The Addams Family Butler: Patrick Brett, Former Resident Actor

Patrick Brett a Season 41 Resident Actor, has returned to the Dock Street Stage for the roles of Lurch in The Addams Family – A New Musical, currently playing, and Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol coming November 30th. While onstage this fall he’s appeared quite “stiff” in the role of the Addams Family’s half-dead butler, you can get to know his joyful personality here!

You’re a former Resident Actor with us – welcome back! What are some of your favorite Charleston Stage memories? What have you been up to since being with the company?

It’s good to be back! Charleston Stage feels like a second home to me. There are some incredible people in this company and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to return. I was a Resident Actor in Season 41, and my experiences have shaped the kind of actor that I am today. 

My most treasured memories from those bygone days always include Colin Waters. Colin entered the program as a tour de force and quickly became a leader among our fellow Resident Actors. He was the mastermind behind our legendary Halloween costume (Inside Out), a founding member of PTO, and shared his love for his favorite day, sitzprobe. I was very proud, albeit not surprised, when he was asked to join Charleston Stage full-time as the Education Program Manager.

In the role of Beast in Beauty and the Beast I got the chance to fly with Fly by Foy during the character’s transformation from beast to man, and there’s nothing like it. I remember coming in for a training rehearsal, putting the harness on, and getting lifted off the ground by two metal wires thinner than my pinky – each one strong enough to bear 800 pounds. I’m notoriously afraid of heights, and I was so scared when the ground disappeared from underneath me. My heart skipped a beat when I was told I’d be doing three backflips while spinning uncontrollably; Oh, and simultaneously take off my Beast costume. After a few trial flights I was hooked. I’m very excited that I will be given that same chance in A Christmas Carol this year.

Featured (Left to Right): Former Charleston Stage Resident Actors Patrick Brett as the Beast and Levi Denton-Hughes as Belle in “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”.

After the curtain fell on Beauty and the Beast I traveled around the country performing in various shows. I saw the northern lights in Alaska while slinging arctic keta at a dinner theatre run by a cruise line. I was in a two person show, sometimes in ten different schools a week. Before the year ended I had moved to Chicago to pursue acting and improv. It wasn’t long before Covid came along and my focus shifted to a different vein: survival.

During my hiatus from the stage I had a variety of different roles that I began to fill. I half-heartedly earned my residential leasing agent license and began concurrently showing luxury apartments while waking up around four in the morning for my front desk job at a fitness studio. For a time I was Chicago’s worst real estate broker. I thought about becoming a plumber, and was laid off from an HVAC company. The hustle never ended. I eventually ended up working at Second City (where Chicago goes to laugh!) as a server. My favorite job by far. 

It wasn’t until 2021 that I returned to the stage in a theme park’s production of A Christmas Carol -though long story short, Covid shut down the production and I’m not allowed to be a Harlem Globetrotter. In April of this year I returned to Alaska along with my gorgeous partner Mary Kate, who I met at Charleston Stage during our time as Resident Actors. 

I’m having a blast in rehearsal. My return feels like a wonderful bookend to the last three years and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.   

Featured (Left to Right): Charleston Stage Resident Actor Cedar Valdez as Gomez Addams and Former Charleston Stage Resident Actor Patrick Brett as Lurch in “The Addams Family – A New Musical”.

How have you been preparing to play the role of Lurch in “The Addams Family?”

Lots of grunting, especially at the dinner table. Haha – Lurch does not say anything during the show. He is a large, lugubrious presence. So I’ve been practicing standing up straight and absolutely still while looking glum. And when he does move, he’s incredibly slow. To help with that I walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes a day in his gait. I’ll tell you, it would take him well over an hour to walk one mile. I’m excited for audiences to see Lurch’s mouth. Obviously in rehearsals we were masked, but when we get to tech my cast-mates were able to see a completely new dimension to my character.

Featured (Far Right): Former Charleston Stage Resident Actor Patrick Brett as Lurch in “The Addams Family – A New Musical”.

This show is very physically challenging, as with any big musical with multiple dance numbers. What has been the most difficult aspect of rehearsals for you? What has come more naturally? 

I unfortunately couldn’t arrive until a week and half into the rehearsal process: music was already learned, a few dances were choreographed, and half the show was blocked. A lot of information came at me very fast, and it was hard to not let the pressure of meeting my own expectations and standards get to me. Returning as a guest artist, I gotta show up, not throw up. I have to bring my A game. The cast was incredibly welcoming and supportive of my arrival.

As far as things go that come naturally, just standing around as Lurch. To quote my JV volleyball coach, “You can’t teach tall.”

What are your standard pre-show routines as you get ready to perform?

I don’t have any, I probably should…showing up on time, I guess.  

Tough question: plays or musicals? Why?

This is a tough question because I’m a horrible student of my craft. I was very fortunate that when I was in elementary school we’d take field trips to see children’s theater. I remember seeing Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I wasn’t exposed to musicals till the sixth grade. The music was a nice caveat, but I think I like watching plays more. Like: “Oh, here’s an Office style mockumentary adaptation of Henry V” (do it, you cowards). There’s some weird stuff out there and that’s the work I want to do. So throw me some monologue suggestions: the fewer words, the better.

Patrick would like to thank all the powers that made it possible for him to return to Charleston Stage as a guest artist. He was last seen onstage in the 2019 production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Beast and could not be more excited to be back. Special thanks to his parents, MK and all friends, old and new, who have come to watch. Follow him on Instagram at @party_patbrett.

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