Choir department excited for “The Addams Family” musical performances

Classrooms lie darkened and desks lie dormant as they wait patiently for students to return the next morning. Every room in the school is quiet except for the Performing Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 27. From the PAC the melodic voices of students ring through the halls as others practice a choreography, look through their scripts or wait in the wings for their next entrance. The rest of the school may be sleeping, but choir students spend their January nights preparing for this year’s musical: “The Addams Family.”

“I’m really excited and proud of this year’s production,” senior Sami Ireland, who plays the Grandma, said. “[I’m] especially proud of everyone’s commitment to their roles and the musical in general. I’m super excited for the Westlake community to see the hardwork and commitment everyone has given during this musical.”

The musical’s plot revolves around the spooky Addams Family: Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, their Uncle Fester, their Grandma and their butler Lurch who gather for a family dinner where Wednesday introduces her “normal” boyfriend Lucas and his parents, Mal and Alice, to her eerie family. Conflict and humor ensue as the two different families reconcile their differences. 

“It feels great to be part of a big production like this once again,” senior Zach Jasper, who plays Uncle Fester, said. “It felt like we were really missing something last year.”

Performing the musical is one of the choir programs’ most beloved traditions. The musical’s cast includes all sophomore, junior and senior choir members, with an auditioning process before winter break giving students the chance for a leading role. However, only choir students can audition for the musical, something unique to Westlake. Every sophomore through senior choir student still gets the opportunity to participate in the musical in a group number.  After auditions, the rehearsal process begins. Every grade level has their own big collective musical number they learn and perform together.    

“It’s so great to be back in full swing with a full audience and everyone grades 10 through 12,” senior Quentin Schaefer, who plays Gomez Addams, said. “After high school there aren’t a lot of opportunities to be a part of a big production like this, so I am grateful to even have this opportunity.”

Throughout the rehearsal process students commit to a number of rehearsals depending on their role as well as three performance dates: Thursday February 3 at 7:30 p.m., Friday February 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday February 5 at 7:30 p.m. (all three shows take place in the PAC). Although it is a large time commitment, being part of the musical gives students the opportunity to have experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have in traditional choral singing. 

“My favorite part of preparing for the musical was definitely blocking and staging the scenes with the other principles,” Sami said. “Being in choir, I’m really used to being super still and poised while performing song and concert pieces, so adding fun dialogue, dancing and acting with other cast members has been a fun and super enjoyable experience.”

Students also feel that this year’s musical is extremely special due to the fact that COVID-19 prevented the school from having a musical last year. This means that seniors’ last musical occurred when they were sophomores and the junior and sophomore choir students have never gotten to experience a musical before. 

“After last year getting canceled, if anything we are so blessed and grateful to be able to even have a musical,” senior Riley Henkener, who plays Mal, said. “While the pandemic is not over, and we still have to take precautions, we very much want to make up for lost time, and give the Westlake community a musical that makes up for the last two years.”

With opening night less than a week away, choir students continue to prepare for the show while bonding with each other.

“[The other leads and I] were already friends before, but spending every evening with them for a month has made me realize how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life,” senior Izzy Alin, who plays Wednesday Addams, said. “I look around during rehearsals and think to myself ‘these are my people.’ And really they are, they’re like my family.”


“The Addams Family” cast list:

Gomez: Quentin Schaefer

Morticia: Sadie Balling 

Wednesday: Izzy Alin 

Pugsley: Kemper Brewer 

Uncle Fester: Zach Jasper 

Grandma: Sami Ireland 

Lurch: Mitchell Schultz 

Lucas: Jacob Boone 

Mal: Riley Henkener 

Alice: Taarika Bhargava