Paying a Call on The Addams Family


by Lindsey Lowe

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg, JMA Photography

 

Lexie Dorsett probably learned a lot of things in the seventh grade; middle school is notorious for lessons in pre-algebra, Earth science and the art of making friends. But there is one thing Dorsett found out that changed everything: She realized, for the first time, that she could get a degree in musical theater. “I searched the Internet and printed out all of this information on the best universities to pursue a musical theater degree,” Dorsett remembers. “I called my parents to a meeting at the kitchen table…and announced, ‘I am going to major in musical theater, and I am going to one of these top schools to pursue it.’ That was that.”

That was that. Growing up in Birmingham, she was involved with the Red Mountain Theatre Company and the Amy Murphy Studio (where she is now a certified teacher), the places she says she learned she “had the drive and talent to pursue a career in the arts.” From there, Dorsett went north, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2010.

She toured with Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein National Tour as the Madeline Kahn character, Elizabeth Benning, in 2012, and while on that contract, she came across the audition website for The Addams Family Tour. She felt like it would be a great fit for her, but because she was already touring, she couldn’t make the initial auditions. Dorsett wrote to the casting director explaining the situation, and mentioned that she would probably be able to make the final callbacks in New York City.

“Mark was very kind but basically wrote me back saying that since he had never worked with me, he couldn’t very well allow me to skip all those auditions and put me in front of producers and directors without seeing my talent live beforehand,” she explains.

FlightAttendant2But something snagged his interest, and a few months later, Dorsett was invited to NYC to audition, even though the director had only seen tapes of her work. She performed in Syracuse, N.Y., with Young Frankenstein and then drove through the night to make the audition the next morning. “I was exhausted, but in the end, it was absolutely worth it,” she says. A few weeks later, Dorsett found out that she had gotten the part: She plays the dead flight attendant ancestor in the ensemble and is the cover for the two female leads, Morticia Addams and Alice Beineke.

The tour began in January 2013 and will run through June 2014. Dorsett says that while life on the road is taxing—she craves her dad’s sweet tea and sometimes gets tired of hotel bouncing—she is smitten with her job. She is responsible for knowing three parts of the show (her own, as well as the two leads) through and through, and must be ready to play any of them any night. “My fellow cast mates are relying on me when they are too ill to perform, so I have to take great care of myself to always be prepared in all capacities: physically, mentally, and vocally,” she says. She also noted that because the roles are so different, she is stretched as an artist, something that she appreciates. And each role has its perks. “When I play Morticia Addams, I wear 4.5-inch boots,” she says. “I’ll tell you what, my legs have never been more toned. Every day is like Crossfit meets Halloween.”

One of the things she loves most about her job is the chance to go see the world. For two months in the summer of 2013, the cast took The Addams Family to Asia, which brought a whole new perspective to the show. The show was performed in English with Cantonese subtitles on screens next to the stage. This setup created a unique dynamic—sometimes the audience laughed before the joke was finished—but Dorsett says that every night, they performed to packed houses and bowed to roaring applause. “I was reminded that I am a part of something bigger than myself, providing entertainment and a break from the world’s struggles for audiences and people everywhere,” she says. And of course, it’s also quite the honor for Dorsett to come back home to Birmingham and perform on the stage about which she used to dream (The Addams Family Tour will be coming to the BJCC Nov. 15–17.)

Dorsett says that she wants to continue in show business, hoping to eventually wind up in New York on Broadway and to continue to teach. For now, though, she couldn’t imagine anything different than city-hopping and giving the world a reason to laugh. “The best thing about being onstage is offering the audience transportation to another world away from life’s challenges,” she says. “Especially in comedies like The Addams Family, we make an audience laugh for two hours. That is an incredible feeling.”

ADDAMS-01-(Photo-by-Carol-Rosegg)

Leave a Reply