The Addams Family – Play Review


You are in for a fabulously spooky treat, in “The Addams Family”, a musical comedy based on a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, based on a group of hilariously zany characters created by Charles Addams.  This gloomy musical will keep you smiling till the very end.  Tony Kelly has masterfully directed the show, with Musical Direction by our highly talented Allison F. Rich and Assistant Musical Direction by Ryan Stohs.  Andrew Lippa has provided music and lyrics.

“Intoxicating scent of graveyard”, err, intoxicating sight of graveyard, pervades on the stage, as each of the characters is introduced; after all, “living or dead, family is family”.  Grandma’s (Donna Federico) claim to fame – when she breaks wind, “it can start the windmills on an old Dutch painting”.  And in case you wonder about Uncle Fester (D. Scott Mcquiston), “what could a fat bald person of no specific sexuality know about love”, he is in love with the moon, and is preparing for a voyage, to meet his beloved.

The wacky and the macabre gets interestingly bizarre when you meet the “fabulous mother, She of skin so pale, eyes so deep, and dress cut down to Venezuela”.  Gomez Addams (Johnny Moreno) is deeply dedicated to his family and most of all, to his unpretentious gloomy wife, and mother of Wednesday (Courtney Hatcher) and Pugsley (Zac Schuman), the edgy and evocative, Morticia Addams (Allison F. Rich).

Wednesday has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke (Jeffrey Brian Adams) and has invited him and his family dine over at the Gomez’s and the stage is set for an extraordinary encounter between the conservative Midwesterners, living far out in the country and the highly sophisticated New Yorkers.  Wednesday pleads to her family,
  They’re normal people
  Not like you
  Not like me
  Please can’t we be a normal family!
  One normal night
  That’s all I want
  That’s all I need from you

Grandma says, “define normal” and it soon becomes clear that each family has its own unique quirks and its own unique brand of mid life crisis.  Wednesday’s concerned mother tells her husband, Wednesday is growing up. Gomez: She’ll be Thursday before you know it!”  Meanwhile Lucas’s mother Alice Beineke (Elise Youssef) sings,
   When I’m depressed
   Or feeling blessed
   A poem will get it off my chest
   They come to me
   They take no time
    They just pop out
     and always rhyme

This show is an absolutely stupendous undertaking by San Jose Stage, with a big cast, long list of creative team members, as well as the band for music.  Michael Cook has done a marvellous job with scenic design and Abra Berman’s work on costume design is equally fantastic.  Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager, Margaret Kayes and Nicole S. Langley deserve special kudos.  My best compliments are for Prop Master, T J Toribio, for absolutely fantastic work with props.  For any student of props, this is a must-watch performance.

Easily, I designate The Addams Family playing at San Jose Stage (www.thestage.org) as not-to-miss show of this theater season.

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