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'Addams Family' delivers comedy, nostalgia with gothic twist

Ohio University might have a reputation for being haunted, but Tuesday evening the campus was visited by a new set of ghouls.

The Ohio University Performing Arts series presented the musical The Addams Family to a crowd of more than 1,200 in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

As the show opened, the audience clapped and snapped along with the iconic theme song, and despite some minor technical problems, laughed throughout the production as the cast cracked familiar jokes and pranks from the series.

“This production was amazing,” said Brandon Fullenkamp, a graduate student studying orchestral conducting who shadowed the professional musical director in the pit during the production. “Seeing it from the perspective was great and you could really see how much work goes into a production.”  

The show was added to the season’s lineup because of its distinctive nature, said Andrew Holzaepfel, associate director of the Campus Involvement Center.

“The show was brought to OU because it ranked high on our survey of potential touring Broadway productions,” he said.

In the production, Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with “a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family.” The show follows her struggles to keep her family’s quirks a secret when her boyfriend and his family come to the Addams family’s mansion for dinner.

Though she portrays an 18-year-old version of the iconic character, Jennifer Fogarty, who plays Wednesday in the production, said she was influenced by Charles Addams’ show and cartoon.

“It’s been amazing bringing a cartoon to life,” she said. “She’s a really strong woman who doesn’t mind what people think of her. She’s tough because of her family, but she’s also very sweet.”

In the show, the Addams clan — Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch — and the Beinecke family —Alice, Mal and Lucas bump heads. The contrast between the two families consumed much of the spotlight, earning big laughs from the audience.

The laughable aspect of the show is something everyone can relate to, Fogarty said.

“A lot of the characters go through so many changes during the show and there is this struggle to be themselves,” she said. “I think this is something everyone goes through.”

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