BWW BLOG: Lyric Theatre's Thelma Gaylord Academy Presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Jess here. Oklahoma City's Lyric Theatre is well known for the wide variety of productions they bring to their stages; ranging from Tony Award winning musicals to youth theatre favorites. Lyric at the Plaza's convenient neighborhood location and extensive production calendar speaks to theatre enthusiasts of all ages. Expanding their repertoire to reach the budding thespians of the future, Lyric's youth division is housed at the nearby Thelma Gaylord Academy. Young actors are at a great advantage as the Thelma Gaylord Academy is a triple threat training facility, offering classes in Voice, Acting and Dance, along with Musical Theatre and Tech Theatre camps and workshops. This past weekend their youth theatre troupe kicked off their winter season at the Plaza with "The Addams Family" and I must say it was a thrill to behold, from overture to final bows.
"The Addams Family" musical is based on the old black and white television series of the same name that was an after school staple for many kids growing up in the mid 1960's. It was reborn as a stage musical in 2009, and has been updated and adapted to be based on the plotline of daughter Wednesday's announcement of her desire to wed a "normal" boy. What begins as a family dinner designed to acquaint the Addams' with their future in-laws undergoes several unexpected turns, resulting in temporary quarreling leading to break ups that are ultimately followed by celebrated reconciliations.
The core cast members included; Gomez (Davion Jackson), Morticia (Camille Matlock), Uncle Fester (Briam Zuniga), Lurch (Jackson Murray), Grandma (Delaney Horton) and the two siblings, Wednesday (Isabella Acuna) and Pugsley (Saxon Neal). New additions to the original 1960's storyline included Wednesday's fiancé, Lucas Bieneke (Garrett Langley) and his parents, Mal and Alice (Reese Dawkins and Sydney Lahodny). Each one of these actors did a fantastic job of portraying their respective character, with all remaining solidly grounded when executing the unusual and humorous elements involved in the show.
Musically, the production was a delight. There were several group numbers with added ensemble harmonies that rounded out the sound beautifully. The solos were also expertly delivered and defined their characters desires to a T. The costumes and set were collectively amazing, and skillfully backed the semi-dark theme of the production. Directors, Rozz Grigsby and Nick Bartell's creative vision for this musical was a huge success, with sold out crowds and standing ovations every night of the run.
There is no better way to spend a Saturday night than at the theatre. Sitting next to me was a little boy, who enthusiastically shared that his cousin was in the show, all the while vigorously waving at the group of ensemble members singing on stage at the time. His excitement was contagious, and it made me smile. The beauty of community theatre is the level of the all-inclusive family enjoyment it provides. Having the opportunity to see budding thespians showcase their performance chops takes me back to my younger days, and prompts me to recall the many fond memories of my treasured time as a member of the same tribe.
Although youth theatre entails some of the most challenging, yet personally rewarding experiences available to those willing to share their craft on a stage, encouragement and guidance from those who are well versed in the art of performance is vital. The organizations and individuals responsible for inspiring students by sharing the tools necessary to fuel their passion will provide the impact to carry this art form into the future. It's a blessing for all involved.
"Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around." -Stephen Sondheim