Published: 00:01, 30 October 2017
It’s quite a monster role, playing Morticia Addams – and involves being prepared to look like death warmed up!
After meeting a watery demise in EastEnders as Ronnie Mitchell, Samantha Womack’s role in The Addams Family has her dabbling with death as the monster mum of a family of ghouls.
Initially unsure of taking on a new musical after her roles in South Pacific and Guys and Dolls, she was soon won over.
“Immediately I got a very clear sense of how I should play the role,” she said. “I’d never played a character that was so deadpan before and as I read the script I really started to enjoy it. I also really liked the character-style of singing, which was different to me. Suddenly I couldn’t stop thinking about it; I was being seduced.”
“When I realised I really wanted to play Morticia I was as surprised as everyone else, although it helped that the producers and creative team were just the warmest group of people,” she said. “There’s something very infectious about people who are so passionate about something. I remember watching a repeat of the TV series in the 80s and I loved it. I especially loved the wistful quality of Carolyn Jones, the actress who played Morticia.”
Bagging the role, she found herself in expert company with a talented cast performing a show written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the creators of multi award-winning Jersey Boys.
“It’s a show with a credibility that is really exciting,” she said. “The cast is phenomenal – musical theatre royalty. Les (Dennis) has starred in loads of musicals, including Spamalot, but he is also a really knowledgeable comedy buff. He a great Uncle Fester.”
With lots of laughs and plenty of music, Samantha hopes families will come and enjoy the show together.
“My daughter, who is 12, especially loves the character Wednesday and I think most young girls will really be drawn to her. The age guide is seven plus, but it
is very much a family show that will really entertain people and send them home with a light and happy feeling. It’s just that kind of piece.”
“Engaging in live performance is something that should be possible for all children,” she added. “There’s a lot of debate about theatre being elitist at the moment and I’m trying to set up a relationship between children in care and production companies so that when there are empty seats these children can benefit from the experience.”
“As I get older, the need to have a bit more creative control is important and I am passionate about exploring ideas and telling stories that need to be told. Making theatre and film that is inclusive is something that I seem to be gravitating towards.”
Heading out on the road after so many years in EastEnders is something she is relishing.
“EastEnders meant that I was stationary for a long time – going back to treading the boards was appealing. I stop myself tail-spinning by staying fit and healthy and by keeping to my own little routines, but touring is exciting and each theatre gets a slightly different production.”
But she makes each dressing room a little bit of home, too.
“I have lots of photographs around me and wherever possible I have the kids and the dogs with me. That makes me very happy.”
Before we said goodbye we marvelled again at the incredible longevity of a family that started life as a magazine cartoon almost eighty years ago.
The Addams Family holds its final run of its national tour at the Orchard Theatre from Tuesday, October 31 to Saturday, November 4. To book tickets from £20 visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.
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