Ram’s Head brings The Addams Family, living, dead and undecided, to Stanford

The Addams Family sings "When You’re an Addams," where it’s "family first and family last and family by and by." (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

From casting to set design, Stanford’s Ram’s Head Theatrical Society takes advantage of the diverse talent on campus to present their perennial spring musical. This year’s production is The Addams Family .

The Addams Family musical takes the humorously macabre characters drawn by cartoonist Charles Addams and places them in an original story on stage. Wednesday Addams, a woeful child in an extraordinary family, is all grown up and in love with a regular guy from an ordinary family. In an attempt to announce their engagement and unite the families over their shared love, Wednesday and her fiancÚ Lucas bring them together for a dinner where they discover their differences and what they have in common.

Performances are April 12, 13 at 8 p.m., April 14 at 2 p.m. and April 18, 19, 20 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased for this family friendly production here. This year, the Senior Gift Committee has reserved 200 tickets to the April 18 performance that are available for free to graduating Stanford seniors. Click here to reserve complimentary senior tickets; Stanford University ID required.

Over 80 cast and crew members have been working on the two-act production accompanied by a 15-member orchestra. Ram’s Head members made a concerted effort to assemble a diverse cast: Over 50% of the named leads and the ancestor ensemble went to people of color, and the orchestra, staff and crew averaged about the same percentage. The show’s producer, CJ Paige, ’19, said: "We wanted students coming to see the show from all backgrounds to be able to see themselves in the show. It was really important that we had a production that reflected the community at Stanford, especially when the story being told has been traditionally been told and cast as white."

Several of the multitalented cast and crew have been involved in campus theater productions in various roles, including this year’s set designer and scenic artist Nora Kelly, ’19, who has been at different times an associate producer, a costume designer and master carpenter. For The Addams Family , Kelly created a life-sized toy paper theater with beautifully painted backdrops. She and director J.B. Horsley, ’19, chose a colorful set design because, Kelly said, "often designers are drawn to a completely desaturated look for The Addams Family. After all, the lyrics say, ’You have to see the world in shades of gray.’ However, because of the passion and energy this musical effuses, even in embracing mortality, we wanted to explore an Addams Family world that could be more colorful. Not bright, but beautiful in variation. I knew that this was something we could do well with the people we had." Kelly and fellow senior Polly Capps tag-teamed to lead the company in the scenic painting of over 1,800 square feet of flats in nine days.

For Horsley, the musical is about connecting with characters, even in a made-up world: "In a show that is such a large production told about a family known to be larger than life, there are moments where we really can dive into the humanity of these characters and discover just how similar we are to them: We all love, hurt and laugh. We’re all human."