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NFMAA ends arts camp with ‘The Addams Family’

By Staff | Jun 26, 2019

The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts put an exclamation point on its annual Arts Camp Friday with its annual musical, produced 17 days from start to finish.

This year, it was the creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and all together ooky musical – “The Addams Family” with a NFMAA touch added to it.

Family and friends got to see the zany antics of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Lurch and Uncle Fester in two performances that saw the Addams clan meeting the family of the man Wednesday plans to marry. Much hilarity ensues.

Amy Massari, who directed the production along with her daughter, Jesse, said the first show was fantastic, and that such a production would not have been possible if not for the great people working with her.

“I’m only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a fantastic team that works with me. We thought this would be fun for the kids to do, it’s very popular and at the end of last year, we did a poll with the kids and this was high on the list,” Massari said.

Massari added her own little twist by making the ghostly ancestors represent two dozen productions the school had done in the past, including “The Nutcracker,” “Newsies” and many more.

Of course, everything goes in a blink for these campers. It’s only 17 days from auditions to the first performance. Those at the top of the credits spend those days totally immersed in their work, spending all day in camp rehearsing, then going home to rehearse some more.

Everyone said it was very hectic, and it takes a lot of focus to make it work. But once it all happened in front of an audience, it was all worth it.

“I didn’t get any free time at home, so I would come in, and after auditions we came in and got the first dance number down,” said Cooper Stone, who played Gomez. “We would go home and practice our lines. It was crazy and challenging playing Gomez. He’s such a different person from anyone else.”

“It’s been a process and it’s been so worth it. I became consumed with the character,” said Claire Fischinger, who played Morticia (perhaps for the first time ever played wearing glasses). “I love the energy she has. She’s so powerful and dark and witty. It was such fun to play her. I related to her in a way.”

Ella Barber, who played Wednesday and was the focal point of the musical, said she watched the Addams Family in film and on TV and found it a challenge to play such a classic character, who was made into a young adult for this stage show.

“It was great to take this classic character of deadpan face and anger-absorbed energy and turn her into a lovestruck teenager,” Barber said. “It was my desire to play Wednesday from the very beginning.”

Barber said with all the work that had to be done, it was important to have the support of cast and crew to make everything a bit easier.

“You have this wonderful community of teachers, mentors, friends and you form an Addams Family to get the job done quickly,” Barber said. “It was so much fun and more than I could ever imagine.”

Kenan Allen played Uncle Fester, Veronica Durso was Grandmama, Mark Fischinger was Pugsley, Emmanual Tojanci was Lurch, and Canon Dobson played Lucas Beineke, Wednesday’s love interest.