Monster of a musical

  • Photo courtesy of Gary Ellwoood

    High school students Lily Alt and Kane Casillas perform in the “Addams Family” musical at the Women In Theatre venue at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Photo courtesy of Katie Vercelli

    Mal and Lucas Beineke are the Addams family’s dinner guests, played by Preston Hayden and Aeden Betts.

  • Photo courtesy of Katie Vercelli

    Sarit Tacata is Wednesday, while Mahina Olores is Pugsley, in the “Addams Family” musical.

  • Photo courtesy of Gary Ellwood

    “Addams Family” musical cast members from left include Lily Alt as Morticia, Kasiah Vercelli as Grandmama, and Kane Casillas as Gomez.

LIHUE — Musical monsters are sure to entertain.

Kauai Performing Arts Center is presenting its “Addams Family” musical production until Sunday at Women In Theatre’s performance space in Kukui Grove Center.

It’s already sold out.

KPAC is part of the state Department of Education Learning Center program designed to expand on educational opportunities for students with special talents and interests at the high schools.

“The center pulled students from all three of our public high schools,” said KPAC Board Member Katie Vercelli. “Waimea, Kapaa and Kauai all have high school students performing in this production. They actually receive course credit toward their fine arts credits in high school, which is wonderful.”

“They put on a spring musical combining the high school students,” she said. “The students shuttle in from Kapaa and Waimea high schools to practice all semester at Kauai High School after school.”

This year’s performance is based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and characters created by Charles Addams.

“For the 2016-17 season, ‘Addams Family’ is the most produced musical across the United States,” Vercelli said. “It’s a really fun musical that has been performed on Broadway.”

Every student who auditioned was able to be a part of the production with music director by Nina Saraos.​

“The book and lyrics are delightful and quirky,” said program director and Kauai High teacher Cher Ellwood. “The music is full of passionate Latin rhythms.”

During the musical, the Addams family visits the graveyard for an annual celebration of all family members, living, dead and undecided. Uncle Fester enlists the help of ancestors, after Wednesday has fallen in love with a “normal” boy invited to dinner with her parents.

“The characters are iconic,” Ellwood said. “They are lovable, kooky, and a little bit spooky. The story depicts the importance of honesty in marriage and the value of family.”

The young character Wednesday admits that love is pulling her in a new direction, while her brother Pugsley concocts a plan to revive her darker nature. Meanwhile, Morticia and Gomez worry about their daughter growing up and how it heralds a new phase of their own relationship.

Main roles of Morticia and Gomez are played by Lily Alt and Kane Casillas, respectively. Other leading roles in the musical are Sean Randol as Uncle Fester, Julie Goldberg as Lurch, Mahina Olores as Pugsley, Sarit Tacata as Wednesday, Aeden Betts as Lucas, Kharma Stambaugh as Alice and Preston Hayden as Mal.

“It has been a great honor to work with these talented and dedicated high school performers, orchestra and artists,” Ellwood said.

Sophomore Hayden is enjoying his first semester in KPAC and is considering studying film production in college.

Kasiah Vercelli, a sophomore at Kapaa High, plays Grandmama, and has been involved with KPAC since 6th grade.

“I learned that it’s OK to be myself,” she said.

She says that being involved with KPAC has given her a lot of confidence, and that it really brought her out of her shell.

This year, students have a chance to participate in different areas of performing arts, such as set design, musical accompaniment, signing, choreography and dancing.

“There’s so many different opportunities for students,” said Katie Vercelli. “Because maybe not everyone is comfortable with the on-stage performing, but there are those who might really enjoy behind the scenes with stage design and set building.”

The performances, normally held at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, were scheduled at the smaller WIT venue due to construction work at KWMCH.

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John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or jsteinhorst@thegardenisland.com.

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