“It was so great to be with people making theater and have people be receptive to it,” remarked senior Nate Welsh, who performed in the musical “The Addams Family” this summer. Since last March, dozens of industries were affected by COVID-19: small businesses, restaurants, and, to the chagrin of many theater kids, Broadway and most musical theater productions.
Finally, after a long year and a half of having to uphold strict health and safety protocols, theater makes its triumphant return through shows like “The Addams Family,” which Nate performed with the Farmington Valley Theater company in Farmington. “The Addams Family,” a musical based on the television series sharing the same name, follows the antics that ensue after the teenage daughter, Wednesday, falls in love with Lucas, a boy from a “normal” family. She shares this secret crush with Gomez, the patriarch of the family and the character that Nate played. However, Gomez is caught in the middle when he is not supposed to tell Morticia, his wife and Wednesday’s mother. Everything leads up to a dinner party hosted by the Addams for Lucas and his family, which ends up being hilarious and chaotic in lots of unexpected ways.
The audition process for “The Addams Family” at the Farmington Valley Theater Company was slightly different from the company’s process in past years due to COVID-19 protocols, but they were able to make it work. “The way that it was done is there were in-person vocal auditions,” Nate said. “We came in, sang 30 seconds a cappella – we were unmasked and they were masked – then depending on how well you sang, they had us read a couple of lines.”
Nate also mentioned that all those auditioning needed to submit a short video of themselves performing choreography from the show, instead of having an in-person dance audition. Nate said that he preferred having a remote dance audition because he felt less pressure and it was, for the most part, lower stakes.
Unfortunately after opening night, a cast member and a crew member tested positive for COVID-19, halting the production for the next two weeks. “When we came back, the rules were even stricter,” Nate explained. “You had to have a mask on unless you were about to go on stage, and it couldn’t be a clear mask, it had to be a full face covering.”
Junior Faith Potter, a fellow member of the KO musical theater department and a good friend of Nate’s, decided to go see the show when it opened last July. “I think it’s really important to support community theater and local theater productions,” she said, “especially after COVID-19 because they were hit so hard by the pandemic.”
Faith thoroughly enjoyed the show, and she loved being able to get to see her friend do something he is passionate about. “This was my first time seeing him singing, acting, and dancing, as opposed to just singing a song,” she said.
Despite the many challenges that the Farmington Valley Theater Company and its cast and crew faced, their thoughtful planning and hard work paid off. “The feeling of being able to sit in a theater and watch this amazing group of kids that were my age or even younger, and seeing them perform so well, so comfortably, and so normally, was honestly amazing,” Faith said.
Being in this show was a special experience for Nate, since he’s a senior and it may be one of his last shows. “The person who played Morticia and the person who played Wednesday are both seniors,” he said, “and I’ve known them since I started doing the program. They were friends of mine in town. It was really great to be with them for one last show.”
Nate also described how the fun times he had during rehearsals made for such a great experience as well. One of the best parts of the rehearsal process for Nate was learning a tango that his character performed with Morticia. “At first I was so nervous about doing it,” he confessed, “but by the end we were like: ‘We’re going to do this, and we’re going to make it happen.’ It was really fun.”
We are all so proud of Nate, and we cannot wait to see what he accomplishes in the musical this year and beyond!