The Addams Family Treats Colgate to a Frightfully Good Time

On Friday, Feb. 25, Colgate students piled into Cruisers, crammed into cars and laced up snow boots to make the trek to the Palace Theater in downtown Hamilton, N.Y. for the Colgate Masque and Triangle’s opening night production of “The Addams Family” musical. Despite having six different showtimes over five days, the production was so highly anticipated that tickets sold out for opening weekend. 

As audience members settled into their coveted seats and murmured excitedly about the show to come, a disembodied hand suddenly appeared from behind the heavy velvet curtain and wiggled its fingers at the audience in greeting. The hand then set down a small box that began emitting fog, which quickly covered the stage. A moment later, the curtains pulled back to reveal the Addams Family in all their spooky glory. The family then launched into their classic song, snaps and all, to introduce themselves “living, dead and undecided” to the audience and give a lesson on “what it means to be an Addams.” 

Moments after this introduction, seven more characters, the Addams family’s ancestors, whirled onto the stage dressed in brilliant white, making the song even more mesmerizing to watch. Each ghostly ancestor wore garb from a different era, luminescent silver face paint and frightfully realistic makeup giving hints as to how they met their grisly ends. As a pioneer woman with hanging marks on her neck twirled around with a cowgirl with a bullet wound and a flapper draped in fringe, rhinestones and feathers, the audience sat at the edge of their seats, enraptured.

One of the most charming and well-received songs came when Wednesday, a main character played by senior Ariel Feinberg, and her masochistic little brother Pugsley, played by senior Sarah Billings, took to the stage for the song “Pulled.” As lovestruck Wednesday belted out powerful lyrics about her new relationship, Pugsley eagerly strapped himself to a torture rack and gleefully shrieked out “EEEEs” and “AHHHGGs” in complement to Wednesday’s song. This odd duet thoroughly delighted the audience, and with each wave of laughter, Wednesday and Pugsley put more power in their performances, the passion in Wednesday’s voice growing ever stronger and Pugsley’s cries ever more ecstatic.

Yet another scene that stole the audience’s hearts was when a similarly lovestruck Fester, played by senior Samuel Evans, sang the ballad “The Moon and Me” in which he expressed undying adoration for his one true love, the moon. Embodying true Josh Gad energy, Fester, giddy with love, whirled around the stage with the ancestors, alternately waltzing, parasol twirling and curtseying to an imaginary moon. As his serenade of “la la las” trailed off, Fester blew three final kisses up towards his celestial love, a look of pure bliss upon his face. An audible “aweee” sounded from the audience, and it became clear that just as Fester was falling in love with the moon, the audience was falling in love with him.

One by one, the audience came to appreciate each and every one of the characters. From the wild-haired Grandma, played by sophomore Samay Gupta, with her sagely, mildly concerning advice, to Morticia, brought to life by senior Adriana Rush, with her elegance and charm, to undead Lurch, played by senior Aidan O’Connor, with his sparse yet surprisingly emotive grunts, no Addams was portrayed without charm.

While most of the production stayed true to the classic “Addams Family” storyline of rejecting normalcy in favor of the spooky and the spectacular, the cast made it their own by adding little Colgate touches that enthralled the audience. Just a few of these theatrical easter eggs included Fester giddily dancing around in a Colgate Pep-Band jersey and Gomez, played by senior Nathan Conlon, reading from a “Hamilton Village Visitors Guide” as if it were a guide to the worst hotels and sewers in Paris. These little additions elicited pure glee from the audience as soon as they were recognized, and made the production truly one of a kind.

As the curtain swung closed, the audience erupted in applause and rose from their seats for a full standing ovation. As Wednesday and Lucas, played by sophomore Morgan Usselman, took to the stage one last time for their bows, some of the loudest cheers could be heard from the last row where two students dressed in Wednesday’s signature pigtail braids and white-collared dress stood and cheered wildly. 

Much in the way that the Addams and Beineke families faced mishaps throughout the show, so too did the cast and crew face unexpected challenges throughout the production. Perhaps the greatest of these challenges came when the original director of the show was forced unexpectedly to step down. However, taking it in stride, the production continued on with Rush taking on the role of director while simultaneously captivating the audience with her portrayal of Morticia Addams. 

“I was honored by the trust the cast placed in me to lead our production. We have been working tirelessly for the past six months to bring this show to life, and it has only been possible because of the combined efforts of many talented people,” Rush said. “Thank you to the amazing cast and crew for making this experience the highlight of my Colgate career.”

As audience members filed out of the theater and into the night, a dozen different songs from the show could be heard leaving with them. On the sidewalk out front of the Palace, two students hummed “Full Disclosure” as they waited for their ride. Bundled up in coats and rushing down the sidewalk towards their car, a group of first-years crooned “Crazier Than You” in unison. And on the Cruiser back to campus, riders experienced a sing-along of epic proportions. With their production of the Addams Family Musical, Masque and Triangle have brought untold joy and music to Colgate, the effects of which will last far beyond their final show.

I love musicals, but this one went above and beyond,” said first-year Katie Maratea who went to see the show two nights in a row and had tickets for a third. “I don’t think I’ll ever get those songs out of my head. Bravo!”

First-year Laine Giralamo shared this sentiment. “I can’t stop snapping. I wake up in the morning – ba-da-da-dum. I grab lunch at Frank – ba-da-da-dum. The Addams Family has become the soundtrack to my entire day, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”