When you’re a member of the Addams Family, “you need to feel a little chill … you have to put some poison in your day … you need to have a taste for death,” at least, so goes the first song in the musical “The Addams Family,” which Grand County High School is producing on Nov. 17-19. 

A few years ago, Maralee Francis, head of the drama department at GCHS, saw “The Addams Family” performed live at the Hale Centre Theater in Sandy, where she was first introduced to the show. 

“We really liked it,” she said. “The show is crazy. And people may or may not pick up on the theme, but the overall theme is family—it’s just delightful. Everybody has their own unique family situation, so we like that this year’s show has to do with family, and tolerance: the show represents a lot of different families and different groups.”

The musical follows members of The Addams Family, a macabre family with a closeness to death, monsters, and ghosts. The family consists of Morticia, the mother; Gomez, the father and extremely-doting husband; Wednesday, the daughter and lover of darkness; Pugsley, the son; Uncle Fester; Grandmama; and a rotating cast of characters connected to the family like Cousin Itt. The musical begins one fateful night when Wednesday confides in her father and tells him she’s fallen in love with someone sweet, smart, and—causing mayhem among the Addams—from a somewhat normal family. 

Casting for the musical started at the beginning of the school year, in August, and students have been rehearsing nearly nonstop since then: they meet every day at lunch and rehearse after school from 3 to 5 p.m. Francis said there’s always a core group of students who participate in the musical, as well as the other productions the drama department puts on throughout the year, but this year, “we just had this influx of kids who we’d never really seen before,” she said. 

“There’s a pretty good group of seniors this year, and I think they just said to their friends, ‘hey, before we get out of here, let’s all do this musical together,’” Francis said. “We’re so glad to have this great group of kids.” 

Francis is extremely excited about this year’s cast, she said—the actors, costumers, and backstage cast alike. 

“This cast is so good to work with,” she said. “They’re invested, they show up, they work on their own, and they have a camaraderie that is just a joy.” 

This year marks Francis’s 25th year of producing musicals on the GCHS stage. She’s seen every type of cast dynamic, from the small casts in the beginning when the drama department was still getting established, to a cast of 70 when the high school produced “Footloose.” She’s worked through COVID protocols—in 2020, the high school wasn’t able to put on a full musical, and instead did a shorter “musical review” in the winter—and the musical’s post-COVID resurrection last year, when the high school put on the “Freaky Friday” musical. 

“You never know who’s going to show up to audition,” Francis said. “But the community always shows great support to our musicals.” 

Francis is also particularly excited about this year’s set, which depicts a mansion set in Central Park. It was constructed by two adult volunteers, and students helped paint and bring the set to life on stage. The set was designed to be flexible, Francis said: many of the pieces move around to depict different scenes. 

“This play is such fun, and it’s just going to be a beautiful experience to be there—we’re so excited we can hardly stand it,” she said. 

The show will run from Thursday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 19 at Grand County High School (608 Fourth E. St.). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door: $10 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens.