You rang? Though you won’t hear the iconic TV series line from this butler, Lurch is still a prominent feature in The Addams Family musical over at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. Continuing on in Part 2 of the “Move Toward the Darkness” interview series, we are introduced to seasoned stage veteran David Bosley-Reynolds, who takes on the zombie-butler role with a unique panache all his own.
Let’s start off by introducing our readers to you. Tell us who you are and what they might recognize you from in recent times around the area.
David Bosley-Reynolds: Well, I’m David Bosley-Reynolds and I played George Banks in the Toby’s Dinner Theatre production of Mary Poppins recently. Now I’m doing Lurch in The Addams Family.
Now, Lurch is the silent character, right?
David: Mostly. Spoiler alert! Lurch doesn’t talk! It’s an amazingly challenging role. Surprisingly enough it was very difficult for me because I’ve got a large, expressive face and with Lurch it’s more than just being vocally silent. I really couldn’t move my face for this role, and that was not something I was used to. It took a lot of practice to keep all my facial muscles still and only make expressions in response to certain moments.
The character is still growing on me. It wasn’t until press night, which was two weeks into the run, that I finally got my shoes. I’m fairly tall to begin with, I’m 6’3 but these giant shoes add another five inches to my height. So stomping around in those is really adding to the whole feel of the character. Fortunately, I get to take them off when I go out at intermission to wait my tables.
You’re still waiting tables as Lurch?
David: Absolutely! I mean it can be a little scary, I guess, for those who don’t know what it’s like at Toby’s when the actors who were serving them before hand come out still painted up from the show. But I guess they’ve never really had that experience, it’s been a really, really long time since Toby’s has done a makeup intensive show like this one. But you try to tell the tables, especially if they have younger children, that you’re going to look a little different when you see them at intermission.
It does kind of kill the surprise of Lurch just a little bit, though. Talking. “Hey, how do you like the show so far? Do you need more coffee?” As me. I wonder if there’s a way to take my intermission orders in grunts the way Lurch does…I do get asked though where my shoes are, though. I can’t. I cannot even begin to explain how crazy and scary that would be. Me waiting tables in those monsters.
What was the appeal for you to come and audition to be a part of The Addams Family?
David: Ah, the appeal? Oh, well I wanted to work. Haha. Aside from wanting to stay on stage, I had taken a bit of a break after last year’s Christmas show— Miracle on 34th Street where I played Judge Group— and Mary Poppins was the first thing I’d done since then. Getting back on stage made me want to stay back on stage, but the show also sounded really fun.
Do you have a standing familiarity with The Addams Family?
David: I had never seen the musical in any incarnation. But the TV show…now I know David (David James who plays Grandma Addams) probably told you that he watched the TV show…he’s a little older than me, but not by too much! I saw some reruns of it but I didn’t go back and watch it or anything. I have very dim memories of it. Mostly about the funny man who kissed the lady all up and down the arm that’s what most of my memories in regards to the TV show were about. I think that was my first memory about that show. I just thought it was silly. I always wondered why he (Gomez) would race trains and crash them into each other. I never understood why he just wouldn’t put them onto separate tracks.
Lurch never scared me because I guess there was a laugh track behind him every time he showed up. He was supposed to be funny so as a kid when I saw him with the laugh track I thought it was funny. You know he’s like Frankenstein’s monster only funnier.
Are the children scared of Lurch when they see him in the show?
David: Rarely. There is that one moment at the beginning of the show where I sort of lunge toward everyone in the audience, and I’ve noticed that has gotten a few startling reactions, but I don’t think they see him as scary. Of course, getting to see me before the show starts if I’m out waiting tables helps make him less scary and more just quirky or funny, I guess.
Now, anyone who has seen you on stage knows you have a really strong and impressive singing voice. But you don’t get really utilize your singing voice in this show. What is that like for you?
David: I mean, I do get to use my voice— well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Spoiler alert! Again. There might be a little solo featured somewhere in there for Lurch. You’ll have to come see the show to hear it. But when I do get to sing, it’s a bass part and that makes me so happy because I never get to sing that low. That’s really my range, that lower end baritone full bass range but I’m usually singing stuff that’s a bit higher. I get the bass lines in the ensemble. There aren’t too many leading roles written in that deep bass range, or at least not any that I’ve played recently.
Do you have an Addams family character that you would say is your favorite or that speaks to you the most?
David: Who speaks to me? Oh my gosh! I think Wednesday is kind of groovy. She’s just so nuts. She’s opposite girl. Everything about her is dark and crazy and not what people think of when they think girl, so that makes her really cool. I just have a lot of fun watching her character go through everything. And MaryKate (MaryKate Brouillet) is so amazing in that role.
Of course, Morticia in our show, oh my god, Priscilla (Priscilla Cuellar), she’s just amazing. She’s really on top of her game. Actually, everyone is really on top of their game here for this show. Even our Pugsleys are just so incredible. Gavin and Jace, they’re awesome. (Gavin Willard and Jace Franco who share the role of Pugsley Addams.) Jace was in Les Miserables with me, and Gavin did Miracle on 34th Street, and he was just in Poppins as one of the boys who played Michael Banks, my character’s son. Everyone is really enjoying being a part of this show and I think the fact that everyone is so on top of their game in their performances is really a huge part of that.
You had mentioned back at the beginning of the interview that you had trouble being very still for this role. How was developing his character different from the way you’d normally approach a character role?
David: Well he’s got a rich internal monologue happening, that’s for sure. At least I think he does. The thing I’m getting the most from people is “You don’t say You Rang?” That’s Lurch’s trademark. And it’s funny because without having seen the musical, I didn’t know that Lurch in this show doesn’t say that ever. Mark (Director Mark Minnick) didn’t want him speaking ever so that his surprise solo at the end is that much more profound and nothing spoils that ending. Except for me talking about that ending right here. Spoiler alert!
As far as getting him into character? I have no idea what to say. I would just kind of move. I mean, how does Lurch move? You don’t want to go too zombie with it, because he’s not really a zombie, but he’s not a monster, nobody really knows what Lurch is. So I would move and Mark would give me pointers on how to adjust my movement. Mark is a marvelous director. He would say “You’re moving like a monster and we don’t really want that.” And he was really great at guiding my movements.
I actually went and looked Lurch up on Wikipedia, trying to find a happy medium for his movement and his existence since it’s really unclear as to what or who he is. They kept giving all these references from the TV show like “He’s great! Where did you dig him up?” and Gomez would respond “Oh, I forget which cemetery.” So he’s kind of this composite person. They did say that he actually does have an Addams’ heart that they put in him. So he’s part Addams.
The thing that really seems to get a lot of laughs for you as Lurch is when he’s told to hurry up. You get very physical there, where did you find that technique?
David: Oh that came straight from Mark. I think it must have been part of the original show on Broadway? Or maybe the original tour? I’m not really sure. But I know people have talked about seeing Lurch and the flapping arms when they’ve seen different productions of it before. Of course Mark worked on the tour, so maybe it was Mark’s original idea that he put in that tour and carried over to this production. Either way it gets laughs every single time and all I’m doing is flapping my arms.
Is Lurch a secret dance master?
David: I’m going to say no. I mean, he doesn’t really dance, well…except the opening. Lurch gets to zombie dancing in the opening number. It was a little difficult learning to dance in those platform shoes even though he doesn’t dance all but in that first number. It was a little scary because my ankle kept rolling. I think I leaned against the rail at one point, but I’m a lot better with them now. I still don’t think that makes Lurch a secret dancer. Though he might want to dance with Morticia.
The big finale number, “Move Toward the Darkness” is Lurch’s moment to shine, but what does that mean to you as a performer?
David: Embrace your inner Addams. I mean, look at Lurch in that number. It changes him. It means something else for everyone else on that stage, but for Lurch it’s his character arc, it’s his change. He is changed by love. I kind of compare him to— see I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s too, I grew up with Lost in Space— the reruns as well. So compare to Robot because Robot started out being really rigid but then he developed feelings and emotions as the series went on. So I kind of look at Lurch the same way. He’s kind of changed by the aspect of love. Morticia hands him the rose stem and sometimes a tear comes out. Now that’s partially because I stare a lot. But that song brings that out in him, or it enables him to express it.
I understand, from talking with Julia Lancione in Part 1, that you guys have very specific makeup plots for your characters. How does that influence your take on Lurch?
David: It’s funny because, gosh, it really makes him that composite person I was talking about. He does feel like he was assembled out of a graveyard. Whoever did the show before, or whoever it was that made up this plot, he’s made Lurch a real piece-by-piece person. Lurch has one big lip on one side and it’s thin on the other side and the eyes are slightly different. It’s crazy. The makeup across the entire cast just looks great and I think it’s a huge part of getting everyone into character.
The costumes do that too. I’m in a— I don’t know what you call it— funeral suit? Funerary suit? It looks like something I could have been buried in. Or that someone was buried in. They ordered me a suit and then they made all these adjustments to it. People keep saying “It’s too short on the hem!” but Mark wanted it that way and I know why. It makes me look even bigger than I actually am. They did the Jerry Lewis sleeves too, same thing. Making my arms look longer and my whole body just looking bigger; it’s all a part of being that composite monster-zombie-butler man. Some critic said it that I look like an Ed Wood 1955 creation and I thought, “Yeah, he’s pretty much calling me Tor Johnson from Plan 9 without saying it.”
Why should people come to see The Addams Family here at Toby’s? Everyone seems to be doing it, or trying to do it soon.
David: Are they? I have no idea. But don’t wait around for them. Come see it here. We’re in the round. You can sit right in front and see all of the show literally two feet away from your face. Those people sitting right in front are having the most fun I think I’ve ever seen an audience have. You get such an up-close and personal look at everything; the costumes and how beautiful they are, the characters and how crazy they are…gosh I can’t think of a reason not to come see it here. You get a chance to be close to the makeup, which if you can’t find any other reason to come, come for that. It’s almost like being in it, you’re that close.
Alright, we’ll close out with my favorite question, which I guess isn’t so much a question as asking for two statements. “Full Disclosure” that wonderful ‘game’ that gets played at dinner. The readers need one from Lurch, the character, and then one from David Bosley-Reynolds, the actor. And go.
David: From Lurch. And from David Bosley-Reynolds. You don’t ask for much, do you? Gosh…let’s see…I think Lurch’s full disclosure is that he has a secret crush on Morticia. He’s really broken up when she’s leaving. And possibly more so that she forgives and stays with Gomez.
Alright, now what about your Full Disclosure?
David: My full disclosure? My…do we have any full disclosures in this day and age? My full disclosure…I mean…I have so many…oh. I talk to my cats.
Now wait a minute…you put that out there when you were interviewed by me two years ago during Fiddler on the Roof. So that’s not really a Full Disclosure since anyone who read that interview, and I’m told a great many people did, know that already. Try again.
David: Alright…well…another full disclosure? You’re making this difficult. Wow. I mean, my life is pretty boring. I said that I have to make stuff up to sound interesting. I mean…I do— no. I am Judy Garland reincarnated. See, people in the dressing room know this, so I don’t know if that really counts or not. But nobody outside of the theatre…and since the dressing room is a sacred space…I have a tape recorder sort of like this one you’re using here to capture this interview? But it plays your voice on a different speed…
Wow. That was entertaining and brilliant.
David: Thank you. Well, Judy thanks you.
Anything else you’d like to say about the show before you go?
David: We close on April 19th. Don’t miss it. Book now. Don’t wait. It’s been such a great show. Maybe this should have been my full disclosure— sometimes I don’t like to come into work? But not with this show. I find myself coming in early because it’s so awesome. Let me say that again: It’s so awesome! So therefore you need to see this show.
To read the TheatreBloom review of The Addams Family, click here.