INDIANAPOLIS — Samantha Russell, 17, is a senior member of the performing arts family at Mt. Vernon High School, but Aug. 25, she learned that she had been chosen to be part of another family — “The Addams Family” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

A friend she worked with during a summer production tipped her off to auditions for the role of Wednesday Addams, which the theater company had to fill unexpectedly when a member of the Broadway tour of the show, who was expected to play the part, fell ill.

Artistic director at Beef & Boards and director of the production, Eddie Curry, looked to local talent, and out of 20 auditioners, he narrowed the field to two before choosing Russell for the role.

“It was the voice. Wednesday needed a solid voice, a belt voice, and Sam had it,” said Curry, who also plays the role of Gomez Addams, Wednesday’s father. “There are professional adults in this field that do not have a voice like that.”

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But he wondered how he might go about transforming Russell into the spooky teen Addams daughter. He called in makeup and wig artist Daniel Klingler, who just happened to be the pal who had told Russell about the audition in the first place, and with a little theater magic, Klingler turned Russell into the show’s broody coming-of-age protagonist.

At 17, Russell already has a number of theater credits to her name — Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Janet Van de Graff in “The Drowsy Chaperone” — but this marks her debut with a professional company. The rigorous rehearsal schedule

If you go

“The Addams Family”

Performances through Nov. 22

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

9301 N. Michigan Road


Ticket reservations through the box office at 317-872-9664

Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or