I never watched “The Addams Family” TV show. I was a “The Munsters” guy. I did like its finger-snapping theme song. I don’t know why I never watched the show — probably because I was young and didn’t have control over the television.
I did see the movies and liked them well enough, so I was interested in seeing the musical version, which opened this week at the Fox Theatre.
For the Addams impaired, The Addams Family was created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The Addams — father Gomez (Douglas Sills), mother Morticia (Sara Gettelfinger), Uncle Fester (Blake Hammond), Grandma (Pippa Pearthree), daughter Wednesday (Cortney Wolfson), son Pugsley (Patrick D. Kennedy) and giant, zombie butler Lurch (Tom Corbeil) — are a very goth clan. They hate bright colors and love torture. They shun sunshine and flowers. They live in a large, freaky mansion in Central Park.
In short — they’re creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky.
The musical, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, has a familiar sitcom plot. Wednesday has fallen in love and plans to marry Lucas Beineke (Brian Justin Crum). She shares this information with her father but makes him promise not to tell her mother. This is a problem for Gomez as he keeps no secrets from Morticia.
Wednesday talks the family into hosting a dinner party with the Beinekes — Lucas, father Mal (Martin Vidnovic) and mother Alice (Crista Moore). The Beinekes are normal folk from the heartland, so Wednesday must convince her clan to put aside their eccentric ways for the evening.
I didn’t have high expectations for “The Addams Family” and was pleasantly surprised by the show. It’s a lighthearted, fun romp that should please most fans of the various prior versions of the cartoon characters.
The first act is especially strong but it does tend to drag at times in act two. The problem there is that the plot is too thin to hang a 2.5-hour show on and they rush through most of it in the first act, leaving little to do in the second half but get the three estranged couples back together– in song. And while I was interested in Gomez and Morticia, I was less interested in the kids and not at all interested in the Beinekes.
The songs, while not particularly memorable, were mostly clever and fun. Andrew Lippa’s lyrics are witty and make good use of the macabre nature of the Addams clan. The actors delivered strong vocals.
Speaking of the on-stage talent, everyone was fine but the performers that really elevated the show were Sills, Gettelfinger and Hammond. Sills brought all the energy and enthusiasm you’d expect of Gomez Addams while Gettelfinger was equally effective in the more sedate role of Morticia. Hammond steals the show from both of them when he’s on stage as the wacky Uncle Fester.
The set design was well done, especially the way the curtain took on a role of its own. Overall, “The Addams Family” is creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, altogether ooky and an entertaining time at the theater.
The Addams Family runs through Oct. 9. For more information visit http://www.fabulousfox.com