Cast overcomes ‘Addams Family’ gloom

Director T.J. Larke stands in to rehearse a scene with Raymond Capuzzi. Capuzzi, who plays Pugsley in “The Addams Family,” enjoyed being tortured on the rack.

Director T.J. Larke stands in to rehearse a scene with Raymond Capuzzi. Capuzzi, who plays Pugsley in “The Addams Family,” enjoyed being tortured on the rack.

The Addams family is described as creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky, so it only seems appropriate for the Step it up Summer Stage production of the musical comedy to have been met with doom and gloom since the beginning of the two-week program.

Benjamin Kohn was originally slated to serve as musical director for the 5 to 18-year-old thespians. Unfortunately, director Karen Eremin explained, Kohn was in a car accident the Thursday before auditions. He injured his wrists and suffered a concussion rendering him unable to perform his duties.

Eremin instead called Max Finkelstein, the founding musical director, to fill in as a substitute. Finkelstein agreed, even though he lives and works in New York City.

The production has also been plagued by a bout of strep throat and pneumonia. The original student cast to play the grandmother fell ill  four days into the first week.  Grainne Halliday, who originally wanted the part was invited back to fill the vacancy.

Cara DiMedio, who plays Wednesday, also became ill on Tuesday, but was due back Thursday [did you follow that?], the day before the first show. Eremin wasn’t concerned as DiMedio already knew her lines.

Despite the set-backs, Eremin anticipates everything will come together for the 7 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday in the theater.

“You just have to count on the fact it will all come together in the end because the theater gods take care of children and idiots, which are all of us,” said Eremin.

Eremin originally wanted to produce “The Addams Family” as a fun and creepy Halloween show, but a venue wasn’t available. The kids were already excited about the selection, so she chose to produce it in the summer.

Since July 31, the kids have been rehearsing five hours a day, first at Step it up Dance Studio and then at the Walter Reade, Jr. Theatre at Storm King School.

Eremin said one of the major challenges in directing the younger group (the older kids performed “Into the Woods” earlier this summer) was teaching them to speak loud enough for the “old lady sitting in the back row” to hear. Starting in the studio where voices carried better in the smaller space, the kids had to make adjustments once they hit the stage.

The show features two rented props – the rack and the chair of persuasion, which, if it’s thought the person sitting in it is telling a lie, a pulled lever will engage a blade. There’s also a flying scene where, with the use of black lights, Uncle Fester appears to be flying and dancing to the moon.

Cast as Gomez and Morticia, David Mosca and Kianna Batista will be making their Summer Stage debut. Both have experience as part of their respective school’s drama clubs.

Tickets for “The Addams Family” are available by calling 845-534-3645 or by purchasing them at the door.

Cast list

Gomez – David Mosca
Morticia – Kianna Batista
Wednesday – Cara DiMedio
Pugsley – Raymond Capuzzi
Grandmama – Grainne Halliday
Lurch – Robbie Hess
Cousin Itt – Andrew Osborne
Thing – Zoe Stene
Lucas Beineke – Brendan Ahmed
Alice Beineke – Ally Wolf
Mal Beineke – Andrew Richardson

Ancestors:
Prom Queen – Mia Pagano
Bride  – Emma Blacksmith
1940s Starlet – Grace Musante
Cavewoman – Evyn Kendall Lovell
Countess – Annika Taylor
Suffragette – Ariel Yarmus
“Shining” Twin – Ava Liebert
“Shining” Twin – Quinn Skinner
Bobby Soxer – Sophia Colarte
Flapper – Casey Steiner
Native American – Gianna Gazzillo
Nurse – Caroline Hecht
Ballerina – Sofia Taylor
Saloon Girl – Brigid Grodence-Hastey
Disco Queen – Maia Blacksmith
Pilot – Matthew Fenton
Gambler – Daniel Bannon
Matador – Colin Steiner

Moon Maidens:  Gillian deBree, Ciara Fogarty, Catherine Larkin, Madeline Larkin, Olivia Robertson, and Alanna Lee Sargeant

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Editorial Staff