KAINALIU — Dark and unusual, the characters from “The Addams Family” would, at first glance, seem out of place in Hawaii. Beneath the spooky surface however, their approach to family will feel familiar to the islands.
“Something that I really value about this show is how the emphasis is on family,” Jaquelynn Collier said. “Being in Hawaii, we’re such an ohana-oriented culture, and ‘The Addams Family’ has it’s own unique way of embracing the quirkiness that is in each other’s family. And I think more than ever we need to be reminded, especially on this island, that family does comes first and family is always there for you through the thick and thin.”
Collier stars as Morticia Addams in the Aloha Theatre’s production of “The Addams Family: A New Musical.” It’s based off the characters made famous in the 1960s television series, which Jerry Tracy said he watched in preparation for directing the Broadway show’s West Hawaii showing. Starring alongside Collier is Victor Lugo as Morticia’s husband, Gomez.
“I’ve been associated with the Aloha for a long time, but this play, just watching the series as a kid and having heard of it on Broadway, seemed like a lot of fun,” Lugo said. “It’s a quirky play that all the characters have a good time doing.”
In time for Halloween, the play will run for three weekends starting Friday through Oct. 28. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows begin at 2:30 p.m.
Also a part of the family is Cambrey White as Wednesday, Maka Cabatbat as Pugsley, Miguel Montez as Uncle Fester, Kelly Spangler as Lurch and Karen Hollinger as Grandma.
“The best part is being here at the Aloha and doing a show with so many people that come in from the community,” Lugo said. “We’re working with people we’ve worked with in the past, but we’re also working with a lot of new people that have come in and it just such a great experience to see everybody coming together, giving up their time and talents.”
Collier has had supporting roles in plays at the Aloha Theatre and in New York, where she studied for school, but Morticia is her first chance at a starring role. She said it’s been “nerve-racking” to have her every move watched on stage, and playing Morticia has forced her out of her comfort zone throughout rehearsals.
“She has a confidence that I admire and hope to one day have in myself,” Collier said. “So it’s fun to try to use that as an actress and try to gain confidence from a role. Rather than pushing myself in a role, I feel like I’m getting things from what the play says about her.”
Collier said she was able to use her connections in the Kona community to find out what her audience would want most out of Morticia.
“I’m trying to make it a Morticia for West Hawaii to love.”
Playing husband and wife on stage came easily for Lugo and Collier, who have known each other for years. Collier said it was important to her to have a respectful acting partner such as Lugo when it comes to the intimate relationship between Morticia and Gomez.
On the other side of the Morticia and Gomez relationship is the characters of Alice and Mal Beineke. Central to the musical’s plot, the straight-laced Beineke family comes to meet the Addams family when their son Lucas dates Wednesday.
“We’re middle America, so coming into this crazy, bizarre environment is very intimidating and confusing to us,” said Joel Michaelson, who plays Mal, on his character. “And I’m a tight shirt, right-winger and in the beginning of the show it shows that I am that way. And with it, I play that character where I am a little frustrated with my wife and I don’t have any relationship with my son.”
Michaelson said the Beinekes begin to change their ways once under the influence of the Addams family. Nikki Johnson, who plays Alice, said being a part of the musical has also changed her in a way, and she hopes the audience feels that too.
“They’re like ohana,” Johnson said of the cast and crew. “I’ve lived here for four years, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt that I have amazing friends that feel like family.”
Info: “The Addams Family: A New Musical” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Aloha Theatre and runs through Oct. 28. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and young adults and $15 for children. They can be purchased at apachawaii.org.