They’re creepy and they’re kooky and Agnes Irwin’s Repertory Company brought this atypical American family’s brand of madness and the macabre to the West-Wike Theatre for four performances of The Addams Family, November 17-19.
Over 50 Agnes Irwin students, along with three seniors from The Haverford School, took to the stage reprising the show’s iconic roles, including a flamboyant Gomez, a chilly Morticia, an “electric” Fester, and a naughty Pugsley as they cope with a new family dynamic when an anxious Wednesday brings home her prospective fiancée and his parents to meet her unconventional family.
At a Saturday matinee on Nov. 19, The Addams Family cast and crew welcomed 159 residents of Delaware’s affordable housing community to the show, and afterwards, hosted a special Q&A and meet-and-greet. The visitors are part of the Positive Points Program, an academic and cultural enrichment project designed to support economically disadvantaged youth and adults, implemented by Arbor Management, Inc. of Wilmington, DE.
Agnes Irwin senior Sara Perkins, who organized the matinee event, was eager to merge her artistic endeavors with an opportunity for service. Perkins has served as stage manager for four AIS productions, including The Addams Family, and has actively supported Positive Points Program for five years. Last summer, she made a request to Agnes Irwin to bring PPP students to AIS to watch the musical. After receiving support from her PPP supervisor and the Agnes Irwin administration, Perkins publicized this campy musical to both PPP residents and the school community, sourced refreshments for the event and recruited her classmates for a post-matinee, student-led panel of performers and tech crew to fully engage an ambitious Positive Points audience.
As the Addams dabbled in the domestic with family antics including a little good-natured sibling torture, secret potions, and a rocket trip to the moon, Agnes Irwin Upper Schoolers sang and tangoed to hit Broadway numbers including “When You’re an Addams” and “One Normal Night.” Under the guidance of director Bill Esher, music director Jerry Kapral and art teacher Keri Farrow, Agnes Irwin students designed the ornate gothic setting for the Addams family’s ancestral home, created extravagant costumes, and synchronized complex lighting and set changes to create a sparkling production of a family at once sentimental and scheming, high-spirited and hilarious.
“For me, this has been a gratifying opportunity to come up with a proposal and integrate a whole lot of moving parts. I’m hoping this event sparks even greater participation in the arts, and works to both inform and entertain AIS and PPP students alike,” Perkins said. “That would be a real win-win.”
Top: More than 50 Agnes Irwin students participated in The Addams Family. (Photo by Karen Mosimann)
Middle: Stage manager Sara Perkins ’17, who organized the special matinee performance for PPP visitors, leads the Q&A on Nov. 19. (Photo by Annie McConnon ’17)
Bottom: 159 residents of Delaware’s affordable housing community attended the Nov. 19 matinee. (Photos by Audrey Perkins)