Charles Addams was a cartoonist for the New Yorker. He had a special love for the macabre, and a few of his cartoons about an odd family were everyone’s favorites.
In the 1960s these cartoons were brought to TV as “The Addams Family.” A generation later, two highly successful movies revived Gomez, Morticia, Fester, and the rest. There was a second TV show, then a stage musical.
Now, the Addams Family (snap, snap) have really hit it big: They’ve brought their act to Dunwoody High School, and they’ve never been creepier, kookier, more mysterious or more—well, “ookie.” (Is that theme song lodged in your head yet?)
In every way, the DHS production brings the family to life—or whatever is the Addamses are brought to. The musical opens with the ensemble piece “When You’re an Addams” as the family gathers in the family graveyard for a reunion of all family members – alive, dead and undecided. The audience is introduced to the entire clan.
But when it is time for the dead ancestors to return to their graves, Uncle Fester has stayed behind and locked the crypt, trapping the spirits in the present so they can help Wednesday – she’s fallen in love with a normal boy, Lucas Beineke. Can these two opposites find true love? Better yet, can their families meet without being horrified by each other?
Paris Ruiz was terrific as Gomez caught between his desire to see his daughter happy while being forced to keep a secret from his wife. Gomez sings several witty songs, but Ruiz’s triumph in this production was his sensitive performance of “Happy/Sad.” Kara Christopher is delicious as Morticia, channeling Carolyn Jones with her every move. The chemistry between Ruiz and Christopher made their scenes together delightful, especially the “Tango de Amore” in the second act. And Morticia also has several opportunities to shine through her songs, which Christopher did, especially in “Just Around the Corner.”
Nina Stecker was fantastic as a deadpan Wednesday Addams. Wednesday laments her situation in the show-stopping “Pulled” in Act One, expertly sung by Stecker. Her love interest (Lucas) is played by Kevin Morrison. Morrison and Stecker have a fun duet, “Crazier Than You” in Act Two. And Lucas seemingly normal parents, played by Zack Humphries (Mal) and Chloe Kahn (Alice), have their own delightful duet in the second half of “Crazier Than You.” In addition, Kahn went all out on her solo, “Waiting.”
Uncle Fester is as macabre as ever, and John Spalding’s portrayal of Fester was sheer perfection. Alexander Torjak was delightful as the mischievous Pugsley. Sarah London was hilarious as the feisty Grandma. Patrick Clinch was absolutely hilarious as Lurch, surprising everyone at the end of the second act – the theatre actually became hushed as we listened to Lurch break into song. Rounding out the Addams Family were Hannah Goldberg as Cousin Itt and Emma Tallant as Tassle.
The ensemble of Dead Addams Ancestors was comprised of Hannah Bowman, Sydnee Cohen, Alyssa Davenport, Anna Jarrell, Haley Jones, Maya Lavender, Emma McClure, Katie Miller, Monica Schwartz, Tyler Sheridan, Reid Spencer, Lily Szczesniak, Zoë Szczesniak, Emma Tallant, Ann Tuch, Manas Vermaraju and Anna Wilkinson.
“The Addams Family” was directed by David Gay with musical direction by Mark Lamback. Other members of the production staff included Erin Lowenstein (Stage Manager), Yasmine Fox-Quinlan (Assistant Stage Manager), Sabrina Rehklau (Set Design and Technical Director), Kathi Lumpkin (Costumes), Mallory Kalajian (Choreography), Jaimee Reynolds (Lighting Operator), Ben Spells (Sound), Rachel Worsnop (Graphic Artist), Rachel Greenwald and Erin Greenstein (Make-up).
Members of the Stage Crew included Carrington Campbell, Galya Fischer, Sarah Gagnier, Erin Greenstein, Haley Jones, Erin Lowenstein, Jacob Rogers, Duncan Strott, Rachel Worsnop and members of the cast.
Under the baton of Philip Barnard were the following orchestra members. Drew Yates and Lauren Parker (flute), Laura Koval and Krysta Howard (clarinet), Andrew Sonnier and Yotam Kanny (saxophone), Yvonne Miller and Sam Howard (trumpet), Elijah Morey (trombone), Joy Hsieh and Christine Chang (violin), Shaheen Pirani (cello), Casey Ratonyi (guitar), Zachary Hammen (bass), Reed Ratonyi and Jaeden Ariola (percussion, and Mark Lamback (piano).
Congratulations to all involved in the delightful production of the musical comedy, “The Addams Family.”