Emily Buckley, editor in chief
It’s hard to even say the words “The Addams Family” without immediately breaking into its familiar theme song — so just wait until you experience the wickedly funny musical production, and better yet, experience it in legendary Pickleville style with a cast stacked full of the talented Davis family.
The Addams Family tells the story of every father’s worst nightmare: Wednesday Addams, the princess of darkness, has grown-up and fallen in love … with a sweet, smart, “normal” boy from Ohio who her parents have never met. Worse still, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him to keep it a secret from her mother. A dinner meet-and-greet at the Addams Mansion sets the stage for the horrific hospitality of Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Lurch, and everyone’s favorite weirdo, Uncle Fester, as two vastly different worlds collide.
The deliciously dark musical comedy sneaks in a heartwarming “family first” theme that is appropriate for all ages.
“Fall is not traditionally a popular time to visit Bear Lake,” Derek Davis, who is both playing Gomez Addams and directing the show, said. “But as our audience has grown, we thought, ‘Why not give a Halloween-themed show a shot?’ We decided on an extended run of The Addams Family and didn’t know what the response would be, but as soon as we made tickets available, people started snatching them up really fast. We added two shows that sold out right away and have since added three more.”
More than anything, Derek says he was excited about the prospect of involving his family in the show. His grandparents, LeGrande and Betty Larsen, established the Pickleville Playhouse in 1977 with the implicit idea of giving their children a place to perform, work, and grow together.
“Over the years, because of busy schedules and the increased number of shows we produce each summer, our family has become less and less involved on stage,” Derek said. “So, when we started thinking about this show, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get the family involved for a show that would only run for a couple of weekends.”
His plan succeeded. Of the show’s cast of 14, eight are immediate Davis family members including: matriarch Andrea Davis playing Grandma, Derek Davis playing Gomez and his real-life wife, Whitley Davis, playing his on-stage wife Morticia, sister Kenzie Davis playing Wednesday Addams, sister Whitney Davis Folkerson playing Alice Beineke, sister Sharli Davis King both choreographing the show and playing an ancestor, sister Chelsie Davis Haynie playing an ancestor, and nephew Hayden Davis (son of TJ Davis) making his Pickleville stage debut as Pugsley Addams. TJ Davis is the show’s music director.
“My mom [Andrea Davis] is a Pickleville legend,” Derek said. “She was the star of the shows in the early days, but hasn’t been on the stage in about 30 years. We had to do some convincing to get her to read lines and consider a part, but as soon as she did it, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, you are a star!’ She is hilarious … she is going to steal the show.”
Derek says audiences can expect to create a special memory at Pickleville Playhouse this fall. “This is one of the most hilariously written shows I have ever been a part of,” he said. “There is so much love between all of us on stage. The relationships that you get to see underneath the characters that we are playing, hopefully, create a really unique experience.”
The Addams Family opens this weekend and will run Fridays and Saturdays through October 26. A limited number of tickets are still available online at www.picklevilleplayhouse.com.