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NKEC students bring The Addams Family to life

Breagha Hawley shows off a copy of the poster for The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy. Hawley will play Wednesday Addams in the show, which will be put on by Northeast Kings students.
Breagha Hawley shows off a copy of the poster for The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy. Hawley will play Wednesday Addams in the show, which will be put on by Northeast Kings students. - John DeCoste

Breagha Hawley can’t remember a time when she wasn’t performing.

Hawley, a 17-year-old Kentville resident and Grade 11 student at Northeast Kings Education Centre, will take to the stage as one of the leads as Kentville-based Phantom Effects and Northeast Kings team up to present The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy June 14-16 in Wolfville.

For Hawley – who is passionate about both singing and acting, and has been on stage since she was in Primary – the play represents the chance to combine both her loves.

The Addams Family, she says, “is similar to the TV show, except it’s sped up.” Wednesday, Hawley’s character, is now 18, “and the theme of the show is that she’s grown up and getting married.”

The twist? That news “is a secret for most of the show, known only by Wednesday, her father Gomez and her fiancé Lucas. They’re all hiding it from her mother, Morticia.”

NKEC musicals

Hawley is no stranger to the NKEC musicals. Two years ago, she took the lead part of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, also held in collaboration with Phantom Effects.

“It was my first high school production. It was a lot of fun, and there were a lot of the same cast members as in this year’s show,” she says.

Casting for The Addams Family “went really well,” Hawley says, adding that there were “some unexpected twists” along the way, but in the end, “everybody fits their part really well, both on and off-stage.”

The Addams Family is a lot more ambitious than Beauty and the Beast, she says.

“In this show, the main actors have a lot more responsibilities. There’s more one-to-one singing, and more solos,” Hawley said.

“The sets are more complicated, and so are the costumes, which are fantastic. Phantom Effects have a real knack of making young people up to look old.”

Everyone, she says, “has the classic ‘Addams Family look’, the same as the original.”

The biggest departure from the TV show and movies is that this show introduces Wednesday’s fiancé, Lucas, and his parents, Mal and Alice.

The rest of the cast - including Wednesday, her kid brother Pugsley, parents Gomez and Morticia, Uncle Fester (who narrates the show), Grandma and the ‘zombie butler’ Lurch - will be familiar.

The Addams Family was chosen as this year’s production almost a year ago, and the cast has been becoming familiar with the music ever since.

“It was a shock when they picked it, particularly to me, because our music teacher (Katrina Salmon, who is also directing) has always nicknamed me ‘Wednesday’,” Hawley said.

“Lucas Saklofske (Gomez), Kaitlyn Thompkins (Morticia), David Graveline (Pugsley) and I were all in elementary school together at KCA. We’ve known each other a long time, and it’s really helped with the cast dynamic where we’re so close.”

Like mother, like daughter

Helping Hawley personally, every step of the way, has been her mother, Rachel MacLean.

“She’s a stage veteran, too, from when she was in school. She’s been such a great help, and so willing to help,” she said.

“(MacLean) has always been there to guide me in the right direction. I love to sing, it’s one of my favourite things, and I’ve been part of her Christmas shows for several years now.”

She and her mother have also written a song together, which appears on MacLean’s latest Christmas CD, Falling Snow.

Now that she is virtually done Grade 11, Hawley’s thoughts have increasingly focused on her future. She’s considering an undergraduate degree in classical studies, and her dad, Len Hawley, is hoping she’ll stick close to home and attend Acadia. Her ultimate goal is to become a lawyer, but says she’s also interested in politics.

“Politics and anything political are a big interest for me. I can’t wait to get involved in Canadian politics. One day, I might even get to be Prime Minister,” she says.

But, she adds, she’ll always sing and be part of community theatre.

“It’s such an amazing experience,” she says.

For now, though, her focus is fully on The Addams Family.

“We believe the show is a really good fit for our group. It’s been well-cast, but for a lot of us, it was really type-casting as well. It was a bit scary at first,” she says, given that the original Broadway show tended to be a bit rough in places, “but we’ve rewritten it to be more family-friendly.”

If you go: A co-presentation of Phantom Effects and Northeast Kings Education Centre, The Addams Family will run for three days – June 14-16 – at the Festival Theatre in Wolfville, with a 7 p.m. show on Friday, shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and a final matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students and children and are available at the Real Scoop Ice Cream and Espresso Shop in Wolfville, at the NKEC administration office, and at the door.

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