Lee's Summit Journal

Theater students at Lee’s Summit North embrace roles of a peculiar family

In Lee’s Summit North High School’s production of the musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” Gomez Addams, played by Lukas Parrish, and his daughter, Wednesday Addams, played by Katie Shatzer, have a heart-to-heart talk. The show will run Nov. 16 and 17 at Lee’s Summit North.
In Lee’s Summit North High School’s production of the musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” Gomez Addams, played by Lukas Parrish, and his daughter, Wednesday Addams, played by Katie Shatzer, have a heart-to-heart talk. The show will run Nov. 16 and 17 at Lee’s Summit North. Special to The Journal

For nearly three months, the Lee’s Summit North theater family has been spending a lot of time getting to know another large, extended family: “The Addams Family,” to be exact.

Since the beginning of September, nearly 100 cast and crew members have worked hundreds of hours to produce the internationally acclaimed musical comedy.

First performed on Broadway in 2010, this off-beat show is based on cartoons of the Addams Family characters, created by Charles Addams. The musical follows the cartoon storyline, which depicts a macabre family and their affinity for the ghoulish. Though numerous film and television adaptations of Addams Family cartoons exist, this musical is the first stage show based on the characters.

“I saw the original ‘The Addams Family’ musical in New York with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth and fell in love with the music, as well as the humor,” said Shayne Daniel, who has taught and directed North’s theater department for the past 18 years. “A throwback to the great TV shows of the 1950s and ’60s, I felt it would resonate with a whole new generation.”

Daniel also believed the show would best fit the skills and talent of North’s theater students.

Senior Lukas Parrish plays Gomez Addams, the eccentric, unpredictable patriarch of the kooky, quirky Addams family.

“Playing the role of Gomez is one of the most fun roles a baritone can play,” said Parrish, who discovered a love for musical theater in middle school.

“Though it’s very fun, it’s also extremely challenging because Gomez changes emotions extremely quickly. In one scene, he might go through five or six different emotions.”

Parrish not only embraces challenges that come with a tough role, but also sees the experience as valuable in many other ways.

“My favorite part about creating a character is getting to fall into someone else’s life. For a couple of hours, I get to forget about my life and become part of my character’s life.

“The reason people read books or watch movies is to fall into a different reality for a short period of time. My preferred method is actually becoming part of that story. The best part about it is, I get to bring enjoyment to other people while I perform.”

From choreography and lighting, character development to costuming, producing a musical comedy is a kaleidoscope of moving parts. It takes a dedicated theater community, and a tremendous amount of work, to bring a musical stage, members of the theater community say.

“It’s always valuable to work with others, because it teaches cooperation and team work, which are necessary skills in today’s world,” Parrish said. “Working so closely with all of these people for an extended period of time is what makes the show so fun. The bond between cast members who work really hard to put on an amazing show is unbreakable.”

Over the years, Daniel has seen that solidarity and friendship blossom innumerable times among his students.

“Theater students tend to be those that need a place to belong and thrive,” he said. “It’s a place where cliques and other social barriers don’t seem to exist.

“These are bright, talented and energetic students who just want to build something they can be proud of, while creating high school memories that will last for years. For some, the theater is a home away from home, and we strive to create those bonds.”

Lee’s Summit North Theater Department 2019 shows include a February production of “The Secret Garden,” and a spring Repertory Production Series to be announced.

“The Addams Family” will run Nov. 16 and 17. Contact the Lee’s Summit North High School Theater Department at lsntheatre.net/current%20season for tickets and additional information.

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