On Stage: "The Addams Family" heads into its final weekend at the Clay Center

Promotional photo of cast members from the Charleston Light Opera Guild production of "The Addams Family" (Courtesy CLOG and Brian Marrs Photography)

The Charleston Light Opera Guild has a long history of delivering quality entertainment to capital city audiences. The organization has built a talented core group of actors who have contributed to many different productions. However, there is always room for new talent. That's the case for the cast of "The Addams Family," which features four actors in leading roles making their guild debuts.

"It's hard to find outlets sometimes in our areas for singing voices," Ashley Cowder (Uncel Fester) said. "And this is one of the best ones there is as far as I'm concerned. You know, I'm just happy to be, I'm honored, really, to be a part of this."

"It's absolutely amazing," Heather Allen (Wednesday) said. "The cast have been so welcoming and everybody's been extremely nice to me."

"I'm just really grateful right now," Sara Golden (Morticia) said. "So I think I bring a lot of newness and fresh perspective. Everything is magical and wonder-filled."

The final newcomer in the spotlight traveled a long way to appear in the show. He's an exchange student from the Northern European nation of Estonia attending school this year at Capital High. He auditioned for the show a couple of hours after landing in America.

"It's been wonderful," Kert Markus Valdek (Lurch) said. "I mean, I don't even know why they gave me this kind of opportunity to be here. And to be at the Clay Center and to play Lurch at 'The Addams Family' I think it's a pretty big deal for me."

Not only are the four actors performing with CLOG for the first time, they get to do so on what many consider West Virginia's finest stage.

"I'm really blessed to be at the Clay Center," Allen said. "It's huge and beautiful and I love it. It's a little scary but it's also, you love to do it."

"It's amazing to be here," Valdek said. "Like, when I first came here it was like, a lot of excitement. And oh, it is wonderful."

"It's very exciting," Golden said. "The first moment that I walked onto the stage it was just breathtaking to see the whole house here . And I even took a little picture from this point of view. So, it was very incredible and breathtaking."

A pair of light opera guild veterans say the rookies are making a big impact as they step into the spotlight.

"It's just so exciting to have some fresh faces," Elizabeth Cary Brown (Alice Beineke) said. "See some different interpretations and new people to work with to help you develop as an actor as well."

"They may all be new to the guild but they're not new performers," Chris Terpening (Gomez) said. "They're all outstanding talents each in their own right. And so it's just been a delight to get to know them both professionally and personally."

The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents "The Addams Family"
November 3-4 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinee Sunday November 5 at 2:00 p.m.
Maier Foundation Performance Hall at the Clay Center
1 Clay Square, Charleston, WV
$25 plus fees


Chris Terpening-Gomez
Sara Golden-Morticia
Heather Allen-Wednesday
Ashley Cowder- Fester
Clayton Strohmenger-Lucas Beineke
Elizabeth Cary Brown-Alice Beineke
Mark Felton-Mal Beineke
Stevie Brigode-Grandma
Tayan Cooper-Pugsley
Kert Markus Valdek-Lurch
Ted Brightwell-Ancestor
Emma Dooley-Ancestor
Devin Elliott-Ancestor
Jake Guthrie-Ancestor
Ashley Harmon-Ancestor
Emily Houchens-Ancestor
Sarah King-Ancestor
Hannah O'Brien-Ancestor
Kim Patterson-Ancestor
Toni Pilato-Ancestor
Caroline Chamness Rainey-Ancestor
Danae Samms-Ancestor
Caroline Shriver-Ancestor
Austin A. Thomas-Ancestor
Rhiannon Turley-Ancestor
Tristan Valleau-Ancestor
Cameron Vance-Ancestor

Nina Denton Pasinetti-Director
John Marshall-Musical Director
David Patrick-Accompanist
Tom Pasinetti-Technical Director

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