Let's discuss "The Addams Family," specifically the musical version currently touring around the U.S. It's probaby coming soon to a town near you. There is also a production on Broadway but it is currently starring Brooke Shields as Morticia and that is so ridiculous I can't even get into it.
- The show is fun. Some of the audience tonight gave it a standing ovation; I wouldn't go that far, but was it worth the ticket? Yes.
- The plot is not based on the TV show characters; it goes back further and pulls from the original "Addams Family" cartoons from The New Yorker, which of course no one today has ever seen. But even with that bit of structure, the plot has only one very thin thread: Wednesday, who is now a teenager, has fallen in love with a boy from Ohio and Gomez/Morticia are freaked out. And Uncle Fester falls in love with the moon, which was a sub-plot that I still don't understand?...but it was only 2 songs so it's no big deal.
- But I do think the musical works best if you have seen the TV show, or the movies, or something to put it all in context: this family lives in their own world, where death and disease are events to celebrate, and they find a romantic thrill in all moments of despair. In the musical, there is very little of that morbid humor; a few jokes pop up, but most of the dialogue could be from any musical anywhere. Why is Wednesday singing so many songs about love? When did she become so optimistic?
- Almost-absent plot aside, the reason to see this show are the characters, most notably Douglas Sills as Gomez. Every word out of his mouth is twisted to somehow be funny, and he's so energetic as he wiggles around the stage and chases Morticia, it's impossible to not have fun watching him. When actors don't have a lot to work with, they have to create laughs on their own, so he does.
-Act 1 is much more entertaining than Act 2, although it should also be said the first half is longer. The second half is weighed down by several mushy ballads, they are just boring. Then there are two dance productions featuring Morticia as the lead dancer, which could be fun; but the actress, Sara Gettelfinger, moves through all the steps about one-half beat behind the music, she is obviously not much of a dancer. But dressed up as Morticia she is so gorgeous it doesn't matter. And she can sing. This is, after all, a musical, so it's nice to hear pleasant singing.
- Like I said, there is very little dark humor; there is none of the morbid creepiness played (brilliantly!) by Christina Ricci in the films. Here, Wednesday is just a girl singing upbeat songs about love. Gomez is just singing about loving Morticia. Uncle Fester is really funny, even when he's singing about loving the moon?...again, I had no idea what was going on there. If you see the show, you'll get what I mean. But the characters spend more time singing about love than they do talking about anything creepy. So that was a let-down, but just a little
- There were a lot of families, and the kids seemed to enjoy it, but I think adults more appreciated the slapstick humor, just because adults remember how maudlin Gomez, Morticia, and Uncle Fester are supposed to be. Whatever, it's meant to be simple and it works out great, as long as there are good actors in the lead roles. If you're expecting plot, then why would you go to "The Addams Family" musical anyway?