Steamboat high school theater students embrace Halloween with presentation of ‘The Addams Family’ |

Steamboat high school theater students embrace Halloween with presentation of ‘The Addams Family’

Ethan Pyles plays the part of Gomez Addams in a dress rehearsal for the Steamboat Springs High School’s presentation of “The Addams Family.” The show opens at 6 p.m. Thursday night. There will also be 6 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday as well.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On a Thursday afternoon, inside the Steamboat Springs High School theater, it’s a busy scene.

A cluster of students are huddled in the tech booth. Some are sawing wood to build sets. Others are practicing their lines on the steps before rehearsal officially starts. They are putting everything together for their upcoming show in record time — six weeks.

“The Addams Family” will officially open at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. Additional shows will be 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, and 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.

Junior Ben Heil, who plays Uncle Fester, said the students wanted to do a show that had a little bit for everyone.

“We did ‘Beauty and the Beast’ last spring,” he said. “This time, we wanted to do something the whole family can enjoy. There’s a little bit of adult humor in there, but it’s also good for kids.”

The cast of about 25 is all high school students, although in the past, high school theater students have combined forces with the middle school. This time, having only six weeks to pull the show together, they decided to open auditions only to high school students. The past few weeks have been spent rehearsing lines, building sets, sewing costumes and putting every small detail into place for opening night.

It’s clear the students are leading the charge, with the guidance of their drama teacher Jamie Oberhansly, who has led the program for nine years. The costumes, set design, choreography, tech and lighting are primarily directed by students, though.

If you go

What: “The Addams Family”
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, and Friday, Oct. 18, and 2 and 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19
Where: Steamboat Springs High School theater, 45 East Maple St.
Tickets: Reserved seating, $20; general admission, $12. Tickets can be purchased in the high school office or All That, 811 Lincoln Ave.

“That’s the idea of the program,” Oberhansly said. “I hand everything over to them, with some guidance obviously, but they take ownership and feel accomplished in their own leadership.”

Allie Famulare, who plays Morticia, agreed.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “I love it so much. I’ve been involved with the theater program since freshman year, and it has really opened me up and brought me out of my shell. It’s a very welcoming community filled with diversity.”

Allie Famulare plays the part of Morticia in a dress rehearsal for “The Addams Family.”
John F. Russell

While the cast and crew are excited for the show, they are performing not just for the Steamboat community but for several judges who will be sitting, anonymously, in the audience. They are from the Bobby G Musical Theater Awards. Modeled after the Tony Awards, the Bobby Gs are an annual ceremony that celebrates and rewards outstanding achievements in high school musical theater across the state. Awards range in categories from best acting to best choreography to best tech work.

In addition, the Colorado Thespian Association will be there, judging if the cast and crew will qualify to perform at the Colorado Thespian Conference in December. If so, the students would load everything up, including their set and costumes, and perform in Denver in front of 5,000 people.

With opportunities like this, it’s no wonder the students are committed.

Ethan Pyles, a senior who plays Gomez, knows for certain that he wants to do theater in college.

“When I first started high school,” he said, “I thought I wanted to be a basketball coach. Then my friend convinced me to try theater, and I loved it.”

Ben Heil plays the part of Uncle Festerl.
John F. Russell

As it turned out, he was a natural. Pyles earned the opportunity to perform at state competitions and made his way to ThesCon Nationals, where he performed for colleges. He is currently being recruited by several colleges with impressive performing arts programs.

“I absolutely want to do this after high school,” Pyles said.

And he’s not the only one. In the nine years that Oberhansly has overseen the program, she said more and more students are going on to be involved in the theater program at their various colleges.

“I’m just so proud of these kids,” Oberhansly said. “They give breath to my life.”

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