What’s creepy, kooky and all things entertainingly spooky wooky? That would be the talented cast of The Ritz Theatre Company’s The Addams Family, and starting tomorrow night with previews leading into a full launch this weekend that will creek through August 7th, Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma and Fester Addams are about to own your soul in the most delightful way possible.
Lucky for us, Philly’s very own talented fast rising actress/singer Brittany Marie has landed the role of Addams angst ridden daughter, Wednesday, so we get to take a peak at what her stage life, err, death is like with the rest of her deadly dazzling cast.
Although she’s still in her early twenties, Ms. Brittany has already been making quite a name for herself on the local entertainment scene. First in 2014 by kicking off a successful run as part of the acting troupe at The Candlelight Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, which was followed by a run as a top contestant in the fourth cycle of the Gayborhood’s long-lasting singing competition, Songbird Philly, in which she’s now a reigning judge in its current sixth cycle.
Indeed it’s her part in The Addams Family that’s proving to be her biggest accomplishment to date and only further proves that this hot young talent is just getting started when it comes to her array of talents. But before she takes over the dark stage tomorrow night, Brittany spilled some fresh-from-the-cauldron Wednesday Addams tea, where she shattered mugs about how she prepared for the role, the audition process and what she’ll personally do to get ready for that very first spooky curtain call.
But since this is Wednesday Addams we’re talking about here, we know she’s certainly not scared of anything, so you can bet that Brittany Marie’s going to do her gothic justice when the show kicks up its graveyard heels tomorrow night. But until then, show your love to this exceptional local talent and read on to find out just how she’s going to, um, kill it as Wednesday Addams over the next few weeks for your summer entertainment at The Ritz pleasure.
To get your tickets to see The Addams Family, waltz it on over right here…but you better hurry before they go back into their coffins….forever.
First up, there’s no denying that we’re in some crazy times right now, so how does it feel for you as an actor dealing with the tragic events that seem to unravel pretty much every day now? It definitely feels kind of weird sometimes to be like, ‘alright, let me go do this really goofy musical while all of these tragic things are happening.’ From my perspective, I know for me as well as everybody in the cast that [the show] has given us a little bit of distraction while all of this craziness is going on. Hopefully when we open, that will be the case for the audience.
Okay, so I’ve met you a few times and I will say that you are certainly not Wednesday Addams in the least bit, so how do you mentally prepare yourself for such a dark role? I may be more Wednesday Addams than of acquaintance of mine will realize! Between the ages of maybe twelve and sixteen or so, I was a total EMO kid! I shopped at Hot Topic, I liked Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance and all of these goth-rock bands, so I think for me it was just channeling that angst-y miserable, sad, pretty much part of my soul from when I was younger that [probably never] goes away. I still listen to all that music, Im not gonna lie! Plus, half of my wardrobe is black, so that helps! Also, one of my favorite things to do when I play a character is to make a playlist of a bunch of music that I think they would listen to. I did that for Wednesday last week.
What kinds of research did you do? I was able to find a recording of both the original Broadway cast as well as the touring cast on YouTube, so I watched those and I watched the old movies, a couple of episodes of the old T.V. show. Took a look at some of the comics, just to kind of pull from each source what I wanted.
What makes the tour version of this show different from the critically lauded Broadway run? The original version didn’t have a lot of context to it, it was kind of flat. It was basically a starring vehicle for Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, so the script didn’t have a lot of meat to it. When they rewrote for the tour version, they added several things to the plot, added a couple different new songs, just to make it more full and less of “look at these celebrities we have playing Morticia and Gomez!’
What’s the audition process like to get in a “family” role? What happens with the Ritz is that they do one round of general auditions where basically you come in, you sing sixteen bars of a song, you do a dance combination and then you specify if you’re auditioning for a specific role. Then if they want to see you for a role then two days later they do callbacks where you’ll sing pieces of music for whatever character you’re getting called back for. You also do cold reads of scenes from the show with other people who are being considered for other roles. We also had to line up and see what we all looked like standing next to each other on stage. I had previously worked with three members of the family–Gomez, Morticia and Uncle Fester–before. It’s definitely not the most calming process but from an actor perspective, that’s pretty stands procedure! We’re all pretty used to it by now.
Earlier this week, I read an article about the show where it also features you and the rest of your family enjoying a little quality time at a New Jersey diner all dressed up in your goth garb. I just have to know, whose idea was that? It’s sort of brilliant. We did it with a local Jersey paper called the Courier-Post. Now, I’m not sure if it was the director’s idea or [the paper’s] idea, but they had previously done that two years ago with Young Frankenstein, so I think they were using that same model and wanted to have us out in the wild in a very suburban [part of] New Jersey! (you can sit down at the Addams family dinner table right here) .
What is your personal routine to get ready for a show to be like…okay, bitch, I got this. Oh, you mean like what do I get into bad bitch mode? Well, the whole day leading up to the show depending on whether it’s a matinée or evening, it may a longer process or shorter, I drink tons of water pretty much right when I wake up. Try to have a smoothie, maybe a little iced coffee, steamy shower, listen to my playlist that I’ve made while I’m doing all of this and just try to do my best zen out and get excited at the same time. Water and focus, listening to music, of course, my go to for everything.
Now, imagine all of you all dressed up and walking around, like, Rittenhouse Park while searching for Pokemon…now, that would be something. Oh my God! Yes. Actually, the kid who plays Pugsley (John Sayles) mentioned something like that in the article, but that part was cut out. But it is something that has been discussed! That would be insane.
Is there anything you can spill about the plot of the show? What kinds of themes are running throughout? The show is basically about how Wednesday falls for a “normal” boy and they want to get married, but they’re both terrified because they don’t think both families are going to get along. His parents are stuck up conservative Republicans from Ohio, and [Wednesday’s] family is a bunch of Spanish, morbid, gothic, half-alive, half-dead people. Basically, in the second act, what makes the whole show make sense for me is I sing a duet with [Wednesday’s opposite] Lucas called “Crazier Than You,” and I sing the song to him first and I’m like this is why this isn’t going to work because we’re too different. Then the whole rest of the song is him proving to me that he is. It’s all about different perceptions of normal, if that really matters..different perceptions of crazy and if that really matters and basically smiling through hardships and focusing on love to get through all of it. It’s all wrapped up in a very nice little bow.
It also seems to be extremely relevant to what we’re all dealing with right now. It’s very relevant because it’s all about love and acceptance of what’s not like you. I’m sure most of the audience will ingest as a really funny, goofy little show and maybe others will walk away going, yeah, you shouldn’t push people away from you because they’re different So, if I can inspire one person from every show with that thought, then I have done my job!