There’s a lot that goes into making a stage production great. There's the time spent designing and building the set, the costumes, the lighting and sound effects, not to mention the acting, choreography and music. It's enough to boggle the mind for most theater patrons. Now imagine this: The Players Theatre of Sarasota is doing a musical adaptation of "The Addams Family," so trust me when I say things are even kookier.
"The Addams Family: The Musical" will run through Nov. 16, and in case you weren’t already in the fall spirit, I’m going to show you how the ensemble members of the show get in to character each night. The ensemble acts as the ghostly ancestors of the Addams Family who come back from the dead for Halloween night. If you’ve seen the movies with Anjelica Huston and Christina Ricci, who play the game “wake the dead” at the end, it’s kind of like that, except you actually see us come back from the dead. The makeup is a process, so watch and learn.
We start out like this. It's much easier if you start with a clean face.
Next, we cover our entire faces with white face paint, powder, cake or cream. Casey Kelly and I are using Mehron F-X Fantasy Makeup in white. You can get it at LTM. To apply it evenly, we both use a brush; it gets a little more difficult to put on evenly if you use your finger. After that, we cover it with a translucent powder to set it and keep it from smudging off.
Casey does her makeup with a liquid black for her lips, eyes and eyebrows applied with a paint brush. Be sure to use makeup that's safe for around your eyes and lips, though. Don’t just use acrylic paints or something — we’re going for a dead look, but we don’t want to actually die, here.
The next thing I do is apply the powder colors I use. I use a blush for the pink sections and a black eye shadow for the gray and black. The trick here is to highlight your face. I put the black under my cheek bones for that dead, sallow look and use black for my eye shadow, while the pink highlights my cheekbones, under my eyebrows, the corner of my eye, the side of my nose, the sides of my forehead and side of my chin. It seems like a lot, but trust me on this one.
Now, Casey does her shadows. She highlights the same way I do, but instead of using pink, she’s using a matte blue eye shadow for her contours. The next thing I do is use an eyeliner pencil. Seriously, any eye shadow, blush or cheap eyeliner pencil will do for this stuff. I line the top, bottom and inner corner of my eyes, my eyebrows, as well as my lips. It doesn’t look pretty right now, but, well, it’s not supposed to.
Alright, Casey finally finished her eyebrows by covering them with that liquid black (FYI, making eyebrows symmetrical is really hard). She also added some orangey brown to her face to highlight it more and add more color. I filled my lips in with a burgundy red (and they look so much better), and Casey drew the tears on my face with her liquid black and a paintbrush. Full disclosure, Casey used to paint faces at Disney World, so she's kind of pro. And why do I have streaming mascara, you ask? Because I'm the Addams' ancestor who was a bride with an apparently unsuccessful love affair, so I cry all the time.
Almost done. I have long hair, so I have to braid it every night, stick it under a wig cap and pin it, so I can get my blonde wig on. I also like to accentuate my tears with black eyeshadow so they look more smeared, and I put some pink around them for color. They pop that way. It’s important to remember that from the stage everything is more difficult to see, so we usually go for more rather than less.
Alrighty, what do you think? Way different with the wigs and costumes pieces, huh? It’s all worth it once you see the Addams clan onstage. The effect is just as crazy and kooky as you would expect.