Marlborough native has macabre acting gigBy RICHARD DUCKETT , Associated Press
Jun. 16, 2013 2:31 AM ET
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Family life has taken a new turn for Jennifer Fogarty since she took a bus from Boston to New York City last year to audition for a pending new production.
Fogarty was cast as Wednesday, the "lovable princess of darkness," in the Broadway touring show of "The Addams Family,"
"Worcester is a wonderful place for 'The Addams Family' to come," said Fogarty, who grew up in Marlborough. Because of that local connection (she said she's been to The Palladium in Worcester "more than a handful of times," as well as The Hanover Theatre), there will be friends, former teachers, and family members in the audience during the course of the show's stay. "I'm excited to be there," she said.
Meanwhile, it is just as well that the cast members of "The Addams Family" seem to be getting along like ... well, family. The production had rehearsals in January, hit the road Feb. 1, and Fogarty's contract with the show runs through June 2014.
"Oh my God it's so much fun," Fogarty said of being an Addams family member during a recent telephone interview from Columbus, Ga., where the show was playing.
"Sometimes you feel guilty about your job because it's so much fun. I'm very thankful for it."
It's enough to bring a smile to her face, except it really shouldn't sometimes when she's on the stage as Wednesday, who can have an expressively funereal look about her.
"The most difficult thing has been not constantly smiling because I love smiling," Fogarty said of playing Wednesday. "I usually carry a big smile on my face." She recalled that at a read-through of the musical during rehearsals, the director said to Fogarty "You are going to deliver that without smiling, right?"
But Fogarty appears to take advice well. She's certainly been getting good reviews during the course of the show's tour. One recent reviewer stated, "Jennifer Fogarty ... (as Wednesday) brings manic intensity to her role and is a powerhouse singer with an amazingly resonant belting voice."
The musical version of "The Addams Family," like the famous 1960s TV series and movie adaptations, is based on cartoons created by Charles Addams that appeared in The New Yorker and depicted a ghoulish appearing family with an affinity for the macabre and characters with names such as Morticia, Uncle Fester and Lurch. Part of the joke is that the family is actually rather nice — once you get to know them.
That, however, is the problem the teenage Wednesday faces in the musical when she wants to introduce her "normal" boyfriend and his family to her own clan. The two families meet for the first time at a specially arranged dinner party. "And everything blows up," Fogarty said.
With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, "The Addams Family" opened on Broadway in April 2010, with Nathan Lane as the family patriarch, Gomez; Bebe Neuwirth as his wife, Morticia; and Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday. The show ran for 725 performances, and successful national and international tours have followed. The current touring show is an "all new production," Fogarty said. Audiences "just seem to love it. It (the show) is also a little creepy, because we are the Addams family, after all."
Besides her already mentioned singing and acting ability, a familial kind of look may have helped Fogarty in landing the part.
"I definitely carry the features of Wednesday, for sure. Very big eyes, dark eyebrows," she acknowledged.
But it has also been recognized that Fogarty possesses more than a passing resemblance to the actress Mila Kunis. Fogarty worked as the photo double for Kunis in the 2012 movie "Ted." She said she was on the film set for more than two months, standing in for Kunis in certain scenes. Occasionally, when you think you're seeing the back of Kunis' head and shoulders in the film, they are actually Fogarty's. Another scene involved Fogarty placing her foot on the pedal of a car.
She said she got along great with Kunis, and "I learned so much being on set . I hope to do something in film (in the future)."
It is possible that none of this would have happened if it were not for the enthusiasm that one of Fogarty's actual family members showed for theater when Fogarty was growing up in Marlborough.
Her older sister, Heather Fogarty, was "very active in the theater department" at Marlborough High School, Fogarty recalled (her sister is now an actress in Los Angeles). "She was having so much fun with it, I decided to give it a shot. I never thought I'd be doing it for a living."
Fogarty appeared in three musicals at Marlborough High School, then went to Curry College in Milton, where she majored in communications but had a minor in music with a concentration in theater. "One of my professors (Gail Phaneuf) was the first person to basically say to me 'you have something,' " Fogarty said. "I started to give some serious thought to it."
Shortly before graduating from Curry College in May 2009, she headed up to the Ogunquit Playhouse to audition for a summer production of "High School Musical." She was cast as one of the leads, Gabriella. "It all happened very quickly."
Her parents now live in Boston, and Fogarty has lived with them while acting regionally (including with the New Repertory Theatre in Boston). She regularly took the bus from Boston to New York for auditions. Now she has a long stint traveling on buses as "The Addams Family" continues its touring the U.S., in addition to some upcoming performances in Asia (and a two-week vacation in Hong Kong).
"It's a very long contract," Fogarty said of her commitment to "The Addams Family." ''It's very comforting to know you have work for that period of time.
"It's a family valued."