Alivia Giles and Madeleine Kim
Sept. 22, 2021
With the Fall 2021 semester in full swing, the Alma College Theatre and Dance department is hard at work preparing for their October production of the musical, The Addams Family.
Scott Mackenzie, Professor of Theatre and Dance is the show’s director. Mackenzie held auditions for the musical in early September before quickly beginning the rehearsal process.
“We did three nights of auditions, [starting with] singing. The next night Professor Ben Munisteri taught a dance combination [and] I held acting auditions. The third night was call backs and catching up for students who could not attend earlier audition nights.”
“We had around 28 audition and we wound up with a company of 23. There are about another 21 kids who will be working behind the scenes from scene building to stage managing. Some of the students in the cast are also working on tech crews.”
Even with Covid-19 precautions in place last year, Alma was able to put on multiple theatre productions. With some of these precautions still in place, the students and faculty involved are looking forward to the large-scale production.
“We will still work to keep distance, but this script calls for 20 performers on stage at times.” Mackenzie said. “Fortunately, we are almost all vaccinated, so we will have a bit more freedom than last year, but not as much as we did before Covid.”
First-year student, Abigail Whitford (’25), is thrilled to make her Alma College theatre debut as a “saloon girl ancestor”. Whitford has enjoyed the intense rehearsal process and learning from fellow cast members.
“I am not used to working so hard on my vocals and choreography because high school is just not the same. I love it though!” Whitford said. “I am learning so much and everyone around me has a lot of talent!”
Despite her previous experience as a performer, coming into her first college theatre audition was a little nerve-wracking.
“I was so nervous especially since I came from a small school where our theatre program was lacking a lot of important parts to keep it running. The whole audition process was something that I was not used to, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was exciting and scary.”
David Troyer (’24) plays Gomez Addams, a character he describes as “a man with sharp wit and a ‘larger-than-life’ personality”.
As a freshman, Troyer performed in three plays at the college. While he was used to auditioning at Alma, with the addition of singing and dancing along with acting, the process looked a little different for this show.
“The audition process lasted three days in comparison to the usual 1 or 2. It was a bit more rigorous in the sense that there was more you had to prepare prior to,” Troyer said. “There were also a lot more people auditioning, people I’d never worked with.”
Troyer enjoys spending time with his friends at rehearsals and the satisfaction of putting in hard work and watching a show come together.
“Rehearsals have been extremely fun and uplifting at this point. It’s been amazing to get back into making art with my friends from last year and making new friends as well. Plus, this cast is extraordinarily talented, so you leave rehearsal confident with how it’ll all turn out.”
Annabelle Avolio (’23) is looking forward to taking the stage as an “ancestor”. She is also the show’s dance captain, so along with rehearsing with the other performers, she has worked with Ben Munisteri to choreograph dances for the show.
As a third-year student majoring in theatre, Avolio has plenty of experience performing on stage at Alma College but scoring her role in this production did not come without challenges.
“For this show we had to prepare a 16-bar cut from a song that would show off our acting and vocal ability. Picking the right song that shows off your vocal range, acting ability . . . is a lot of pressure. This is the most stressful part for me for every musical I audition for.”
With fewer Covid-19 restrictions this year, Avolio is looking forward to performing for larger in-person audiences, “We should be able to have more people in the theatre – which is great!”
Intern BreAnne Servoss works as the Costume Shop Manager. Creating the perfect costumes for each character is a lot of work and Servoss feels that sometimes this effort is overlooked.
“To create a costume takes a lot of steps that most people don’t think about. You have to draft the pattern, create a mockup, fit the mockup, alter the patten and then you can finally cut it out from the final fabric and then after you stitch that together you have your costume.”
Servoss is excited to help bring the iconic characters to life, “I definitely have to say [the costume I am most looking forward to making is] Morticia’s look because it’s a classic look that everyone knows and I’m really excited to bring it to the stage.”
Performances of The Addams Family are set for October 28-31. (The cast and crew encourage the audience to dress in costume – especially on Halloween!) Due to copyright laws, performances of the show will not be recorded.
For more information on The Addams Family as well as future shows, visit the Alma College Theatre and Dance Department Facebook page, inside.alma.edu or contact Scott Mackenzie.