They’re creepy and kooky … and performing for a good cause later this month. Beginning March 25, the community is invited to join Morticia, Gomez, Fester and the rest of everyone’s favorite macabre clan when Neshaminy Valley Music Theatre presents The Addams Family at Neshaminy High School’s Theodore Kloos Auditorium, 2001 Old Lincoln Highway, Langhorne.
This is the 65th annual production of the nonprofit theater group. As always, proceeds from ticket sales are awarded as scholarships to local high school seniors who plan to pursue their college education in the fine or performing arts. Since NVMT’s inception in 1956, $165,000 has been distributed to area teens.
The all-volunteer cast includes NVMT veteran Joe Harris, of Trevose, as Lurch, and newcomer Greg Kopcho, of Bensalem, as Fester. Ahead of opening night, The Times caught up with the actors, who are thrilled to be part of the show.
Harris, who joined NVMT in 2014 at the request of his granddaughter, has come a long way over the past nine years. In his inaugural show, Anything Goes, he had only one line to say, but feared he’d mess it up. Now, Harris is not only performing an entire song as Lurch, he’s serving as a co-producer.
“It’s an interesting role,” he said of Lurch. “There’s actually not a lot of talking in this role, but there are a lot of locations you have to be at. I almost have to set up my staging like the football coaches do, where they put all the dots, ‘This is where you go.’ In the first scene, I have 11 spots where I have to go.”
Luckily, Harris already has a fairly low voice that’s suitable for the part, but some tweaks are going to be made to his appearance.
“I’m shaving my beard off,” he revealed. “I’ve never seen a Lurch with a beard.”
For Kopcho, it’s been a blast taking on the weird role of Fester — a stark contrast from his day-to-day life as a corporate recruiter.
“It’s definitely the strangest kind of character that I’ve ever had to take on in terms of trying to figure out what he’s all about. And definitely from a looks perspective and a weirdness perspective, he’s out there a little bit,” he said with a laugh. “It’s been fun. I get to be different than maybe how I’d be in real life. It’s pretty cool just to get to be weird and crazy.”
NVMT has been on Kopcho’s radar for about five years after he attended its production of Young Frankenstein in 2018. An interest piqued and he signed up to be on the email distribution list. When NVMT announced auditions for The Addams Family toward the end of 2022, he thought it was finally time to give it a shot.
So far, it’s been a perfect fit. Not only is this Bensalem resident in close proximity to NVMT’s headquarters, he happens to be a Neshaminy High School alum.
“To be able to perform there and in that space is pretty exciting, especially because I never did it when I was in school there,” said Kopcho.
Similar to his co-star, Kopcho will undergo quite the transformation to fully embody Fester.
“It’s going to be a pretty arduous process because I am not bald, and I am not shaving my head. So we’re gonna be putting on a bald cap and doing a heavy face and bald cap makeup to give me the look that I need for the show,” he said. “My girlfriend Joy, she’s involved in theater, too, and she’s gonna be helping me do all of that stuff. So that’s probably going to take upwards of an hour to be able to get that all together before every show.”
This version of The Addams Family, directed and choreographed by the Barrymore Award-nominated Stephen Casey, sees Gomez and Morticia deal with a horror that all parents must face — their children are growing up. Wednesday, who is now 18, is ready for a life of her own, and has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a sweet, smart boy from a normal Ohio family. To make matters worse, she has invited the Beinekes to the Addams’ home for dinner. In one fateful night, secrets are disclosed, relationships are tested, and the Addams family must face the one thing they’ve avoided for generations — change.
According to Kopcho, NVMT is allowing audiences to see the iconic family in a new light: “They didn’t want a story that had been done before. So I think they took on some of that in some of the characterizations, focusing a lot on Gomez’s Spanish heritage and some of those other family dimensions. You don’t necessarily get a full sense of that from the old TV show. There’s a lot there for people to experience that they haven’t maybe seen of these characters before.”
Harris added that everyone involved in NVMT is close-knit, a dynamic that he believes will shine through on stage.
“My granddaughter and I, when we first got involved in 2014, we were blown away by how accepting the organization is to new people. You feel the heart of the organization when you first get involved, and there’s nobody that thinks they’re above anybody else, even if they have a leading part. It’s a joy to know these people, it really is,” Harris said.
He also promised audiences a few things — they can feel confident knowing they’re donating to a good cause, will experience a sense of “old school theater,” including drop curtains and painted sets, and enjoy a light-hearted, family-friendly show, despite the Addams’ passion for all-things-spooky.
“We really want people, when they walk out, to feel like they donated to a good cause and they feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth, maybe whistling the songs as they’re walking out,” said Harris.
The cast of The Addams Family also includes Courtney Capriotti, of Levittown, as Morticia; Jack Sariego, of Jenkintown, as Gomez; Lucy Allen, of Bensalem, and Aiden Barrie, of Newtown, as Pugsley; and Marissa Miller, of Carversville, as Wednesday.
Shows take place on Saturdays, March 25 and April 1, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays, March 26 and April 2, at 3 p.m.; and Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m. Tickets in advance are $26 general admission, $24 seniors, $20 for youth 18 and under; additional $2 at the door; $20 for groups of 15 or more (arranged in advance). Tickets are available at nvmt.org, through PayPal with $1 service fee, firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-733-8876. Any ticket is good for any seat at any performance with Flex Tix.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com