“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky,” and from March 1-11, they’ll be treading the boards in Dunwoody as Jerry’s Habima Theatre brings to life its 25th production, The Addams Family.
Jerry’s Habima Theatre is Georgia’s only theatrical company directed and produced by professionals and featuring actors with special needs. All shows are held at the MJCCA’s beautiful Morris & Rae Frank Theater, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.
For 25 years, Jerry’s Habima Theatre has brought together local professional actors and directors from the community and paired them with talented actors with special needs (ages 18+), to present a musical theatrical production to sell-out audiences and much acclaim. Jerry’s Habima Theatre, a program of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA), is produced under the auspices of the MJCCA’s Blonder Family Department for Special Needs, and the MJCCA’s Arts + Culture Department.
When Wednesday Addams falls in love with a respectable young man, things begin to turn upside down in the Addams household. Based on the characters from the original cartoons and wildly popular 1960s television series, The Addams Family puts the ghoulish group to the ultimate test on one fateful night that changes them forever. This delightful show features all of your favorite characters – Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, Cousin Itt, and Lurch – along with a creepy array of Addams Ancestors. Audiences are guaranteed an evening of reflection and laughter.
“We are thrilled to celebrate our silver anniversary with this delightful production of The Addams Family,” said Rachel Fox Weitz, chair of the 25th anniversary production. “This year is my second serving as a Jerry’s Habima Theatre Chair, although I have been sitting in the Habima audience watching the shows since I was a little girl. Having been a patron and a supporter of this special theater in the past, I am loving being a part of what happens behind the scenes as well.”
“The participants of this unique theater company achieve new levels of self-confidence from this remarkable experience,” explained Weitz. “The audience allows them just to be themselves, and for these actors who turn their disabilities into abilities night after night, the affirmation and the applause are priceless. I am certain that this family-friendly performance of The Addams Family will inspire and entertain each and every Habima Theatre-goer.”
“After a few years of producing shows like The Wizard of Oz, Shrek and Aladdin, company members asked for contemporary themed productions with adult characters,” said Kim Goodfriend, Founding Artistic Director of Jerry’s Habima Theatre. “The Addams Family fits the bill perfectly and is trending now as a community theater production. The show has an affirming message about being true to yourself – a message all of us need to hear from time to time.” stated Goodfriend.
Over the last 25 years, Jerry’s Habima Theatre has been blessed by the talent and dedication of many theater professions. Deadra Moore was the first Habima director, setting the professional standard for the company and keeping the bar high through the first years. Sherri Sutton added high school students as cast members for unified productions. Instead of prompting from backstage, or in earpieces, Habima actors took cues and strength from fellow actors.
Bryan Mercer’s vision for Habima included the adaptation of scripts that would highlight each actor’s talents. At one point, he both directed and musical directed productions. Under the direction of Dina Shadwell, several scenes were performed by Habima actors only. No prompters. No ringers. Just actors – who, by now - thanks to the all the directors before, commanded the stage with confidence and style.
Clint Thornton served as lighting designer and actor in several productions before taking the director’s chair. His experience with the company and love for the process informed his unique perspective and loving directing style. Jeff and Heidi Cline McKerley further expanded the vision and reach of what Jerry’s Habima Theatre could be.
Mary Nye Bennett is now in her third season directing Jerry’s Habima Theatre. “With artistic professionalism and spirit, she mines the creative sparks of everyone she works with.
Partnership, professionalism, creativity and love have motivated all the folks who have staffed Jerry’s Habima Theatre over the years,” reflects Goodfriend. “I hope they can all sit back and kvell with the rest of us.”
The cast of The Addams Family includes Luke Davis (Gomez), Katie Rouille (Morticia), Googie Uterhardt (Uncle Fester). Margaret Whitley (Grandma), Cynthia Outman (Wednesday), Sean Wyatt (Pugsley), Bill Connell (Lurch), Michael Silver (Mal Beineke), Bess Winebarger (Alice Beineke), and Patrick Robinson (Lucas Beineke).
The Addams Ancestors are portrayed by Thomas Blackwell, Stacey Anderson, Patrick Demick, Michael Silver, Julia Ervin, Jared Brodie, Hannah Keene, Evan Nodvin, Evan Dewey, Davey Kilbourne, Courtney Jones, Bailey Bristow, Ali Sims, Todd Besmertnik, Robert Grollman, Philip Flores, Michelle Cristal, Michael Schwartz, Martha Haythorn, Mark Boehm, Mark Benator, Linda Danzig, Kelly Umstead, Jesse Thomas-Durden, Emery Matthews, and Angelica Spence.
The Addams Family opens on March 1 and concludes March 11 with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays, and at 1and 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25 for MJCCA members, $10 for MJCCA children 12 an under, $35 for community members, and $15 for community children 12 and under. To purchase tickets, call 678-812-4002, or visit atlantajcc.org/habima.