Cue the memorable theme song: Da-da-da-dum (snap snap), Da-da-da-dum (snap snap) Da-da-da-dum (snap snap), Da-da-da-dum, Da-da-da-dum , (snap snap)…creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky…
This season’s production of the beloved first family of the macabre The Addams Family – A New Musical has officially arrived to the rave of South Florida audiences on this opening night. Though it may not be Halloween just yet the Addams are sure to charm, spook, sing and dance their way into our hearts once again.
The storyline for the production is not only clever but also ties in wonderfully to the modern day family experience. Wednesday (played by Jennifer Fogarty) falls in love with a “normal, respectable and conservative” Ohio boy, Lucas Beineke (Bryan Welnicki). A trip to the altar may be in their sights but only if they receive the blessings from both families. There is another catch however. Wednesday asks papa Gomez, wonderfully played by Jesse Sharp to keep a secret and not tell mother Morticia, played by KeLeen Snowgren. Hence Gomez’s ultimate dilemma; he’s never kept a secret from his wife – EVER! Fogarty’s voice is nothing short of amazing as she showcases her range throughout the show. Snowgren may have a softer tone as Morticia yet she still resonates with power and vigor during her solo JUST AROUND THE CORNER and camps it up with Gomez on LET’S LIVE BEFORE WE DIE.
There’s more going on here than meets the eye as Gomez sees all the possible ramifications of a ‘little white lie’. Pugsley, Wednesday’s little brother (Jeremy Todd Shinder) has plans of his own to break up the happy couple in order to get Wednesday to continue torturing him the way she always has. Ask me again why I’m glad I was an only child. Stretching him on a rack seems to be a favorite of the young lad. His solo WHAT IF adds a bit of mischievous fun and another level of hilarity to the story. Let’s face it this isn’t the family from “Leave It to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best.”
The script is a fun romp that doesn’t take itself seriously. There are a few inside jokes that the adults in the audience will certainly relish in. Sharp, as the ever dapper Latin Mr. Gomez Addams is fun, coy and devilishly well dressed as he tries to maintain his commanding presence as head of the household. He is a scene stealer especially during the jousting scene with Lurch whose omnipresent hovering in scenes is funny all by itself (Dan Olson); grunts not withstanding. Snowgren is mesmerizing as the “unhappy” Morticia and wears the ‘essential black and purple dress’ like it’s no ones business. She dances, sings, and puts the final screws to Gomez once ‘the secret’ is let out of the bag.
Rounding out the main cast is Shaun Rice as Uncle Fester. He has a bit of a dual role. Not only as a pseudo narrator of the story but his comic relief is right on target and moves the show along with ease and a whimsical chuckle. Fester as we come to find out is ‘in love’ with the moon. His touching solo in the second act, THE MOON AND ME is a highlight you will not forget for a few different reasons. The cow may have jumped over the moon but Elsie has nothing on Uncle Fester and his enchanting rhapsody. Amanda Bruton as Grandma is feisty and full of sharp one liners and wit. We certainly can’t forget Cousin IT. I really don’t know what to say about IT or what IT is, accept as a fur ball, IT’s pretty cool. Mark Poppleton as Mal Beineke is so boorish and upper crust that you can’t help but laugh. Blair Anderson as Alice Beineke may appear to be just like her husband at the opening of the show. But we soon learn at the family dinner she has as more than just a couple of skeletons in her closet and a rather raunchy side; which of course delights the Addams. A game titled “Full Disclosure,” can do that to a person. Picture playing “Truth or Dare,” without the ‘dare’ and add a chalice that everyone must drink from and divulge a dark secret. Not only am I glad I’m an only child but also that I don’t drink. Try this game next Thanksgiving with your family around the dinner table. Let me know how that works for you.
Additional cast members billed as “The Addams Ancestors.” (James Michael Avance, Chloe O. Davis, Jake Delaney, Aaron Fried, Lexie Dorsett, Julia Lancione, Elizabeth Hake, Katie Mebane, Galloway Stevens, and Julio Cantano Yee) are amazing in their ghostly costumes and pale white make-up. They did just rise from their graves after all. Dancing zombies are no match for our ‘undead’ family members. They are living or un-living proof the dead can bust a move too. Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch with set adaptations by James Kronzer did an excellent job in re-creating the Addams famous residence with their production designs which include the sets and costumes.
Under the direction of Jerry Zaks, the musical numbers are engaging and fun. The choreography by Sergio Trujillo is great and Gomez and Morticia’s TANGO DE AMORE is romantic which I’m sure is hard to pull off; especially since they’re performing the dance of love in a graveyard with ghostly relatives. Well, this is the Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy not Macbeth. So bring the entire family. You are certain to have a creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky Da-da-da-dum (snap snap) good time.