Hannibal High School students prepare to present The Addams Family musical Oct. 25 and Oct. 27

Cast and crew members showed off their spooky new personas in the Hannibal High School Auditorium as they prepared for performances of The Addams Family musical on Thursday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 27.

Vocal Music Director Sara Kurz said students in the cast and crew have been practicing non-stop since the third day of school for a musical that evokes the humor and spooky elements of the 1960s TV series. The Addams Family was selected as a play last spring, and auditions began the week prior to the semester. So far, the unique look and dark humor of the Addams Family characters have meshed well with the students.

“I am shocked at how perfectly the kids fit their roles,” she said. “I think we did a really good job picking the right people for the cast members.”

The Addams Family will be presented during three showings at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $10 each and will be available before the shows or by contacting the Hannibal High School office at (573) 221-2733.

Kurz said the look of each character requires a lot of trial and error — the “Ancestor” characters appear dead, with pale white skin, gray-streaks in their hair and period-correct attire. She said parents, students and other people have worked together to help perfect details like makeup, hair and costumes. Mike and Cheryl Ruhr constructed and decorated the elaborate interior of the Addams' home, and they will accompany the performers in the orchestra.

As the students took the stage for the first time with their new costumes, they reflected on the path leading to their upcoming performances.

Junior Spencer Street said he has been constantly working on his voice for Pugsley, because his voice changed over the summer. He said fellow cast and crew members were “like a second family” who accompanied him through some fun challenges.

“Probably my favorite part is when I get tortured by Wednesday,” he said. “I have to scream and stuff — I really like that.”

Fellow junior Jana Hinds said she has been honing her character voice, too, mentioning how she has enjoyed taking on the role of Grandma.

“Grandma is just a lot of fun, she's just crazy,” she said.

Senior Jace Tischer, who plays Gomez Addams, said mastering the necessary Spanish accent — with rolled “r” sounds and elongated words — required reading his lines in his natural voice first, followed by several more runs using his character's voice. He said he likes witnessing reaction in the audience when everything comes together just right.

“It feels really good, because you look down at the teachers from up on stage, and they have a smile on their face or they laugh, and you know everybody's having a good time and enjoying it,” he said. “And then you realize that once we're actually at showtime, the crowd is going to enjoy it, too.”

Tischer said he appreciated being with everyone during his last musical, showing new cast members “the ropes and how we do it at HHS.” Tischer wished to thank Kurz, fellow Vocal Music Director Kate Fuller and the Ruhrs for their dedication.

“They're more than just teachers and people who work at the musical, they've really become friends and family to me,” he said.

Kurz reinforced Tischer's sentiment about camaraderie and teamwork. “I appreciate this year the way the kids have worked together and had a positive interaction with each other,” she said. “They had just had a good chemistry, and it's been enjoyable because they've come in every night ready to rehearse and work together, and just do what we're asking of them always.”

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com