September 03, 2015

‘The Addams Family’ kicks off theater season

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The box office is open and season tickets are available. The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Theater offers an inspiring four-show subscription for the 2015-2016 season. 

“The Addams Family” is a “spooktacular” finger-snapping musical based on characters created in single-panel cartoons by Charles Addams. The cartoon first appeared in “The New Yorker” magazine in 1940 and continued through Addams’ death in 1988. The family members were nameless until the 1966 debut of the television show of the same name. The show lasted only two years, but the family became internationally famous. In this musical, the torture-loving daughter Wednesday falls in love with a “normal” guy, inviting him and his parents to meet her clan. The production plays Oct. 22-25 in the McLeod Theater. The School of Music is co-producer. 

“Beyond the Horizon” is the first full-length play by American theater great Eugene O’Neill, and won the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In this insightful and gripping story, two brothers change destinies when they discover they are in love with the same woman. Love, like a dream, can be a shifting thing; the characters must accept reality instead of the dream that lies “beyond the horizon.” The production plays Dec. 10-13. 

“Hansel and Gretel” is an opera by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck. First produced in 1893, the opera tells the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tale story of a young brother and sister abandoned in the woods and captured by a gingerbread-baking witch. This family friendly production runs Feb. 26-28 in co-production with the School of Music, featuring the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra. 

“Tartuffe,” the classic, scandal-laced comedy by Moliere, closes the season series. In this delightful rhymed-couplet translation, a pretentious and pious imposter claiming divine guidance infiltrates a wealthy household with a plan to seize the family’s fortune – and the patriarch’s virtuous daughter. The comedy performs April 28-May 1. 

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. (except as noted) in the McLeod Theater. Tickets for the series are $62 adult/$24 student. Individual tickets are $18 adult, $6 student. Season tickets can be obtained in person at the Arena or McLeod Theater box office, Monday-Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. (except University holidays), by mail, or by phone at 618/453-6000. Individual tickets are also available online at 

In addition to the season, the Department of Theater offers the 2016 Big Muddy New Play Festival, featuring new works by SIU playwrights. The festival includes one full production and several staged readings. The festival performs March 31-April 3 in the C.H. Moe Theater. Tickets to the full production are $18 adults, $6 student. Staged readings are free with seating on a first-come first-served basis.