BWW Interviews: Sara Gettelfinger, THE ADDAMS FAMILY's Morticia Addams
Who is creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky? The Addams Family of course (snap snap). America's favorite family macabre has been a staple of pop culture ever since Charles Addams introduced us to Gomez, Morticia and their creepy clan in the pages of The New Yorker magazine.
Atlanta audiences will have the chance to meet the latest incarnation of these fabulous characters when The Addams Family makes its way to the Fabulous Fox Theatre August 14 – 19. Portraying the cool and confident matriarch, Morticia, is Broadway veteran Sara Gettelfinger who sat down with me to talk about her experience with following her own dreams of being an actor.
BWW: Hi, Sara! How are you?
Sara Gettelfinger: I'm doing great!
Great, thanks! We're looking forward to the show coming to Atlanta!
We are excited to come there!
Can we start by hearing a little bit about how you got started in the theatre?
Well, I was bitten by the bug quite early. I did my first dance recital when I was two. My parents weren't maniacal stage parents, they noticed that I had coordination trouble so they put me in class to improve on my walking and skipping. I did my first professional production when I was 13 and conservatory for college. I was very young when I knew that was the direction I wanted to take my life. I was very lucky to have some great mentors who were able to suggest some wonderful programs that had great training and ties to New York for getting into the community once I was out of school.
And you have a very interesting musical background as well. Tell me a little about Three Graces.
After I finished Dirty Rotten Scoundrels I was invited by Universal Records to participate in this experiment that was to be a trio of one pop singer, one opera singer, and one broadway-style singer. They put me together with two lovely women, Joy Kabanuck and Kelly Levesque. We basically took two years, made and album and toured. It was a great experience. I learned so much about the record industry and a different style of singing and production that was a little bit of a departure from my typical theatre environment. It really taught me a lot about singing and collaborating and ended up being a really great asset even when I returned to the theatre community.
Was the type of music you produced something you were interested in already or was it an eye-opening experience for you?
It was the type of music I enjoyed, but not the type of music I had considered certainly from the writing end. So, it was a completely new learning experience, and a completely new set of tools that opened a new channel artistically.
So, lets talk a little about being part of a show like The Addams Family. I am sure many who come see the show are familiar with the TV show or the New Yorker cartoons. What can we expect from our favorite family macabre in the show? Familiar faces? Familiar themes? New twists?
There are very familiar faces, but the great thing about our show is it is very contemporary. It is very comedic and is a wonderful night at the theatre for all ages. It really has something for everyone in terms of families coming to see the show. It is a great way to introduce young people to the theatre. Definitely you will see all your favorite characters, hear some of your favorite lines and some of your favorite music, but they bring a really nice contemporary story to the table with some twists and turns that aren't necessarily something that you have seen before. So, we manage to give everybody what they will be looking for in terms of what they know and love, but we bring our own twist to it.
What drew you to be a part of this musical?
It was the part mainly, but a big part of it was the creative team. I had worked with the director, Jerry Zaks before and had adored that experience. I was a huge fan of the composer and the writers and the choreographer. Andrew Lippa was our composer, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice who did Jersey Boys, were our writers, and Sergio Trujillo has been a dear friend of mine and I have been a fan of his work for years. So it sort of felt like the dream team from the production end. And Morticia is this fabulous iconic character that really presents lovely challenges for an actor. She is this independent, sexy, unique individual but at the same time there is a huge part of her that just wants to be, in the vein of Donna Reed, a very good mother running a successful household with a successful relationship with her children and spouse. So, there are many levels to try and tackle when you play her.