A personal family favorite and a show for all ages, The Addams Family- The Musical, is sure to please both kids and adults alike. Performing at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA, ‘The Addams Family’ is performing on December 18th and 19th for ‘Kids’ Night on Broadway, which is an audience development initiative that introduces young people to the magic of live theatre by making Broadway accessible to all families.
The national tour of the new musical ‘The Addams Family’ is based on the bizarre family of characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams. The case includes: Douglas Sills, Sara Gettelfinger, Martin Vidnovic, Gaelen Gilliland, Blake Hammond, Pippa Pearthree, Tom Corbell, Patrick D. Kennedy, Curtis Holbrook, and Cortney Wolfson.
Splash Magazines got behind the scenes with Blake Hammond who plays Uncle Fester in this bizarre musical.
MS: How long have you been in theater and was this something you always knew you wanted to be involved in?
BH: I started doing theatre around age 12 or so. I grew up in Glen Rose, Texas - a small town of about 1800 - and they were producing a sort of "Waiting for Guffman" show about the town. That was my first onstage experience and I was hooked. I went on to study theatre at the University of Texas at Austin and have enjoyed a fun career ever since.
MS: What has been your primary motivation/inspiration throughout your career?
BH: Of course family and friends inspire you to keep trying and doing your best, but I really think the drive comes from within. When you're working on a show for years, and you are performing the same role 500, 600, 700 times, the motivation must come from inside. You have to love this business to keep showing up for 30 years. [laughs]
MS: Congrats on landing the role of Uncle Fester in The Addams Family. Can you talk about how you developed the vocal aspects of the character and how you really got into the role?
BH: I had grown up watching the TV series and had seen the movies of course but it had been many years ago. I really looked at the Charles Addams drawings of the family. The writers had said they were inspired by these, and after studying them, I understood why. So dark and yet so funny. Fester always has a grin in the drawings no matter what was happening. [laughs] I took a cue from that. As for the voice, well, I needed it to be real and yet somehow heightened. There is a line in the play were Fester calls himself "a person of no specific sexuality." I think that let me inform the voice. High but not too high!
MS: What was the biggest challenge with this role in comparison to others you have had?
BH: Fester serves as the narrator of the piece -- directly talking to the audience at time. But he is also in the scenes and part of the plot. It was challenging to find the balance of when the character knows what is going on and when he needs to be surprised with new information. Also, a lot of what Fester does is with the Ancestors and on his own. It's sometimes challenging not to have a scene partner to rely on. But also, refreshing to know that if my show doesn't work some nights, there is no one to blame but me.
MS: The Segerstrom Center is sponsoring 'KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY' before the December 18 and 19 performances of The Addams Family. What can kids and their families expect to enjoy in the production?
BH: First of all, it's REALLY funny. No matter what age you are as an audience member -- I dare you not to laugh. For the kids, I think it's great that we have our own 13 year old boy in the show. Kids can certainly relate to Pugsley. But Fester's also a kid at heart, so they usually like what he does too.
MS: Do you have any additional projects on the horizon?
BH: I've been meeting with lots of people in NY over our breaks and on some days off about more TV and film. I have been doing Broadway and tours for a long time. I love it - but I am ready to take a little time to work toward a television career. And I'm looking forward to spending some time in my own house. LOL
MS: Do you have any words of wisdom for younger generations that wants to pursue a career in theater?
BH: I say if you really love it and you aren't going to be satisfied without giving it a try -- then GO FOR IT! A few tips though, do get an education. Take acting classes and voice classes and learn about yourself before you try and put yourself in the professional arena. Also, if you can get out of college without have a lot of debt, it would be very helpful. A lot of first jobs pay very little but the people you meet while working in Summer Stock or doing non-union theatre will prove invaluable. These same people will be across the table in auditions 20 years later and it sure feels good to already have someone on your side. :)
The Addams Family will run December 18th-30th.
For additional information on The Addams Family or the Segerstrom Center for the Arts please visit: www.scfta.org.