Spring Musical Preview: They're Creepy, Kooky and Ready for EPHS!

Spring Musical Preview: They're Creepy, Kooky and Ready for EPHS!

PHOTO: Miranda Barajas and Justin Nieves rehearse as Morticia and Gomez Addams in the EPHS 2017 spring musical, "The Addams Family." Scroll down for more photos.

Wednesday Addams is all grown up and ready to get married — but how will her family react to the news, especially when her boyfriend and his parents are so, well, normal?

That's the premise behind Elmwood Park High School's 2017 spring musical, "The Addams Family," which will be performed Friday through Sunday at the EPHS Auditorium. Showtimes are:

► 7 p.m. Friday, March 10

► 7 p.m. Saturday, March 11

► 2 p.m. Sunday, March 12

General admission is $5, and EP students get in free with ID. 

The musical comedy stars Justin Nieves (Gomez), Miranda Barajas (Morticia), Erin Hirtzig (Wednesday), Joe Klockenkemper (Pugsley), Michael Matos (Fester), Devon Schumann (Lucas Beineke), Matt Hernandez (Mal Beineke), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Alice Beineke), Julianna Robinson (Grandma) and Justin Eigenbauer (Lurch).

The show is directed by Noah Pligge. Mike Popplewell is vocal music director, Kyle Rhoades is producer, accompanist and pit orchestra conductor, Sue Schultz is costume designer and Brittany Muszynski is set designer.

PHOTO: Joe Klockenkemper as Pugsley, Devon Schumann as Lucas Beineke and Erin Hirtzig as Wednesday perform a scene in "The Addams Family," EPHS's spring musical.

How "The Addams Family" Arrived at EPHS

In 2009, when Pligge was a student at DePaul University, he saw a preview version of "The Addams Family" in Chicago before it opened in Broadway. 

"Since then, this show has always been on my radar," he recalled. "A few years ago at the Illinois Theatre Fest, many of our students went to go see a version of the show brought down by a local high school, and they all raved about it.

"After hearing their thoughts on the show, I knew it would be a contender in the upcoming years. And after 'Guys and Dolls' [last year's EPHS spring production, which Pligge also directed], I knew it was time to do a more current musical."

PHOTO: Matt Hernandez as Mal Beineke and Elizabeth Rodriguez as Alice Beineke are Wednesday Addams' prospective in-laws.

A Group Effort

When Pligge and his colleagues Popplewell, Rhoades, Schultz and Muszynski discussed production candidates, they wanted to make sure the final choice would involve as many students as possible, whether in the cast, crew or pit orchestra.

"Any student who joins will have a vital role in the whole process," Pligge noted. "Keeping with the theme of larger-sized musicals, we always have to make sure that the pit orchestra size is well suited for the instrumentation in the bands. We never want to choose a larger show with only a combo band, because it leaves so many kids out.

"We also need to look at the past shows and make sure it isn't too similar and that it would be something the community and school would enjoy. I never precast my shows, but we need to make sure that we have the right students for the parts. This group is perfect for this show."

PHOTO: Michael Matos takes the stage as Fester Addams in a crowd-pleasing performance.

Tech Week Is Here

More than 90 students are involved in staging "The Addams Family," including 37 cast members, 29 crew members and 25 pit members.

Rehearsals began just before winter break and continued when classes resumed in January. 

The students are now immersed in "tech week," which entails putting in long hours to make sure everything is just right for opening night — sets, props, costumes, makeup, music, choreography and, of course, individual performances.

District 401 middle school and elementary school students will get a sneak peek at what all the hard work has produced when the show is performed for them Thursday, March 9, at EPHS.

PHOTO: Director Noah Pligge (in hat) helps his cast and crew get ready for a scene during a recent "Addams Family" rehearsal.

What to Expect

If you're a fan of the "Addams Family" television series or movies, you can expect plenty of laughs, terrific songs and a few twists as familiar characters are brought to life again.

"Justin Nieves as Gomez Addams is something you do not want to miss," Pligge said. "He has been doing a fantastic job creating his character, and it is only going to be better by showtime. In addition, Miranda Barajas as his wife, Morticia Addams, brings her character a whole new flavor."

As always, the rehearsal process has been challenging, but Pligge expects the final results to be memorable for performers and audience members alike. 

"I think everything has gone how it is supposed to," he said. "The process is never supposed to be easy, because that would be boring. There have been bumps in the road with scheduling issues, over-involved students, this nasty cold that keeps coming around and just plain exhaustion.

"But one thing these kids are really good at is pushing through. I am extremely proud of all the hard work they have put into this show, and I can't wait to see what they bring to the table this weekend." 

More Photos from "Addams Family" Rehearsals

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