By Maddy Vitale
While watching the Ocean City High School Drama Guild performance of “The Addams Family” it was hard to think that the cast was made up of teenagers.
From the dancing, to the singing, to the acting, it was like the cast had been schooled in the theater well beyond their years.
The audience seemed to agree. The matinee performance of the spring musical Saturday in the school’s Nancy & William Hughes Performing Arts Center kept the audience laughing, applauding and even cheering.
The tone of the musical was set in the first act, when Gomez, played by TJ Rumer, took to the stage with Morticia, played by Natalie Katsiff, and Wednesday, played by Victoria Robertson, to sing “When You’re An Addams.”
Rumer, on his own, could entertain a crowd in a one-man show. He is unbelievably talented, confident, funny and graceful as he performs numerous dance steps gliding across the stage. He makes it look easy.
The cast of 55, including many “ghosts,” seamlessly danced along with Rumer in the superbly choreographed performances. At one point, some of the dancers even took to the audience for a scene.
Rob LeMaire, the director of the musical, said that the show really came together. He also thanked the public for coming out to support the students. Lemaire cast two actors for the lead roles so that each student could do two of the four shows.
“The kids worked hard, and it shows at every performance,” LeMaire said.
Katsiff and Rumer have performed together for years and it showed during their perfectly timed dance steps, especially in “The Tango” where Gomez was the matador and Morticia the bull.
Wednesday Addams, (Robertson) was a strong lead with her powerful voice and meticulously delivered lines. She and Billy Flynn, who played her boyfriend Lucas, seemed to have fun with their song “Crazier Than You.”
Andrew Arsenalt played a good Lurch and some of his lines and even a song, led to laughter.
Julia Wilson, who played Pugsley, melded the perfect amount of comedy and beautiful vocals.
In one scene, she puffed on a cigar. In another, she wanted to put Wednesday under a spell to so that she would fall out of love with Lucas.
When Wilson had her turn to shine, she enthralled the audience with a powerful rendition of the song “What If.”
She even hit a high note that led to the room erupting in applause.
Julia’s mom, Melissa Wilson, praised the kids for working so hard. Although some of the talent is graduating, there is a wealth of talent remaining in the pipeline.
Chad Callahan played Uncle Fester and seemed so relaxed. He amused the audience in several scenes, especially when he fell in love with “The Moon” and serenaded it perfectly with the supporting cast of ghosts.
Jenna Scioli, an English teacher at the high school, was the assistant director.
It was her first show. “I had no idea how many moving parts there were. There is such a process that went into the production,” Scioli said, adding that the cast was fantastic.
For Lisa Rumer, there were mixed emotions since it would be her son TJ’s last high school performance before going off to study theater.
“It is so bittersweet. I am so excited to see him in the show with all his friends. He is so talented,” Rumer said.
This was also the last high school show for Nancy Karsner, who created all the elaborate, creative costumes.
After numerous shows she decided she wanted to spend more time with her family.
The cast dedicated a dressing room in her name and presented her with a plaque at Friday night’s performance, she said.
Karsner said she never expected that, or the kind remarks made about her in the program for her dedication to the Ocean City Drama Guild.
The program reads: “Mrs. Karsner is no mere seamstress. She is a counselor, a listener, a confidante, an advisor, our historian and our friend. We salute you. You have made us look good and be better people for nine years and 17 shows. You have set a high bar. You will be deeply missed.”
The original musical comedy ran for 722 performances on Broadway.
The cast of “The Addams Family” featured Dennis Adams, Andrew Arsenault, Kayla Attiya, Jay Barrett, Elizabeth Buch, Caroline Byrne, Chad Callahan, Maggie Corcoran, Trevor Corcoran, Ella Curtin, Haley DePersenaire, Gabriella DiMarco, Billy Flynn, Ashley Gereaghty, Nathan Goudie, Karen Greenwood, Ashley Hoffman, Madison Holmes, Adam Hubbi, Natalie Katsiff, Kayla Killian, Shane Kirby, Luke Leonetti, Danna Luciano, Seaira Manning, Sophia McCarty, Morgan McLees, Sophia Meyler, Emily Mora, Valerie Morrison, Katie Muller, Dan Mulraney, Shannon Mulraney, Kelly Nyman, Ellen O’Brien, Haleigh Perry, Lilirose Phillips, Hailee Pietrowitz, Kayla Pietrowitz, Isabella Roache, Victoria Robertson, Emma Rodriguez, TJ Rumer, Sara Ruth, Sylvia Rutkowski, Conrad Schmidt, Stella Schwartz, Emily Smith, Andrew Stremme, Emily Torrence, Kat Trout, Meredith Urban, Gabbi Verducci, Erik Wagner, Gabrielle Waid, Jenna Wilkinson, Julia Wilson, and Jessica Wriggins.
The Ocean City High School stage crew members who worked on the set included Robin Altman, Justin Berry, Sadie Degennaro, Max Fisher, Paul Giordano, Marley Goudie, Kylee Grandmaison, Emily He, Tyler Hogg, Sophie Koval, Kira Layton, Tanner Mitzel, Nicole Moore-Kittner, Justin Nelson, Dylan Peck, Julia Pestalozzi, AliJane Robel, Jacob Schneider, Jennifer Stevens, Micah Waid, Sean Walsh, Tyler Williams, and Sarah Zigner.
Ocean City students and staff who appeared with the pit orchestra, included Andrew Biglin, Frank Butterick, Tym Cox, Gabriel Doughty, Alexandra Errickson, Isabelle Heng, Andrew Holloway, Christopher Horan, Elijah Kuchler, Christopher May, Victoria Patella, Georgia Roache, Dominic Scalfaro, Noah Schneider, Alex Town, Pete Wiggins and Kate Wyatt along with accompanist Scott Breiner and conductor Donna Schwartz.