by Jill Duff-Hoppes
Spring musicals at both Lake Mary High School and Seminole High give theater lovers a chance to share some laughs with their favorite characters in April
If you’re a fan of musical theater, expect to be very busy from April 10 to 12. That’s when both Seminole High School and Lake Mary High will put on their annual spring musicals, and this year’s shows promise to be as charming as they are nostalgic. Lake Mary High will present The Addams Family while Seminole High will showcase You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Before rehearsals wrap and the curtain goes up, we sat down with cast members from each show to find out just what audiences can expect during the busiest weekend in local show business.
Lake Mary High School
They’re Creepy and They’re Kooky
photo: Junior Michael Cerasoli and senior Alexa Lively will play Gomez and Morticia in Lake Mary High School’s spring production of The Addams Family.
For Alexa Lively, wiping the smile off her face is one of the biggest challenges of playing Morticia, the atypical mom in The Addams Family. The Lake Mary High School Players of the Arts will present the musical comedy, based on the macabre characters created by Charles Addams, as its spring show.
“I’ve never played anyone like her,” says Alexa, a bubbly, outgoing senior. “I usually play very upbeat, happy, energetic characters. Morticia is very stone-faced and kind of cold. I’m working on not smiling.”
Alexa is a fan of the show’s strange collection of characters and is even more enthusiastic about the music.
“Every single song is so good,” she says. “It’s very contemporary. It’s not old, classical songs. It’s all music that gets you pumped up and excited.”
That kind of student reaction is one reason why LMHS chose The Addams Family, says teacher Becca Southworth, the show’s director. Susan Eissele is the musical director.
“We always want to pick a show that’s going to get the kids excited and showcase their talent at the same time,” Becca says.
Audience appeal is another big factor. In recent years, LMHS has enjoyed both creative and box office success with the contemporary musicals Legally Blonde and Seussical. So, the drama department is sticking with what’s working, for students and audiences.
“We’ve set a bar, and I think that we just want to keep raising it every year,” Becca says.
One thing she likes about The Addams Family is that it spans generations. The clan has been around for decades, on TV in the 1960s and in the movies in the 1990s. The musical version debuted on Broadway in the spring of 2010.
The oddball family includes Morticia and her husband, Gomez; their children, Wednesday and Pugsley; Uncle Fester; Grandma; and Lurch. The catchy TV theme song, with its accompanying finger snaps, best describes them all: “They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky.”
Morticia is all of those things, but she is also rather traditional in one important way.
“She comes off as very hard, but her main thing is that she really cares about the family,” says Alexa. “She’s kind of like an overprotective mom.”
The Addams Family, with a 28-member cast, will be presented at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10; at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 11; and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12.
Performances will be at the LMHS auditorium at 655 Longwood Lake Mary Road. Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets will be available at the door, which opens 30 minutes before the shows begin.
Seminole High School
Everyone’s Favorite Yellow-Shirted Friend
photo: Sarah Franklin and Zachary Racine, already in character as Lucy and Charlie Brown.
Zachary Racine is happy to be playing the title role in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Seminole High School this spring – for the most part. He just isn’t thrilled with his character’s fashion sense, particularly that trademark yellow shirt with the black zigzag stripe.
“The problem with being Charlie Brown is that yellow is just not my color,” the junior says with a laugh.
At least Zachary doesn’t have to go bald for the show, like the character in the iconic comic strip and TV specials. Instead, he plans to dye his red hair brown.
“His name is Charlie Brown, not Charlie Redhead, so I guess it fits,” Zachary quips.
The musical comedy is based on the classic Peanuts kids created by Charles M. Schulz. Seminole High teachers Tiffany Ortiz and Lesa Boettcher are the show’s director and musical director, respectively.
Last year, the Seminole High School Theatre Company staged The Wizard of Oz as its spring musical. This year, the directors opted for something smaller in scale but still well-known to audiences.
“We always like to pick musicals that are family-friendly and shows that are going to resonate,” Tiffany says. “People are going to hear the name and go, ‘I know that.’ Even if they don’t know the show, they know Charlie Brown.”
The Peanuts comic strip has been around for decades. It made its newspaper debut in 1950, and A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired on TV in 1965. The musical is sweetly nostalgic, with vignettes about book reports, baseball, and kiteflying.
“The show is great for kids because it has bright colors,” says Tiffany, “and the songs are light and fun.”
The musical features all the familiar characters, including the bossy Lucy, her brother Linus and his ever-present blanket, the piano-playing Schroeder, and Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally.
And let’s not forget the lovable Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s canine companion. In this production, the head beagle is being portrayed by Lauryn Reid, a sophomore.
“I think the dog thing is really fun. There are lots of woofs and howls,” says Lauryn, noting that one of her numbers is an ode to the joys of suppertime.
The 14-member cast will perform You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10; at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 11; and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 12. Performances will be in the SHS auditorium, 2701 Ridgewood Avenue in Sanford.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For advance tickets, email the director at Tiffany_Ortiz@scps.k12.fl.us.