FAMILY AFFAIR: Jacobs family tackles ‘The Addams Family’ at the Ricks

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Ted and Shari Jacobs work together at the sound board during a recent rehearsal for “The Adams Family,” a Ricks-Weil Theater Company production. The married couple work as directors of a show which also include daughters Rachael and Kara in the cast as well. Remaining show times are 7 p.m. March 31 and 2 p.m. April 1 at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — Rachael Jacobs didn’t expect a fangirl to approach her after last weekend’s performance of “The Addams Family” at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, but that’s what happened after the musical opened to an appreciative audience on March 24.

Rachael plays the role of the Addams family’s precociously morbid daughter, Wednesday, known for her dark moods as much as she is her dark clothing.

“After the show a little girl dressed as Wednesday came up to me wearing the same black prom dress I wear in the final scene, and we posed for pictures together,” said Rachael, 23, who attributes the enthusiasm to the hit Netflix show, “Wednesday,” which focuses on the brooding teen.

Rachael is having a blast reprising the role she first played as a senior at Lawrence Central High School, but the current production is extra special because she’s doing it with her family.

Her parents Ted and Shari Jacobs are co-directing the musical and her little sister Kara plays one of the Addams family’s ancestors. The family’s black Labrador, Wrigley, is also in the action as a trusty sidekick for Kara’s character.

“She made her role into a farmer just so he could be part of the production,” said her mom, Shari, who was all smiles as she watched a lively rehearsal Wednesday night.

With a positive weekend behind them and one left to go — with performances March 31 and April 1-2 — the Jacobs family is enjoying every minute spent together on the production.

“We’re all busy so we’re not always in the same place at the same time, so it’s been great working together and spending time together,” said Kara, 19, as she and Wrigley took a break from Wednesday’s rehearsal.

Theater runs in the blood for the family of four, who live in Lawrence.

Ted Jacobs led countless productions during his 20-plus years as Greenfield-Central High School’s theater director, a post he left in 2018, then spent six years as executive director at the Warren Performing Arts Center.

He and his wife met when they were both cast in a production of “Anything Goes” through the Carmel Community Players in 1996.

Their daughters both enjoyed performing in school productions as students at Lawrence Central High School and are having a blast taking the stage together for “The Addams Family” — a popular musical which racked up multiple awards after debuting on Broadway in 2010, and has since been performed around the world.

This is the first time Rachael has taken the stage at the Ricks Centre in downtown Greenfield since performing in “Annie,” when another Jacobs family pet — a golden retriever named Lexi — played the role of Annie’s dog Sandy.

Ted and Shari were co-directors for that production, for which Shari also served as music director.

“We’re a performing family. That’s who we are,” said Shari.

The family is also heavily involved in the arts at their church, Allisonville Christian Church in Indianapolis.

Kara said she’s enjoyed growing up in a theatrical family, and has loved the time spent working together on “The Addams Family.”

“We like to jam out to the songs in the car,” she said.

Rachael’s favorite part of the production — in which her quirky character falls in love with a “normal” boy — is getting to work with her sister.

“We’re like best friends, so it’s been really great,” said Rachael, whose best friend outside the family — Myra Carleton — is helping direct the show.

“The Addams Family” is the first production she’s been part of at the Ricks since she performed in “The Music Man” as a sophomore in high school.

While she loved playing the role of Wednesday her senior year, Rachael is having even more fun reprising the role as a young adult.

“There were so many jokes (in the dialogue) that I didn’t even pick up on back then, but I get them now,” she said with a grin.

Ted Jacobs can’t say enough about what a pleasure it is working with his own family as well as the tight-knit group of community actors who have become like extended family over time.

Erin Vetters, a former student he directed at Greenfield-Central High School, is serving as stage manager for “The Addams Family,” while her husband Jimmy and mother-in law Chris VeHorn are also part of the production.

“It’s quite the family affair for all of us,” Ted said.