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Chippewa Valley ready to host ‘The Addams Family’

By: Thomas Franz | C&G Newspapers | Published November 2, 2016

 Don Bishoff, the choreographer for “The Addams Family,” is pictured rehearsing.

Don Bishoff, the choreographer for “The Addams Family,” is pictured rehearsing.

Photo by Deb Jacques

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — While discussing the role for his final production at Chippewa Valley High School, senior Jay Callahan reflected on what has been a long journey through performances with the school.

Callahan began his career in high school productions as a fifth-grader by playing the role of a River City kid in “The Music Man.” He performed in two more shows in middle school, and will cap off his four-year high school performing career as Gomez Addams in the school’s production of “The Addams Family.”

“I’ve definitely warmed up more to performing,” Callahan said. “I was definitely terrified (at first).”

Choir Director James Pecar said Callahan has grown into lead roles, as evidenced by his role as Shrek last year.

“I’ve seen Jay go from a tiny baritone to rock star tenor and from timid and scared to be on the stage facing his fears and not being afraid to be on the stage,” Pecar said. “He should definitely be on the stage at all times. It’s been an honor and a great journey to watch him grow.”

One of Callahan’s co-stars, senior Alexandra Leone, is also no stranger to the bright lights. Leone will play the character of Wednesday Addams in her fourth and last show at Chippewa.

“This is a dream, it’s what you want,” Leone said. “It’s very rewarding because every year I’ve worked my way up and I’ve always wanted to try harder each year. I’m just trying to value every single moment, and being the lead, you’re always on the stage and that’s so much fun to have every moment of rehearsal on there.”

Leone said it took a bit of adjustment to her character, who she said has a much darker personality than her own.

“Wednesday Addams is literally the opposite person from me,” Leone said. “It’s been really fun to embrace that in a way because it’s not who I am. I just studied her to find what would she do at all times, because in the show she’s a little girl, and in the musical she’s older, so I looked at how she grew up. She can be dark and sassy, so it’s hard to find the balance if she’s dead inside or if she has a little life.”

Chippewa Valley will host a musical version of “The Addams Family” starting Nov. 11. 

While most remember the television version of “The Addams Family,” Drama Club Chair Nick Marinello said the musical version will surprise audiences with its humor.

“I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it is. The writing itself was really dry and it has this kind of this gallows humor the Addams Family was really known for,” Marinello said.

“The Addams Family” was adapted to Broadway in the early 2000s and continues to feature several of the mainstay characters from its television days.

“When we were thinking of shows, we were thinking of doing a classic, and this is funny and a little irreverent, so we thought the kids would really appreciate it, and it’s something new,” Marinello said. “We’re excited to get the kids excited and do something that’s well known to people, but yet not known, because like the kids said, they know it’s a show and a movie but they didn’t know it was a musical, so we’re excited for that.”

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at Chippewa Valley’s auditorium. Other performances will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12, and Nov. 17-19, and also at 1 p.m. Nov. 19.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at For the Nov. 11 show, tickets for active and retired military members are $8 in honor of Veterans Day.