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Avon Student Takes Stage in 'The Addams Family'

Avon Student Takes Stage in 'The Addams Family'

In real life, Eli Neal is anything but creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, or ooky. But once the lights go down and he takes the stage as Pugsley Addams, he inhabits the part — and brings down the house.

This Avon Middle School North student earned a title role in the production of The Addams Family, which runs from October 6 through November 20 at Beef & Boards [tickets]. 

An accomplished actor, Eli isn't letting his demanding theatrical gig keep him from giving his all to his academic and extracurricular commitments at school. "Eli is a terrific student at North and has a fantastic personality," said AMS North Principal Matt Hines. "I look forward to hearing how the production goes for Eli. A great opportunity for a great kid!"

We didn't want to wait until the show had wrapped to talk with Eli, so we corresponded during fall break.

What got you interested in acting? 

I started acting through the Biz Theatrical Productions in Avon. I took a few theater and acting classes there and I really enjoyed the friendly and fun environment. My first show was Bye Bye Birdie at the Biz and that's when I fell in love with theater. Since then, I have performed in 17 shows with six theatre groups across Indiana including AMS North.

What's it been like to play Pugsley?

This role has really been a fantastic experience. Pugsley is a mischievous character and I enjoy bringing out his emotions and devotion to his family. I love The Addams Family and playing Pugsley has been so much fun. I have learned so many things from these actors and directors. I love everyone I have performed with.

What are your future theater plans/goals?

I think theatre will always be a part of my life. It is a great opportunity to meet different people and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I'm looking forward to auditioning for productions all around our community.

When you're not acting, what other activities do you enjoy?

I am a candidate for Eagle Scout with Troop 392 in Avon. I am my scout troop's senior patrol leader and I love leading my troop to help our community. I am also the president of the AMS North chapter of National Junior Honor Society. While I'm not doing those things, I enjoy golfing, swimming, and writing with my friends.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know? 

I have been fortunate to be supported by so many people who work in the fine arts in the Avon School Corporation and community: Mr. Jones, Ms. Brown, Mr. Emtiaz, Mr. Zimmerman, Mrs. Gregory, Jeff and Alex Van Paris, Eddie Curry, Allison Williamson, and Emily Ristine Holloway.

We're so excited that Eli has this opportunity to shine under the bright lights on one of the biggest stages in Central Indiana. While you have the chance, you really ought to see 'em; he really is a scream!

Break a leg, Eli!