When Jeffrey Kyer II saw that his local theater company planned to stage “The Addams Family: A New Musical,” he didn’t think twice about what part to audition for.
Gomez Addams is “the role of a lifetime,” in his view.
In practical terms, though, winning the part — which he did — meant taking on a second job in addition to his work as a Change Management manager at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.
Rehearsals for the production, staged by the Locust Grove, VA-based Lake of the Woods Players, took place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. On Monday and Tuesday evenings, the Fredericksburg, VA, resident would race from work to rehearsals; on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, he’d rush home to practice lines.
“My wife and kids were super supportive in helping me do this,” he said, allowing him to “go in my office and talk to myself for two hours and act like a crazy person.”
Wife Keiko, daughters Jadyn and Janna and son Jordan also assisted by rating his dance moves and helping him perfect his Spanish accent.
One of the musical’s big themes was especially resonant for Kyer. In the musical, “Gomez is coming to terms with his kids getting older,” and the father of three could relate.
“I’m kind of in that phase of life … there’s a lot of correlation” with his life now and the musical’s storyline.
When told it sounded a little bittersweet, he agreed. “In fact, there’s a song in the show that’s called ‘Happy, Sad.’”
He also feels a kinship with aspects of the character’s big personality, including Gomez’s jovial, excitable nature.
Kyer, who has been acting in local theater for about 10 years, took inspiration for his interpretation from two actors: Nathan Lane, who originated the role in the Broadway musical, and Raul Julia, who played Gomez in the “Addams Family” films of 1991 and 1993, movies Kyer loved as a kid.
His Gomez is “an energetic mix of those two,” with some of his own personality layered in.
The musical’s Gomez carries much of the show, including a boffo opener — a scene that happens to be Kyer’s favorite. “The most fun is the opening number, which is where you meet the family. It’s a big song-and-dance” production,” he said.
He is gratified to see that theater-starved audiences have been eating it up. “Every night this past weekend the crowd went wild. It kind of choked me up.”
The 17-year USPS veteran — Kyer began as a rural carrier assistant in Fredericksburg — was also touched by the support he got from his day-job colleagues.
“I’ve been so supported by my co-workers at USPS,” he said, mentioning that some colleagues even drove the roughly 70 miles from DC to take in the show.
“It’s been awesome.”
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