Creepy, kooky and relatable

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ELGIN —  They’re creepy and they’re kooky, but they’re also a family much like any other. That’s the idea behind the Elgin Opera House’s production of “The Addams Family,” a macabre musical comedy.

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The play, based on the characters originally created by cartoonist Charles Addams, follows Wednesday’s coming of age and her family’s coming to terms.

“I feel like (Wednesday’s) a late bloomer,” said Avalon Bloodgood, who plays the now 18-year-old princess of darkness. “Most people start to feel things a little bit at a time when they’re younger, but she didn’t. Then she meets this boy, and her hormones are being released all at once. Her walls of self preservation are knocked down.”

The boy she’s falling for is “normal” Lucas, played by Miguel Vasquez.

Vasquez said capturing the family dynamic with his on-stage parents has been an interesting process.

“Through this whole process, I’ve had to think how I would have been raised by those two characters and how I would react,” Vasquez said. “(Lucas) wants to make his dad proud. He is a little nervous and tends to keep to himself.”

Fortunately for Lucas, Wednesday “pushes him to stick up for himself,” Vasquez said.

Family dynamics are also at play when Wednesday tells her father, Gomez, about her relationship. She asks — or rather demands — that he doesn’t tell her mother, Morticia. Having never lied to his wife about anything, Gomez finds himself in a bind between being a good husband and a good father.

Morticia, played by Hayley Rampton, immediately knows something is up, so she tries to get her husband to share what he’s hiding.

The women’s ability to manipulate Gomez leads to an indirect tug-of-war.

For Trevor Winder, who plays Gomez, being a family man is nothing new.

“I have two daughters, 7 and 10,” Winder said. “When they were doing auditions, they had it down to me and another guy. That guy didn’t have kids.”

Winder said the most relatable part of the show is the song “Happy/Sad,” in which Gomez articulates his mixed emotions about his child growing up.

Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley, is also sad to see his sister spending more time with a boyfriend, because it could mean she spends less time torturing him.

And if the drama of two already conflicted families meeting wasn’t entertaining enough, there’s more than enough Addams-brand comedy.

The phrase dark humor only begins to cover it, as death is often the punch line.

There are also countless innuendos and even overt jokes about sex.

“Enough for the parents to laugh at,” but something that goes over the heads of the children in the audience and the show, Bloodgood said.

Then there’s the breaking of the fourth wall, which Artistic Director Terry Hale said is one of his favorite hallmarks of a great comedy.

And what’s a musical without several catchy numbers and intricate choreography? With about 50 cast members in total, there’s always something on the stage to look at.

“The Addams Family” opens at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13. It will run on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28 with two additional shows on Oct. 30 and 31. Tickets cost $17. For more ticketing information, go to www.elginoperahouse.com.

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