‘The Addams Family’ coming to the stage this week at Kearny HS

A busy week lies ahead as the Kearny High School Visual & Performing Arts Department presents “The Addams Family,” March 14-16 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 336 Devon St.

Remarkably, it’s a show four years in the making.

Back in 2020, “The Addams Family” was the musical of choice at KHS. And while the actors all prepared diligently for their performances, which, like this year, were scheduled for March, everything came to a screeching halt when the entire world shut down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, 2020.

There would be no show. No school. Nothing at all, in fact.

But the show’s Business Manager and long-time district Director of the Visual & Performing Arts program Kathleen Astrella tells The Observer she and her adult cohorts knew this group of talented thespians were ideal to put on “The Addams Family” in 2024

“They are such a unique group of students,” Astrella says. “And they have all worked exceptionally hard to put this all together.”

That may be the greatest understatement about this group. In addition to the countless hours they’ve put in in preparation for the show, the kids have spent their own money to buy props, costume additions and so much more.

This is truly going to be their show. And it promises to be epic.

But why else was this show chosen?

It was an easy choice, Astrella says.

“With the popularity of ‘Wednesday’ and it being so big on Netflix, the time was right,” Astrella says. “The music is also really exciting and gets the cast amped up … and the characters are all so quirky, too, so they’re really into it.”

Danny Conde, in charge of the show’s lighting and the instrumental music director, concurs.

“‘The Addams Family is relevant today thanks to Wednesday,” Conde says. “Yes, The Addams family are older, but they have a strong message — family comes first, family comes last. It’s all about their family. And in this show, attendees are exposed to how to deal with when an outsider comes around. They are very secluded, they know they’re weird, but they learn how to be accepted.”

All of this has translated into what should be a fantastic program.

“The cast takes such pride in the characters and costumes and so much more,” Astrella says. “When they rehearse, it’s so evident how much camaraderie exists.”

And for Conde, it all comes full circle.

He joined the Kearny HS staff in the 2019-2020 school year. His first show was supposed to be “The Addams Family.”

“It’s been great to be a part of,” he says.

The roles in the show include Morticia, played by Haley Felix with Brianna Lopez as the understudy; Gomez is played by Bolivar Suero, with Paulo Acevedo the understudy; Wednesday is played by Nia Brathwaite, Brianna Lopez is understudy; Lucas Beineke is played by Adriano Rivera, Blake Torres is the understudy. Alice is played by Emma Avila, Nicole Lugo is the understudy.

Also, Mal Beineke is played by Paulo Acevedo with Piero Gonzalez as understudy; Pugsley is played by Blake Torres, Jensen Bonilla is the understudy; Grandma’s played by Gustavo De Lima and Sarah Fonseca in the understudy. Uncle Fester comes to life by Miguel Pinero, Gustavo De Lima is his understudy; Lurch is played by Gian Luca Sanchez, Erick De Lima is his understudy.

In the orchestra with their instruments are: reed 1, Charly Castiblanco; reed 2, Michael Gennari; violin 1, Ashlyn Olson; cello, Christine Mello; bass, Amanda Waters; trombone, Will Newrock; trumpet, Benny Diaz; guitar, Kevin Grzybek; keyboard 1, Owen Seaver; keyboard 2, Antonio Aquino; percussion, Paul Robertson and drums, Sanjay Pamaar.

The adult team includes Milagros Gonzalez, stage director and choreographer; Owen Seaver, vocal coach; Danny Conde, instrumental music director and lighting and design; Ian Costello, set design; Dave Caravella, sound engineer; Astrella, business manager and the program was designed by Joe Domalewski.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.