Anyone who has even been around any aspect of community theatre knows the expression “many hands make light work.” While that may or may not be true, it certainly resonates with our season opening production of My Fair Lady. The show’s elaborate costumes are under the design of Janet Kile. Janet has worked with all the theaters in the Midlands and surrounding areas throughout the last two decades. She has worked both on and off stage. According to Janet, she has a preference for the off stage component which allows her to, “bring the show to life with color and texture.”
And that she does! One of the popular scenes of My Fair Lady involves the horse race at Ascot. Men don their white gloves and spats while the ladies of the era showcase elaborate hats. The lack of color — restricted to black and white — is also critical for the Ascot look. As such, Janet gathered a group of costuming crusaders with hopes of creating perfect Ascot hats for the production. Not only did she want the look to be just right — she wanted to have fun while doing it! On Labor Day, while many enjoyed the sun and surf, Janet and her team of wonders had a tea party in the lobby at 1012 Sumter Street and did their very best to exemplify how, when working together, the load becomes lighter.
Janet, alongside Nan Weaver, Jean Lomasto, Nancy Dunlap, Sandra Willis, Jillian Carey and Becky Patrick (who also doubles as a cast member), enjoyed high tea while crafting the afternoon away. Feathers, ribbons, gemstones, flowers, accoutrements galore — you name it. If it was black and/or white and could be affixed to a hat — indeed it was! With a primary purpose of working mightily on one the show’s iconic looks, Janet was sure to make sure that the bedazzling bonnet brigade enjoyed their afternoon — complete with cucumber sandwiches, deviled eggs, petit fours and, of course, tea! The luncheon was catered by Ripley Thames.
“Hats off” to all of our wonderful volunteers who made the afternoon so much fun. And, of course, we also “tip our hat” to costumer Janet Kile.
Someone should really speak to the Human Resources Department in this place! Have you seen the outfit that Morticia is wearing? I am sure it is not in line with our dress code policy. And while we are at it, I hope someone talks with Gomez about his choice of humor; he may need to attend sensitivity training. Both Pugsley and Wednesday need to be reminded of the workplace violence prevention policies and that they are not allowed to bring torture weapons or explosives to work. I am absolutely positive that Fester is having an inappropriate relationship with a co-worker, but he claims they’re not actually dating. In fact, every single person in this organization: living, dead (and undecided) is probably breaking some rule or regulation in one way or another!! But wait ~ HR actually approves of this?
Why, YES! Yes, it is true that with any company these types of problems would keep any HR Director busy all day and probably pulling their hair out. But when you are talking about the fantastic musical theater production, The Addams Family, these are just fun parts of the plot. What is even better is that each of these characters, and the rest of the ensemble, are wonderfully quirky and a delight to watch on stage. None of this happens by accident, it only happens when you have a remarkable team come together to deliver a quality performance.
I have spent most of my adult life working as an HR professional; first in the military, and now for a state agency. Human Resources is an important function for any organization because people are the most valuable treasure in that organization. I had a boss that said “Love Thy Treasure” and he meant take care of your people. But HR is challenging as I am sure you can imagine. People have lives. They have problems and concerns and it often falls to HR to help. So there is a great deal of responsibility to work here. Sometimes such responsibility wears even the most positive, cheery, optimistic person thin and they need a break or refuge. Theater is mine.
My first theatre role was as Michael in Peter Pan, complete with the footy pajamas, more than 30 years ago. I fell in love with being on stage and performing. For me, having the chance to entertain an audience and see immediate reaction just charges the batteries! As I traveled and moved in the military, small community theatre shows were my hobby and I enjoyed every opportunity to act, especially for my fellow Soldiers. When my family moved to Columbia and I was planning to retire from active duty, I was so excited to find such a vibrant theatre community in the area. The reputation for Town Theatre to produce quality family-oriented shows that celebrate both the familiar traditional shows and the new genre fresh from Broadway and the Touring companies was certainly a draw for me.
I have now had the privilege to be in three of Town’s shows: Disney’s Tarzan, Singin’ in The Rain, and now The Addams Family. Each one has been a fabulous experience. But The Addams Family has been truly special. For one, I joined the cast late as a replacement. From the very first rehearsal I was warmly received and it felt like I had been part of this group all along. When you spend hours each day over several weeks, you become a tight knit group. Each dance rehearsal we could see each musical number coming alive (or at least un-dead) and you can’t help but want to sing the songs. As this show came together you find yourself laughing at the laugh lines and jokes, as with any comedy show. However, what was different was you still have folks laughing days and weeks later even after hearing the same line numerous times. Not because the writing is so clever, but because the delivery and adaptation of the characters by these actors is so well done.
I guess this is the point from an HR professional’s perspective. It’s about the people. The cast and crew and leadership are what you want in your organization. They are caring, generous, capable, professional and serious about their craft. This group of volunteers give of themselves for others to have an enjoyable, memorable experience. I am proud and honored to be part of this team. So much so, that I have actively encouraged my day job office mates to come check out the show. It’s doubly satisfying to entertain one group of colleagues by singing and dancing on stage with another and give both groups some insight into this HR Director’s personality.
If your company was fortunate enough to have the kind of talent that is behind The Addams Family at Town Theatre, it would likely be one of the companies that are featured as “Best Place to Work.” It’s a great chance to have a night out with your co-workers. It makes for some fun conversations around the water cooler on Monday. So, consider it a team building exercise highly recommended by HR.
When I found out that Town Theatre was going to be doing The Addams Family, I knew I had to audition! Creepy and kooky were two things right up my alley. I actually walked in to audition for Pugsley Addams. Yep, I wanted to be the Addams’ son. (I didn’t think I would actually get it, but I needed to try for me.) So, on January 17, 2016, I drove to Town Theatre for auditions. I was extremely nervous. I had some friends with me — Tassie Collins and Danny Niati — they were my rocks for this audition. They kept me calm and even helped me with the dance routine. (And — it is so cool that they are sharing this show with me on stage!) Finding out I was cast was an even bigger moment for me. I was actually seeing a show when I felt my phone buzz. I was so excited that I wanted to tell everyone, but since the cast list wasn’t posted, I had to wait. It was an excruciating few days to say the least. When I could share the news, I shouted it from the mountain top. I had people telling me how excited they were and how they all wanted to come and support me. It was an amazing feeling. My journey had started.
I rehearsed more than I ever had ever rehearsed before. It made me smile every time I saw the people with whom I was going to share the stage get more into their own characters. With every line dance and bunny hop, we moved closer to an amazing show. Even with all of this practice, I was still terrified. I hadn’t been in a production since I was in high school. Would I mess up or fall on my face? Would I forget where to stand or how to move? Opening night was fast approaching.
My heart was pounding as I waited for the crypt doors to open and make my way onto the stage. As I walked out, the lights were so bright! In a flash, the opening number was done. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. Not being on stage — not the rush of performing. That feeling that was lifting me up was the support I had received from my cast mates — their pats on the back, their nods of encouragement. The cast of this show truly has become a second family to me. Every person started as an individual, but has come together to make this show something of which we are all very proud.
I am proud to say that I am a part of such an amazing cast and crew. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to perform and to be seen. I am proud that people have put their trust in me and support me. I’m also proud to say that you… yes you… you need to follow your dreams. You need to get out there and do what makes you happy. You need to try new things. If it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t give up. No one should ever have to ask, “what if?”
So as we launch into our third week of shows, I can only tell you how much I am enjoying being an Addams. And I know you will enjoy seeing us too! Snap snap!