What do you do after you’ve acted in 2 huge New York musicals: “The Addams Family” and “Shrek”?
You help middle school kids put on those same shows.
And — if you’re Adam Riegler, in Westport — that’s hardly a comedown.
Riegler’s the Staples High School junior who — while still at Saugatuck El — played young Shrek, then followed up as Pugsley (he did online schooling and tutoring in lieu of Bedford Middle).
It was a fantastic experience. But Broadway roles for teenagers are rare, so Riegler is now a normal 11th grader.
He’s known Ben Frimmer — the director of Coleytown Company — for years. Last year, when “Shrek: The Musical” became available for schools, Frimmer asked Adam to help.
The duo clicked. So this year, as Frimmer prepared for “Addams Family,” the partnership was a natural.
Riegler’s official title is “associate director.” He helps run rehearsals, and works with individual actors.
Oscar Hechter — Coleytown’s Pugsley — is a 6th grader. “That’s young!” marvels 5-years-older Riegler. “I’m helping him bring out his character. Like, his song at the end of Act I — it’s really emotional, but in a comic way. We talk about how to do that.”
“Addams Family” includes several scenes with fathers and daughters. “These kids have no experience with being old,” Riegler notes. “Mr. Frimmer and I are working on making it natural — not ‘acting.'”
The middle schoolers have heard that Riegler was on Broadway, but most of them don’t really understand how impressive that is. One boy did — and said he was glad not to have known that before his audition.
The best educations work both ways. Riegler says he is learning too: how to work with children, with actors in general, and how to be a director.
Riegler is keeping busy in other ways too. He’s going for film and TV auditions, hoping for his next big role.
This weekend though, he’ll be in the Coleytown auditorium, as proud as any parent in the house.
(Two other Staples students are working on the Coleytown show: Johnny Donovan is assistant director, while Jane Schutte is assisting with choreography. “The Addams Family” is performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday [March 27, 28 and 29, 7 p.m.], at Coleytown Middle School. For tickets and more information, click on http://www.showtix4u.com [search for “Westport”], or call 203-341-1666.)