down.
“We built a giant house,” Myers said. “We had to build the Addams family house and we had to figure out what to do to rotate through all the sets and I think my technical kids have done a phenomenal job.”
McNary Choir Director Joshua Rist has assisted with vocals and Sean Williams is directing 18 students in the orchestra pit.