Interview: Ford Haeuser of THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Performances run through March 30.

By: Feb. 24, 2024
Interview: Ford Haeuser of THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
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They may be mysterious and spooky and altogether ooky, but they’re coming to Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre February 23-March 30. The Addams Family musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice first hit Broadway in 2010. Ford Haeuser, the choreographer for this production at Dutch Apple, shared some insights into this kooky family that has entertained audiences since its first inception as single-panel cartoons created by Charles Addams.

BWW: Tell us a little about yourself.

Haeuser: My name is Ford Haeuser, and I’m a director, choreographer, and performer based in NYC. I’m originally from Covington, LA just north of New Orleans. During my time at Northwestern State University, I began working professionally in the arts, and after graduating I launched myself into my career full-time. My career has taken me all over the world, and I feel so fortunate to continue to have a thriving theatre career. As a performer and creator, my work has been seen on cruise ships, national tours, and in many regional theatres. My first time at the Dutch Apple was in 2012 performing in A Swingin’ Christmas. From there I performed in a few more shows, then began choreographing for the theatre. The first show I choreographed for Dutch Apple was Oklahoma! in 2015, and I’m now fully directing and choreographing shows here. Last year I directed and choreographed both Newsies and A Christmas Carol, and I’m so proud of the shows we put on at the Dutch Apple.

BWW: How did you first become interested in dance and choreography?

Haeuser: I actually grew up as a musical kid, singing and playing piano from a very young age. From there I moved into theatre, and in high school a friend brought me to my first dance class. I was really lucky growing up (and honestly throughout my career) to have people who encouraged me and gave me opportunities to grow and expand as an artist. I began choreographing productions for my high school, and the rest is history, as they say! I love creating theatre and collaborating with other artists to guide a show into the product that the audience sees!

BWW: Tell us about your creative process—give us a little peak behind the scenes—what goes into choreographing a show for you?

Haeuser: Whenever I take on a show, the first thing I do is get a sense of what the show “feels” like. Is it fast and hard hitting? Is it sweeping and dramatic? What do the characters feel like? From there, I like to do a little research. For The Addams Family, there is plenty of preexisting material – from the original comics and the early television show, to the more contemporary iterations. It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. While there is plenty of material to help influence the show, there are also certain things that people will expect to see. Then I tend to dive into the specifics of the show. I go number by number and get a feel for what they are and how they drive the production forward. I like to build a movement vocabulary – a dance language that shapes the show. In The Addams Family I drew a good amount of inspiration from classic horror characters. If you watch close enough, you will see vampires, mummies, and werewolves.

BWW: If you could choreograph any musical, what would your dream show be and why?

Haeuser: I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to choreograph some of my dream shows already. Newsies and Oklahoma! are both dance heavy shows that I love, and I’ve been able to choreograph each of them twice, including productions at Dutch Apple. But another show that I’d love to get my hands on is On the Town. There is such an incredible opportunity for dance in that show, and the ballet is iconic.

BWW: What was your favorite song to choreograph for The Addams Family and why is it your favorite?

Haeuser: I loved choreographing all of the numbers in the show for different reasons, but I think my standout, and the number that excited me the most, is “Tango de Amor” in the second act. I love ballroom, and it isn’t incredibly common to get the opportunity to create a full tango number. The style was a bunch of fun to dig into, and I think it does a great job showing the passion Morticia and Gomez have for each other.

BWW: What do you think audiences will enjoy most about this production of The Addams Family?

Haeuser: I think that this production is a blast, and that audiences will have a great time! The cast is incredibly talented, and the show is hilarious, but it also has really lovely moments as well. The music is catchy, and I just think that the whole thing is a ton of fun. If fun is what you’re looking for, this is the show for you!

BWW: The Addams Family has a long history, beginning as single-panel comics by cartoonist Charles Addams for The New Yorker between 1938 and 1988. The original television series began in 1964, and that was followed by a series of films in the 90s and the musical adaptation in 2010. And of course we cannot forget the wildly popular Netflix spin-off Wednesday. What is it about the Addams Family that continues to capture our imagination?

Haeuser: While the zaniness of the Addams Family is what immediately comes to mind, I think at the heart of it, it is the timeless endurance of family, and the celebration of what makes us different that continues to inspire. While being spooky and creepy, the Addams Family also shows what it means to be a family. I think that is the true brilliance of The Addams Family, and why it has endured through all these years.

BWW: If you could be friends with any character from The Addams Family, who would it be and why?

Haeuser: Definitely Grandma Addams! She is WILD!!! You never know what you are going to get, and I know we’d paint the town red!

BWW: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?Interview: Ford Haeuser of THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Haeuser: I’m just very thankful for the opportunity to share The Addams Family with this community. I have such a great team at the Dutch Apple, and the cast, crew, designers, and band are all fantastic! If you’re looking for a great evening, head over to the Dutch Apple. You definitely don’t want to miss The Addams Family! Thank you for supporting live theatre!!!