ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jesse Sharp is on a mission. The actor was dealt the task of bringing to life an iconic character – Gomez Addams.
Movies have been made starring Raul Julia as the patriarch. Of course, there is the TV show where John Astin made Gomez a household name.
Yet, Sharp wanted to bring something different to this role.
“I watched the movies and the TV shows to get ideas. I even went back to the original cartoon strips to pull some inspiration,” he says during a recent interview from Anchorage, Alaska. “Gomez is a funny and passionate man. It has given me a great opportunity to expand on my skills as an actor.”
Sharp is part of “The Addams Family” national tour put on by Phoenix Entertainment.
“The Addams Family” opened on Broadway in April 2010 and featured Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. The Broadway production closed in June of that year. In September 2011 the North American touring production began.
The plot is an original story and every father’s nightmare – Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. One that her parents have never met.
And if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell Morticia. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife.
Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
“I’m terrible at keeping secrets,” Sharp quips. “That’s one thing Gomez and I don’t have in common. I would have blurted it out right away.”
Sharp, who has been on tour for more than a year, says the most difficult thing about the show is making sure it goes off without a hitch.
“We do so many shows per year,” he says. “You have to remember to keep it fresh and not go on autopilot. Many of the people seeing the show are doing so for the first time. Each time I head out there, I have to give it my all.”
And it comes with a price. Sharp is one of the few characters that is on stage for the majority of the performance. He says before a show, he tries to keep his mind on anything else.
“For the entire performance, I am Gomez,” he says. “Before the show, I will listen to music or read, basically absolutely nothing to do with the show. Then it’s off to make up which takes very little time.”
Sharp grew up in the Los Angeles area and knew from a young age that he wanted to be a filmmaker, writer or in the theater.
After graduating from college with a degree in theater, Sharp wanted to get a master’s degree in it.
“I was working as a professional actor for a while and wanted to go into the industry a little deeper,” he says. “When I’m not doing this show, I teach voice and speech to actors. My fiancee and I both teach when we’re not on the road and it’s a good handle to have in this business.”
After playing Gomez Addams for more than 300 shows, Sharp has learned more about the character than most would ever know.
“I get to be in his shoes for a couple hours a day,” he says. “Gomez is an optimist even at the worst times. He loves all things and jumps into life. This is something I share with him.”