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Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

  • 1.  Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 18 days ago
     I will be tech director for our middle school fall musical, The Addams Family Musical. For this show, we are going to need several African American and Latinx students to look "dead" or "ghostly".  I am very concerned about how to do this in a culturally appropriate manner.  Obviously "white face" will not be appropriate,  but I'm wondering about shades of grey.  I have no concerns about making hair grey or white (people of many races and cultures have grey or white hair), but faces?  Also, our Uncle Fester is African American and needs to look "Festery".  I'm doing some research and reaching out to others in my school/district, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this.

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    Holly Striska
    Theater Teacher
    Berwyn IL
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  • 2.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 18 days ago
    I think you are on the right track with grey provided you don't cover the entire face.  An ashen appearance with a slight darkened shade of the natural skin around eyes and natural undertones is probably your best option.  I would take a day to try makeup on students several ways to determine the best options. I even suggest enlisting the help of some parents to assist you so they are on board with your final decision. Their support will alleviate the potential criticism.  Give them credit in your playbill and address your concerns.  Honest information up front often eliminates problems before they arise.  Please keep us updated and if possible share pictures of how it turns out.

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    Amy MacCord
    Musical Theatre Teacher
    Hawthorne FL
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  • 3.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 17 days ago
    We blended white highlight with lighter versions of natural skin tones.  Our shadows were deep red/maroon for all ancestors.  I had 16 students of varying complexions and ethnicities and they loved it.  Fester can be handled the same way.  I agree with Amy, ashen will do the trick.

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    Joel King
    Woodstock GA
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  • 4.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 17 days ago
    Do you happen to have a picture you could share?

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    Greg Franklin
    Director of Choral Music & Theatre Arts

    Denver NC
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  • 5.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 17 days ago
    Glad to hear you're doing some research into what the real thing would look like. There's a lot of info online and in books on makeup, and this is the first thing a TV or movie makeup specialist would do.

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    George F. Ledo
    Set designer
    www.setdesignandtech.wordpress.com
    www.georgefledo.net
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  • 6.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 17 days ago
    Greys and Purple work very well for the cheekbones and the eyes.

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    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
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  • 7.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 17 days ago
    We just did AF last Spring and we had a variety of skin tones in our Ancestors.  We used a grey base for everyone that was lightly applied to allow their own skin tone to blend.  We then used Purples and dark grays for shadows.  All the wigs were Grey.  We did wig everyone

    All the best

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    Ted Curry
    Pleasant Hill CA
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  • 8.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 16 days ago
    We used light gray costumes, makeup, and wigs/spray.  We found it read under the lights better than white.  I'm happy to email you photos if you want to check them out.

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    Laura Russo
    Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts
    School District of The Chathams
    Chatham NJ
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  • 9.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 15 days ago
    I think the suggestions of using gray would be appropriate maybe with some ash powder over top. The ash powder gives a  nice "rotting corpse 'glow'" haha. I appreciate the ideas and conversation on the topic as I am thinking about this for our fall show as well.

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    James Fry
    Director of Student Life and the Malvern Theatre Society
    Malvern, PA
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  • 10.  RE: Culturally appropriate makeup for Addams Family Musical

    Posted 13 days ago
    We used Mehron Starblends in various shades for variety - they were applied wet with a kabuki brush which allowed natural gradations and variations. Each student used different colors for their blending/shadowing. Most of the students used white/Moonlight White (blueish gray) and light gray. We were nominated for best makeup in the state - so, I think it was effective. We wigged everyone - wigs were a variety of tones of whites through steely gray. We then used makeup to add colors to the wigs for variety and interest. We had students of many different ethnicities.
    Hope that helps!

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    Dorothy Pierce
    Workshop Instructor/Drama
    Edmonds Heights K-12
    Edmonds, WA
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