In 2009, “The Addams Family” premiered in Chicago before its Broadway debut. The characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams had already been immortalized in a television show and multiple movies. So, it was prime time for the bizarre family to hit the stage as a musical. Chicago was there for the birth and had plenty to say about how to prepare it for the streets of New York. (my 2009 review). Two years later, the musical has returned to its city of origin.
Broadway in Chicago presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY the Broadway Musical. Wednesday Addams is secretly engaged to an Ohioan. Because Lucas Beineke is just a normal, average guy, Wednesday knows he’s not eccentric enough for her family of misfits. She conspires to keep their pending nuptials from her mother’s scrutiny. And Wednesday enlists her reluctant father to keep her secret. When the Addams sit down to dinner with the Beinekes, it’s a clash of family values. For a one week limited engagement, THE ADDAMS FAMILY is only home for the holidays!
This fixed version is focused, faster, and funnier! Some of the premiering razzle-dazzle has been stripped away. Formers headliners Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane added to the 2009 allure with their legendary celebrity status. It was red-carpet-glam! Their lesser-known replacements, Sara Gettelfinger (Morticia) and Douglas Sills (Gomez) may be better suited for the roles but some of the mystique is lost. Still, Gettelfinger and Sills are talented performers. A deadpan Gettelfinger deliciously zings, sings and dances with hilariously controlled passion. A playful Sills is her perfect match. He charms in loving enthusiasm for wife and daughter. His chemistry with Gettelfinger leads to tango-tastic moments! Although the entire quirky ensemble deliver laughs aplenty, Blake Hammond (Fester) stands out as an amusing narrator with a moon fetish. His delivery is a delightful balance of weird and funny! In the 2009 premiere, this subplot added confusion to the convolution. In this version, it works as a twisted love story. Fester’s obsession reinforces the peculiarity of the Addams.
This current THE ADDAMS FAMILY is a tight and condensed adaption. It’s back to the basics: love. The play has solidified down into four love stories: Morticia and Gomez, Wednesday and Lucas, the Beinekes, Fester and the moon. This streamlined plot is much easier to follow. But along with the efficiency of this production, some of the abnormality is missing for over-the-top weirdness. The creepy and spooky is dimmed down with more basic scenery. (I miss the moving staircases.) The luscious draped pageantry is there in the ghostly past. The chorus is comprised of the Addams’ ancestors. They add a layer of haunting pizzazz to the big dance numbers. Not at all ooky, the movements are amusingly entertaining. So maybe this family isn’t that mysterious and kooky, THE ADDAMS FAMILY is still 'neat, sweet, petite'!
Running Time: Two hours and twenty minutes includes an intermission.
Based on cartoon characters created by Charles Addams
At Cadillac Palace, 151 W. Randolph
Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Directed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch
December 28th, 31st and January 1st at 2pm
December 28th, 29th, 30th at 7:30pm
December 31st at 8pm