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Joint high musical production of "The Addams Family"

Choreographer Cory Johnson, director Juliann Kjenaas, musical director Brian Hobson and co-technical assistant Victoria Harju have teamed up to produce "The Adamms Family" musical at Park Rapids Area High School. Not pictured is Jamie Jokela, co-technical assistant.

A decrepit mansion in Central Park.

A zombie butler.

Dead ancestors emerging from their graves.

Park Rapids and Menahga High School drama students are joining forces to perform the new musical comedy "The Addams Family"—just in time for Halloween.

"It's just a very funny take on the TV series," explained director Juliann Kjenaas. "Wednesday's grown up and has a boyfriend."

The kooky family comes to life in this magnificently macabre Broadway musical.

Brian Hobson, a Menahga teacher, serves as musical director.

For the first time in both schools' history, the theater co-op has become a Hennepin Center Trust Spotlight School. Kjenaas submitted "The Addams Family" musical for this program.

The Hennepin Center Trust supports participating schools and artists by providing constructive feedback and offering recognition based on the school productions own merit.

Throughout the year, Spotlight schools have the opportunity to gain insight from theatre professionals through free, interactive workshops. Spotlight students are also invited to register for master classes taught by touring artists and technical crew.

Also for the first time, the Park Rapids High School drama department officially hired a choreographer. Cory Johnson is originally from Henning, but trained and performed in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Diego. He most recently performed at Long Lake Theater.

"The Addams Family" is a full-scale musical production. Audiences can expect to see tango, salsa, soft shoe and "there's a little bit of hip hop moves," Johnson said.

"This one is a full two hours and has a lot of great dance numbers," Kjenaas said.

"It's a triple threat," agreed Johnson.

"And quirky," added Hobson.

"The Addams Family" began as a single-panel cartoon, first appearing in "The New Yorker" magazine in 1938. In 1963, creator Charles Addams was asked to name the members of his ghoulish family for a new television series being developed by ABC. It premiered in 1964 and ran for 64 regular season episodes.

In 1991, Paramount Pictures released the film, "The Addams Family," starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Raul Julia as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester and Christina Ricci as Wednesday. The sequel, "Addams Family Values" was released in 1993.

"The Addams Family: A New Musical" was written by "Jersey Boys" authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The show opened on Broadway in 2010.

"It's, I think, a perfect theme for Halloween weekend," Kjenaas said.

The musical has an original storyline. Wednesday Addams, princess of malice and gloom, is now 18. She's fallen in love with Lucas Beineke from Ohio. He's a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family.

Everything changes for the Addams family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's "normal" boyfriend and his parents.

Performances are 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27 through Saturday, Oct. 29 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 29. Admission is free for current students with IDs and seniors (65 or older).

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