Review by John Woll of “The Addams Family”: Covedale Theatre
They’re crazy and kooky, all right, and taking up residence just in time for Halloween at The Covedale Theater.
“The Addams Family” was originally conceived by legendary American cartoonist Charles Addams for ‘The New Yorker’ magazine in 1938. You may remember this wacky family from the popular mid-sixties TV series, feature films and multiple spinoffs including the newest 3D animated film currently in movie theaters.
In 2009, a collaboration
between Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (co-authors of JERSEY BOYS) and composer Andrew
Lippa (BIG FISH, THE WILD PARTY) resurrected them in a
musical comedy entitled (of course) THE ADDAMS FAMILY. This may seem odd,
considering that the Addams are a dark, morbid, goth family who you would think
would despise things like music, but it actually works really well.
The stage is set with the introduction of the macabre and satirical seven-member household at their Mansion in Central Park. Audiences love these characters and once they recognized the theme song in the overture, the whole house started snapping along! We learn of the Addams moniker in the catchy opening number ‘When You’re an Addams’.
Leading “with the sword
as well as the heart” is the suave patriarch Mr. Gomez (played with style by
the perfectly accented Jeremiah Plessinger). Mother Morticia (Keri Baggs) adds
a slinky, seductive and powerfully unassuming dead-pan. Uncle Fester (Kyle
Taylor) charges the stage with powerhouse vocals and scene stealing hilarity,
while Grandma (Renee Maria) boastfully and maniacally refills her potions and
Lurch (Peter Cutler) adds a perplexing and foreboding presence as the giant,
monosyllabic butler. Pugsley (Isaiah Current) excels as the precocious
masochist little brother and Wednesday (Annie Schneider) is the ultimate
princess of darkness, torturing her brother and shaking up the entire family
all while belting out her emotions all the way to the back row of the theater.
There is even a surprise brief visit from cousin IT!
THE ADDAMS FAMILY– The Musical, is a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, featuring an original story which is every father’s nightmare: Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. This is just enough to shake up the status quo, unnerve the parents, and bring the ghouls out of the mansion basement.
Hendershot has a breakthrough performance as Alice, a down-trodden poetry
loving wife who proves to have hidden depths.
The shows stationary set by Brett Bowling is a beautifully creepy background that works very well. The lighting design of Denny Reed adds the proper ambiance to set the story and the costumes by Caren Brady are particularly successful for the Addams, The midwestern Bieneke family and the Greek Chorus of Ancestors. The choreography by Jenni Bayer covers many genres and adds just enough flash and flair, including a magnificent smoldering tango between Gomez and Morticia.
The show supplies lots of
laughs through song and dance for the macabre troupe, along with a plotline for
lovable ghouls. It is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the Halloween
Productions presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY at The Covedale Theater running through November 10th.