Jenna Barricklo, a Season 45 Resident Actor with us, has shined on our Dock Street stage in the role of Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family – A New Musical,” performing until Nov. 6th. Hear from her about her preparations for the role below:
You’re a Season 45 Resident Actor with us. What have you enjoyed about your
work with us so far?
I love that I get to fulfill all sides of why I love theater! It is amazing to work with my students during the day teaching them what I know and then come to rehearsal at night and explore my acting abilities. This is such a special company that really supports us and encourages us to be brave both in rehearsal and in life. It has been so much fun getting to learn and grow as an educator and challenge myself as an actor at the same time. There are not many places where we can get both of these things at once.
How have you been preparing to play the role of Wednesday in “The Addams
The amazing thing about performing Wednesday is there is so much source material to pull from! I have been watching the original TV show from the 1950s as well as the live action Addams Family movies. While Wednesday is a slightly different age in each iteration, six and twelve years old respectively, there is a lot to learn about her relationship with her family, what motivates her, and what makes her unique. Wednesday does not have your average coming of age story, and it’s been very fun to dive into what her upbringing was like. The original Charles Addams cartoons have been great material to learn from as well. There are so many small details in the musical that are taken right from those original cartoons.
Tell us more about Wednesday. What motivates her? What is she afraid of? How
have you been working through these things as an actor?
At this point in Wednesday’s life, she is ready to be out on her own exploring. She is definitely a daredevil, and I think she is looking for the next adventure in life – in this case, love. She is very independent and always wants to prove that she can get by just fine on her own. At the same time, though, I think falling in love proves to her that there is so much she has yet to experience and understand.
While there is not much Wednesday is afraid of, I think falling in love with Lucas makes her more vulnerable. She doesn’t know how to handle the emotions that come with letting your guard down, and I think she is afraid of letting people down. While she is very independent, she really needs her family’s approval and love in her choice to marry Lucas. She has learned to value her family above everything, and I think she is now grappling with how to let new people into her heart.
The easiest part of Wednesday for me to connect with is her love for her family. While the Addams are anything but average, their family bond is something I can strongly relate to. Wednesday’s decision of whether to leave home is a similar experience to what I am going through at the stage of life, a native New Yorker now transplanted in Charleston.
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 think the hardest part is getting Wednesday’s physicality down. All of the Addams’ move unnaturally – a little off. It is hard as an actor to resist the urge to react with your body, but Wednesday is very still – not much phases her. I had to rethink my impulses and really get into her mindset, noticing how her body language is different around her family than it is with Lucas, as he brings down her guard a little.
What has been most fun for me is any time I have the opportunity to dance. Wednesday doesn’t necessarily dance a ton in the show given her stiff nature, but I get to have my moments! I had a really fun time with Raymond, our Lucas, choreographing a little dance duet for an Act II number. Any time I got to throw in a little dance event makes my soul happy!
What are your standard pre-show routines as you get ready to perform?
The music in this show is quite a beast, especially for Wednesday, so most of my pre-show routine is making sure I’m vocally warm. I do my standard warmups as well as a few that are specific to get my voice ready for this style of show. I then sing all of “Pulled,” Wednesday’s big solo, through a straw. It’s a technique I learned from my voice teacher to get my voice exactly in the spot and positioning I need it to be in that song, and I do it before every rehearsal and performance to remind my voice what it needs to do!
Tough question: plays or musicals? Why?
I have to say musicals. The music piece of a story is what always draws me in – there is so much storytelling that comes from song and dance. It can be introspection, a glimpse into a character’s thoughts, and allows the audience to dive further into a character’s point of view.
Jenna is so excited to be joining Charleston Stage for its 45th season! She received her B.F.A. in Musical Theater from Shenandoah University. Professional Credits: Lisa (Mamma Mia!), Rosalia (West Side Story), Female Newsie (Newsies), Fannie (Mary Poppins). Jenna grew up in New York City and most recently resided in Boston! She is so grateful to her parents and brother for their endless support. Keep up with Jenna on her website and on Instagram: jennabarricklo.com / @in_jennaral