G&S Society marks 50 years with ‘The Addams Family’
You only turn 50 once. The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda is celebrating the milestone, and its return to the stage after a pandemic-caused hiatus, with a production of the Broadway musical, The Addams Family.
Q: What drew you to acting? What was your first G & S role?
Philip Barnett: My first G & S role was in 1998 when I did Les Miserables, playing Marius. I grew up in Bermuda but I lived in Vancouver, Canada for 18 years and I was very involved [in acting] there and had been, at one point, professional. But I was also, as most actors are, a very good waiter. So I fell into the restaurant industry instead.
Jennifer Campbell: I think it was Guys and Dolls and I played somebody in the Salvation Army group. I used to sing when I was very, very little because I had an uncle who was a very accomplished piano player, and so I used to sing with him when I was four. I lived in Toronto for a long time, but I never auditioned for anything because all of the community theatre was peppered with out of work actors so the competition was really harsh. I just figured, you know, I'm never going to get a part. So I got a little role in the musical, which was a BMDS production, and I haven't really looked back.
Megan Zimmerer: I was seven and I was in Ragtime. I grew up dancing but got into a drama club at school, and then they recommended I audition for it. And just being in that community, even at such a young age, I was in awe of the talent and the professionalism. It's hard to say because I was so young, but I think what drew me to it was just the storytelling aspect of everything and being able to kind of morph myself into someone I'm not.
Rian Michelsen: My first Gilbert & Sullivan role was my only other one. I played Oliver, I think it was 2008 or ‘09. It was a while ago but I remember seeing the flyer for it and just really wanting to give it a go. I think I have always been a performer from a really young age. I used to put on Elvis shows for anyone who would watch.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda is to stage The Addams Family next month.
Philip Barnett will play Gomez Addams while Jennifer Campbell takes on the role of his wife, Morticia. Megan Zimmerman stars as their daughter Wednesday and Rian Michelson as her boyfriend Lucas Beinke.
“Wednesday Addams is the ultimate princess of darkness, who is now all grown up. However, she has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows - she has fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family that her parents have never met,” reads the synopsis.
It puts Gomez in the unusual situation of having to keep a secret from “his beloved” wife.
At a dinner party with “the outsiders”, the family is “put to the test”.
According to Gilbert & Sullivan, the show offers something for all ages.
“[It is] a story of love and friendship through adversity with a comical and macabre spin. With a talented production team featuring both overseas and local professionals, G & S Bermuda is confident that The Addams Family will deliver a spectacular theatre experience as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and their return to the stage after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.”
Q: Is this your first time on stage since Covid? How much did you miss it?
PB: Yes, the last show I did was in 2018 where I was Daddy Warbucks in Annie for the G & S Society. I missed all aspects of theatre and dining out and generally being able to look at someone without a mask on. It's fantastic for us to be getting back to a sense of careful normalcy.
JC: The last time, I'm pretty sure, was Annie in 2018. I missed it a lot and The Addams Family was perfect because if you've ever seen my wardrobe, you know that I've been auditioning for Morticia for 30 years. So yes, I missed it horribly and then when The Addams Family was announced I thought, Oh great, I absolutely want to go for that.
MZ: Yes. I've definitely missed it. I didn't do any performing whilst at university either so it's been about a five-year hiatus for me. I honestly wasn't expecting to get the part coming into this. So I'm just super excited to get back on stage and to be reintegrated into the community, it’s just been great.
RM: I haven't been on stage since I was in high school in Canada and so yeah, I missed it. As far as this show is concerned, what drew me to it was I think the same thing that drew me to Oliver all those years ago: I saw the flyer and thought, Oh my God, I think I miss it a lot. I don't even know if I can do it any more but I'd love to give it a try.
Q: What drew you to The Addams Family?
PB: Quite frankly, I hadn't heard of it previously. It actually was on Broadway about ten years ago starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. It toured quite extensively through the US and went through extensive workshopping and became the show it is today which I think is just … I'm shocked how great it is.
JC: Her music is in my range, so that was a good thing, and I just love the character. I've always been an Addams Family fan and I usually dress up as something sort of dark and creepy at Halloween; I wore black at my wedding! So it all works.
MZ: I had actually seen it. When I was around 10 or 11 I did a Camp Broadway in New York and we actually got to meet the cast, which was really cool. So I knew the musical and I was very familiar with the show and the movies. I quite like Wednesday’s stoicism and that she doesn't take any crap from anyone. I think it's quite comical in itself, because she is socially awkward and in this production specifically, she's discovering herself and I think that's a really fun avenue to explore from her cynicism.
RM: I think seeing the list of characters it seemed as though it would be a small cast and that was really exciting to me because I thought it would be a good chance to have a really genuine performance and build some really great relationships. Also just the comedic aspect. I’ve done a few shows but I've never done a comedic show on stage. So yeah, that was really exciting to me.
The Addams Family runs from October 6 to October 15 at the Earl Cameron Theatre with matinees at 2pm and evening shows at 7pm. Visitbit.ly/3DhoHlT for tickets