Oxley High School to stage 2016 production The Addams Family musical this week

IT’S nerve-wracking enough under normal circumstances bringing home a boy and his parents to meet your family, but what if your family is The Addams Family?

That’s the situation Wednesday Addams finds herself in when she falls in love with a non-creepy, kooky mysterious nor spooky boy, in the latest Oxley High School production opening on Thursday.

Wednesday desperately wants to have one normal night, but soon realises that’s not going to happen.

Director Natalie Creighton said the students had been rehearsing all year – much of it in their own lunchtimes and holidays – to put on the musical.

About 25 of them appear on stage, but there are also students in the band and crew.

Ms Creighton said the show was a lot of fun and had unearthed some unexpected talent.

“Our Lurch has never been on stage, never sung before in his life … I sent him a couple of mates to twist his arm and he agreed [to take the role]. He’s amazing, he’s so funny and doing a beautiful job.”

Ms Creighton has been heavily involved in theatre as a high school student in Armidale and as an adult in Tamworth, and said young people created great memories through productions like these.

“They also get self-confidence. You can actually see the difference in some of them who’ve never been on stage before when they first started, compared to now.

“And it’s not even just on stage: some of them I teach in class as well, and you can see the confidence building there, because now they’re used to being in front of people and having an opinion and having a say, and they’re stronger.”

Ms Creighton said the musical was more than just a school effort: ex-student and now professional musical theatre actor Rob McDougall has been coaching students on vocals and acting, and teachers from other schools as well as the conservatorium are in the orchestra.

She said The Addams Family represented “a very large commitment from staff but mainly students … there are some incredibly talented kids in this show”.

Year 10 student Phoebe Parnell plays Alice Beineke, the mother of Wednesday’s love interest Lucas.

She was in the chorus of the school’s production of Annie a couple of years ago, was recently in the ensemble of Tamworth Musical Society’s Wicked, and said she was considering going on to study music or musical theatre after Year 12.

“I love it so much, just the whole atmosphere of getting to know everyone, learning my character,” she said.

“It’s amazing, the friends you make in these sorts of productions...

“The entire cast has put in so much work. It’s been a year in the making, with a lot of roadbumps throughout but, especially in the last six weeks, the amount of work and improvement people have made is phenomenal.”

Year 11 girl Leah Griffiths, who plays Wednesday, said she was thrilled to be playing the role she’d auditioned for with such high hopes.

“Musical theatre has always been a passion of mine … when the cast list went up, I ran to it, looked at it and saw my name, and actually ran through the quad screaming, ‘I got the part!’ Every moment of it has just been fantastic.”

The Addams Family will be staged on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm for 7.30pm, with tickets at the door: $20 adults, $15 children (under-8s free) and families of four for $60.

Students run through their rehearsal ahead of Thursday's opening night.

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