THE Addams Family director Luke Westley knew exactly what he was looking for when casting the stars of his show.
Until the auditions.
Ivy Jensen completely changed his mind on Morticia — the macabre matriarch of the family.
Thank God for auditions.
‘‘When Charles Addams originally created the character of Morticia Addams, he described her as, ‘The real head of the family ... low-voiced, incisive and subtle, smiles are rare ... contemptuous and original and with fierce family loyalty ... even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly,’’ he said.
‘‘I didn’t think Ivy was right for the role of Morticia and, in fact, told her to consider auditioning for another role.’’
Ivy almost took his advice and started looking at other roles, but the more she explored Morticia, the more she liked her and found her relatable.
‘‘The stars certainly aligned and thanks to a strong audition and relentless work ethic, Ivy was able to change my mind and I couldn’t be happier,’’ Luke said.
‘‘Morticia is the true star of this show and as the matriarch of such a strong family, Ivy is perfect when she demonstrates the strong influence and example for Wednesday, nurturing of Pugsley and adoration of Gomez.
‘‘Ivy really delivers across the gambit of this role and I’ve no doubt audiences will love her.’’
For Ivy, taking on the role of Morticia for the Echuca-Moama Theatre Company production has been challenging.
‘‘She is a lot more macabre than I am and being expressive and always smiling offstage, I’ve needed to pull that back and channel Morticia in different ways,’’ she said.
Morticia was always expressive through her eyes and subtle smirks, created so beautifully by Carolyn Jones in the original TV show, an interpretation from which Ivy is taking inspiration.
Along with the challenge of bringing the character to life, The Addams Family also includes big musical numbers and even bigger dance numbers, including an intense and moving tango between Morticia and Gomez.
This works well for Ivy, who said dancing had always been her passion and part of her life, having learnt contemporary, modern and tap over the years.
Her love of musical theatre and extensive training was news to Luke, who had only worked with her once, during EMTC’s smash hit The Phantom of the Opera.
With The Addams Family opening at the Echuca Paramount on Friday, May 24, the clock is ticking for rehearsals, but there’s one thing audiences can be sure of: ‘‘Morticia is a strong, confident, independent, passionate woman and Ivy holds all the key values to bring the role to life in Echuca,’’ Luke said.
The Addams Family will continue until June 1, with tickets on sale at the Paramount.