On October 25th-27th, the Junior High theater production of “The Addams Family” will premiere on the mainstage. However, the actors and actresses are more than what meets the eye.
Eighth grader Jessi Kaplan — Morticia Addams
After starting her first acting class at six years old, eighth grader Jessi Kaplan, playing the role of Morticia Addams, felt hooked on musical theater. “Theater is my passion, and I love performing so much. It makes me so happy to make audiences happy,” Kaplan said. Kaplan enjoys hanging out with her cast and feels her most memorable moment working on the production was the first rehearsal. “I am experienced in theater. I am proud to have been in more than 32 full scale productions, ranging from musicals to straight plays, and from school productions to camp productions to community and regional theater. I have amazing voice and acting coaches, and I have learned so much from my past directors,” Kaplan said.
Seventh grader Sophie Simon — Wednesday Addams
Seventh grader Sophie Simon, playing the role of the monotone Wednesday Addams, worked with Mr. Lovejoy, Mrs. Morman Davis and Mrs. Case to better portray the character’s dark personality. Simon finds a way to enjoy her character even through the dark pieces. “My favorite song in the show is “Pulled,” because it is a breakthrough for Wednesday to finally express her feelings that are pulling her inside,” Simon said. Simon finds comedy in Wednesday’s character and hopes to grow her acting skills. “I got into theatre when I was eight years old, playing Kate in “Annie.” I loved being on stage, singing, dancing, acting and being part of a cast. Each production, I got to meet new people and create new friendships with people who had the same interests as me,” Simon said.
Seventh grader Ruby Auerbach — Pugsley Addams
Although at first seventh grader Ruby Auerbach felt Pugsley Addams fit her second choice, she began to feel more comfortable in her role with time. “At first I wanted to audition for Wednesday but then I heard [Pugsley’s] song ‘What If,’ and I really liked the song. I had seen ‘Addams Family’ before so I was kind of more intrigued by his character,” Auerbach said. She did not always play demonic characters though. She played Donna in the “Mamma Mia!” portion of a broadway review for her first production and last year she played Mushu in “Mulan.”
Seventh grader Julius Demosthenes — Lucas Beineke
Seventh grader Julius Demosthenes, known on the mainstage as his character Lucas Beineke, feels his most memorable moment rehearsing is when he broke the chalice prop. Missteps on the “Addams Family” stage did not constitute his big break though. “[Theater] started by me joining an after school drama program in first or second grade just trying out acting. After that I joined Peter Pan, and that’s when I realized that I enjoy acting. I have been doing it ever since,” Demosthenes said. He feels energy through his acting and picks favorites in the musical; the song “Crazier Than You,” and the group dance number “The Addams Family.” “I hope to improve my vocal range and learn a new style of acting,” Demosthenes said.
Seventh grader Alex Stuvolic Lord– Fester
Seventh grader, Alex Stuvolic Lord, playing the role of Fester, played the soundtrack to “The Addams Family” on repeat as preparation for his role. Lord stumbled upon theater because of a requirement at his previous school two years ago. “I actually got cast as Captain Hook in the production of Peter Pan. It’s not the most inspirational story, but that’s how I realized I wanted to take every opportunity to be on stage,” Lord said. He may not have many productions under his belt, but he still keeps the memories of past productions close to his heart and in a scrapbook (which hold photos from every play he worked on). “Theater gives me a break from reality. Whatever is happening outside the rehearsal room stays outside the rehearsal room. So when the entire cast is rehearsing on stage and singing. I feel like the world is my oyster and nothing can go wrong,” Lord said.
Eighth grader Laney Rakofsky — Alice Beineke
Eighth grader Laney Rakofsky plays the role of Alice Beineke. Her character had a solo called “Waiting” in the original version, but they cut it to keep the show child appropriate. “It was really sad when I first heard it because I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, everyone told me I would do great in this solo.’ Then I was looking at the script and I saw that there was no ‘Waiting’ there, where was it? It was very upsetting for me,” Rakofsky said. She still gets her time to shine by singing part of “Crazier Than You” and she plays an ancestor in the beginning of the show.
Eighth grader Mathias Suito — Lurch
Eighth grader Mathias Suito, playing the role of Lurch, received his role while auditioning for the role of Gomez. Despite playing an overall silent character, he enjoys remembering loud and chaotic moments in rehearsals. “My most memorable moment was when we were rehearsing [the song] “Full Disclosure” and someone knocked over a practice prop which cracked and leaked red liquid on the floor,” Suito said. Since his character is apathetic, Suito practices by keeping a straight face. Thanks to his dabbling in method acting, hence his straight face practice, he feels acting came first instead of singing and dancing.
Eighth grader Juliette Zamora –Ancestor
Eighth grader Juliette Zamora, playing the role of an ancestor, decided to try out theater because of her sister. “My older sister is very talented with the arts so I often watched shows that she was in and fell in love with theater and wanted to experience it for myself,” Zamora said. Now with over five shows under her belt, starting with “The Lion King” as Simba, she hopes to improve her dance and acting skills in production number seven, “The Addams Family.” “[Theater] is a way to escape the real world and allow me to enter a new experience. It is a free and exciting experience to be on stage with many talented people so we can make an audience laugh, cry, or cheer,” Zamora said.
Seventh grader Elizabeth Shumivola — Ancestor
Seventh grader Elizabeth Shumivola, also playing an ancestor, hopes to find new experiences while working on this production of “The Addams Family.” “Around two or three years ago I decided that I wanted to be an actress and get into acting. When I saw the opportunity to audition for this musical, I decided it was my time to try,” Shumivola said. She believes that acting came before singing and dancing for her and feels excitement and stress in theater. “I, in fact, do not have previous experience in theater and I am surprised that I got the role. I got my start with this musical,” Shumivola said.
Look out for “The Addams Family” on the main theater October 25th-27th at 7:00pm. Whether you are watching Morticia or laughing at Fester, the students found themselves and their characters for your enjoyment.