Area actors to appear in ‘Addams Family’ at Axelrod PAC

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The Academy Players will debut their second musical, “The Addams Family,” at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Ocean Township, for two weekends, May 7-15. The Academy Players are the musical theater students of the Axelrod Performing Arts Academy (APAA) at Bell Works in Holmdel.

“The Addams Family” is directed and choreographed by Michael La Fleur, who has created shows and directed for the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios and Cirque du Soleil. The Academy Players’ production will be La Fleur’s sixth time directing the musical, according to a press release.

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“I believe the enduring charm and popularity of ‘The Addams Family’ is due to the solid family values that dwell at the core of this clan of kooky ‘free-thinkers,’ ” La Fleur said. “Although they are more than a bit odd, to the outsider, they are passionate people with a deep love and respect for one another. All of us have a little Addams in our blood.”

“The Addams Family,” with a score by Tony Award nominee Andrew Lippa and an original book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”), ran on Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.

While most people remember America’s favorite “creepy and kooky” family from reruns of the 1960s hit TV series (or one of the five Hollywood films), the musical is based on the source material of Charles Addams’ original single-panel cartoons, according to the press release.

The musical has a completely new storyline about 18-year-old Wednesday, played by Juliana Harary (Navesink), who has fallen in love with a “normal” teenager from Ohio, Lucas Beineke, played by Sealth Grover (Navesink) and the ghoulish chaos that ensues as Wednesday’s parents, Gomez and Morticia, played by Sam Cusson and Giada Garcia (both from Middletown), face the possibility of changing their nontraditional macabre ways.

Mr. and Mrs. Beineke, Lucas’s conservative parents, are played by Aman Tolia (Holmdel) and Ava Giglia (Middletown).

Rounding out the Addams family are Micah Schachet-Brisken (Marlboro) as the quirky Uncle Fester, Brennan Boyce (Howell) as young brother Pugsley, Kara Kube (Toms River) as the mystical Grandma and Max Oster (Asbury Park) as the groaning butler Lurch.

This is La Fleur’s first time collaborating with the Academy Players.

“Watching the APAA kids dive head-first into this ambitious and challenging musical has been a wonder to behold,” he said. ” … they have formed a family of artists, all with our own quirks and unique points of view. Together, they are creating something very special. I can’t wait for audiences to see the great evening of laughs and love they are creating.”

Music direction for “The Addams Family” is provided by Michael Gilch, who will conduct the band.

The design team includes Fred Sorrentino (scenic), Jeremy Johnson (lighting), Susan Bloir (props) and Gerry Gironda (sound), with costumes provided by Scaramouche Costumes of Chester. Dennis Tolentino and Sara Tomas are the stage managers.

The show is being produced by Andrew DePrisco, artistic director of APAC, and Gabriel Chajnik, director of APAA and AXCBT.

Tickets may be purchased at www.AxelrodArtsCenter.com or by calling 732-531-9106, ext. 14. Performances are May 7 and May 14 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and May 8 and May 15 at 3 p.m. Check the website for the current COVID guidelines.

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