The Column Online



Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Rockwall Community Playhouse

Directed by Darlene Singleton
Vocal Director-Paul Burnam
Choreographer-Erin Ragsdale
Virtual Assistant Director-Mackenzie Lewis
Stage Manager-Jennifer Lewis
Master Carpenter-Gene Fields
Costumes-Tiffany Koop & Jaclyn Vu
Set Artist-Joetta Currie
Makeup Artists-Jaclyn Vu & AnnaLaurie Hibbs
Light Design-Steve Golin & Marie Norris
Sound Tech-Nathan Hanning
Light Tech-Marie Norris
Backstage Crew-Annalee Johnson
Producer, Backstage Crew-Curtis Roughton

Aaron Lett-Gomez Addams
Ashley Reeves-Morticia Addams
Sydney Wheat-Wednesday Addams
Tysen Johnson-Pugsley Addams
Gene Fields-Fester
Sarah Floyd-Grandma
Chris Mooney-Lurch
Paul Burnam-Mal Beineke
Jacey Lett-Alice Beineke
Holden Magee-Lucas Beineke
Aidan Ragsdale-Monster Iguanadon
Riley Ragsdale-Cousin Itt
Annalee Johnson-Grim Reaper

Nolan Rhew-Caveman
Micah Sullivan-Indian Brave
Erin Ragsdale-Flapper
Lauren Milam-WWI Nurse
Lauren Metzinger-Roman Goddess
Carmen Witwer-Western Pearl
Blakeley Lewis-Flight Attendant
Sharon Hester-Titanic Diva
Joetta Currie-Flower Child
Kenedy Matthews-Bride
Jennifer Wheat-Salem Witch
Amelie Beegle-Indian Maiden
Haylee Norris-Opera Prima Donna

Reviewed Performance: 9/29/2018

Reviewed by Ann Saucer, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Rockwall Community Playhouse does a great job with the very witty musical, The Addams Family. Their high-energy production is a real crowd pleaser.

The musical is ingenuously rich in clever dialogue, and the entire cast does the material justice by making the joke-laced and fast-paced lyrics understandable. Of the many positive things to say about the musical, and this production, I am most impressed with the emergence of a touching and cohesive theme. The stage is initially set with cartoon characters, but by the end of the performance, you understand the darkness that they are embracing.

Aaron Lett as the charismatic, irrepressible Gomez, provided the lightbulb moment for me. He is a skilled comedic lyricists; this part requires that he crack jokes while singing with an accent, and he not only makes the dialogue entirely understandable but he’s having such a great time that he makes it look easy. Whether waiving a sabre or doing the tango, Lett also delivers a physical performance that is a treat to see.

Lett’s “Happy Sad” ballad to his daughter Wednesday (a talented Sydney Wheat) in the second act was a theater moment I will not forget. Lett drops Gomez’s lighthearted bravado and sincerely explains to his daughter what being a parent is like – and through that song the musical becomes more than a series of laughs and great song-and-dance numbers. Lett’s explanation to Wednesday, that he is proud that she is grown but loved her so very much as a child, is simply beautiful, and his range as an actor – from comic to tear-jerking – is impressive. (Although for the record I deny I cried).

This family embraces the darkness because that is reality if you’re being honest. We are all going to die, and before that, everything changes, which is great -- except that with the passage of time you inherently lose what you once loved. All of that sounds like the most depressing thing in the world, but you can take the musical at face value, laugh, and not “over think it” if you choose. The same is true about life. If I sound crazy, that’s yet another theme. Did I mention this musical is very clever?

The rest of the cast delivers strong performances as well. Lett and the commanding Ashley Reeves, playing the domineering Morticia Addams, have solid chemistry. Reeves understands why her character is funny and does a great job sticking to Morticia’s stiff carriage -- even while dancing.

Wheat and Tysen Johnson as Pugsley work well together portraying the grouchy teenage sister and the annoying younger brother whom she loves to torment. Here, the joke is that Pugsley wants to be tormented. Johnson is funny as a torture victim while Wheat does a great job belting out the punchy musical number “Pulled.”

Tysen Johnson is a talent to watch. He is expressive enough to steal scenes, with an impressive command of the stage for one so young. He also has a strong voice and seemingly natural comic timing. His scene with Grandma (Sarah Floyd) is fantastic.

Floyd is flat-out hilarious, and an accomplished physical performer with a command of slapstick. She also has a great voice and exquisite comic timing.

Paul Burnam is divine as the crotchety Mal Beineke. At first I thought he was just perfectly type cast and playing himself, but in the second act it becomes clear that he’s a phenomenal performer. I would see him in a one-man show. He’s that good.

Jacey Lett delights as the long suffering Alice Beineke. She matches Floyd in delivering a no-holds-barred physical performance at the end of the first act.

Holden Magee convinces as Lucas Beineke, an awkward and love-sick teenage boy. Gene Fields has a good voice and delivers a sweet performance as the ever-smiling Uncle Fester. Chris Mooney is a funny, towering Lurch.

The costumes and makeup are visually stunning. The ancestors are perfectly washed out as greyish ghosts in a fun array of outfits, each one more outlandish than the one before. The stage direction, frequently employing them as part of the scenery, is a visual treat. The lighting also enhances the ghostly effect, and the light design successfully allows for multiple scene changes on a stage that is not big. The choreography also is consistently first rate, and the ancestors are put to great use in the dance numbers.

Overall, I loved this production, and I think you will too.

(Photos by Christy Brown)

Rockwall Community Playhouse
September 21 through October 7, 2018
Rockwall Community Playhouse
609 E. Rusk, Rockwall, Texas
For information and Tickets call 972 722-3399 or go to