HAVERHILL — One America’s creepiest yet lovable families will appear on stage when students at Whittier Regional High School present their entertaining rendition of the 1960s TV show and 1991 movie, “The Addams Family.’’
Performances are tomorrow and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are on sale now at the school for $6 and will be available at the door of the school auditorium for $8.
This musical comedy features dark humor and family themes. A live orchestra will accompany the play.
“It’s hilarious,” said Matt Giovannetti, a senior from Lawrence who plays Uncle Fester. “There are a lot of unique characters and the clash between the families really drives the story in a comical way.”
The show is an adaptation of The Addams Family movie, which was based on Charles Addams original comics from the 1940s and 1950s.
“It’s an all-around great time and a great experience for people who haven’t seen the movie or TV show before,” said Rachel Anderson, a sophomore from Haverhill who plays in the ensemble. “I’m really excited about it.”
The story revolves around the Addams’ daughter, Wednesday, a typical teen who rebels against her parents. She is played by Junior Maggie Stokes of Haverhill.
“She is in love with someone from the right side of the tracks, so that’s a big problem with her mom,” Stokes said.
“There’s a lot of dark humor,” said senior Alex Connor, who plays Lucas, the “normal” kid whom Wednesday is secretly dating. “Wednesday is the princess of darkness and does not fit in at all with Lucas’ family. Lucas’ mom is all about sunshine, rainbows and happiness. When both families meet, they clash.”
The macabre, musical comedy features pun-filled songs performed by the live orchestra, including the opening number, “When You’re an Addams,” with the lyrics “Give us shadows, give us gloom … something fun we can all exhume.”
“Visually, it’s a really cool show,” said Kylie Leeper, a freshman from Haverhill who plays an ancestor in the ensemble. “With a lot of the costumes, especially the dead ancestors, we’re using white paint to fade out the costumes and make everything look old, dusty and authentic.”
Senior Robbie Leeper enjoys playing Gomez, the Addams’ eccentric father.
“Most of the Addams are subdued, but he’s fiery and active,” Leeper said. “He’s a fun character to play.”
When Gomez’s wife, Morticia asks, “You think you can sway me with a joke?” he responds, “It’s the last thing I’ll try before the chloroform.”
Giovannetti said it was challenging to figure out how to play his character, Uncle Fester.
“I’ve had to put myself into something other than a regular human being,” he said. “He’s quirky and very out there with no specific sexuality. In fact, he’s in love with the moon. But he’s supportive of Wednesday and is in favor of making love work.”
Freshman Rachel Bevelaqua of Merrimac said she was thrilled to be part of her first Whittier show.
“Even as freshmen, we can be part of a big show,” she said.
Meghan Ridley, a junior from Methuen who plays an ancestor, said the audience will enjoy “the turmoil, drama and trouble.”
“There are family issues and a lot of life in it,” said Ridley, who is proud of her school for taking on rhe play. “Instead of the run-of-the-mill plays, we’re doing something different.’’
“We are normal teenagers in the skin of these crazy, deranged New Yorkers,” said Rachael Garrison, a junior from Haverhill who plays Grandma. “It’s great.”
Whittier Regional High is at 115 Amesbury Line Road.