December 9, 2009

All Together Kooky

Saturday (12/5) night we saw The Addams Family musical that's having it's out of town tryouts here in Chicago before it's Broadway transfer. When they had first announced it, I was worried that it might be another Young Frankenstein.....aka.....a disappointment. I was sure though that I wanted to see it even before the cast was announced because I like Andrew Lippa's music. Yes, he's the composer of this show.

The show opens with the premise of Wednesday coming into adulthood and falling in love with Lucas Beineke. The Addams invite the Beineke's for dinner so the two families could meet. A conservative family from Ohio meets the kooky Addams clan. Chaos ensues!

The show turned out to be really enjoyable. It's light, smart and very witty. It had a good mixture of darkness and kookiness and surprisingly a lot of laugh out loud moments. It has a stellar cast composed of Nathan Lane (Gomez), Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia), Terrence Mann (Mal Beineke), Carolee Carmelo (Alice Bieneke), Wesley Taylor (Lucas Beineke), Krysta Rodriguez (Wednesday), Adam Riegler (Pugsley), Kevin Chamberlin (Uncle Fester), Jackie Hoffman (Grandma) and Zachary James (Lurch). As always, Nathan Lane has great comic timing and good chemistry with Bebe Neuwirth. It's been such a pleasure to watch Bebe Neuwirth dance or just even move across the stage. What a great dancer she is. She has a great dance showcase in the 2nd Act in The Swordfight/Tango. Terrence Mann and Carolee Carmelo were both remarkable. Jackie Hoffman is a scene stealer with her one liners and I'm not sure if they were her ad libs which she's known for or were really part of the script. I have to say though that the whole cast were great and perfectly casted. And everyone was in great voice. I feel that it's more an ensemble piece than a showcase for the leads.

In terms of the story arc, well it does have some heart specially that moment with Gomez and Wednesday where Gomez comes to terms that his daughter has grown up. It was touching. I do think there were some parts where I felt the show slowed down particularly with the "relationship conflict" of the Beineke's.

The music and lyrics written by Andrew Lippa were fun with tinges of Spanish and Latin rhythm influences. They have a great opening number in Clandango. It just sets up the mood of the show. I also did cherish Crazier Than You, a number between Lucas and Wednesday.

The set design was impressive with the house breaking apart and coming together. Plus the tree and Manhattan Skyline scene was done in great detail. It's like you opened a story book. I also have to mention that I did like the use of the red curtain to partition the stage (for lack of a better term) so the audience focuses on a certain part of the stage at a particular scene.

I really enjoyed the production. I hope Chicago and NYC audience will find it enjoyable too.

Some photos I took that night:

The marquee

The Stage Door in the alley behind the Ford Center of Performing Arts

Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) was EXTREMELY nice and down to earth. She chatted with people and made sure she talked to everyone and signed their playbills before she got into her waiting car.

Krysta Rodriguez (Wednesday)

Kevin Chamberlin (Uncle Fester)

Wesley Taylor (Lucas Beineke)
Terrence Mann (Mal Beineke) who was very gracious

A blurry photo (my camera acted up!) of a very amiable Andrew Lippa (Composer).

Finally I was able to get Andrew Lippa to sign my playbill of his show, The Wild Party. He's the last piece of the puzzle. The other signatures are from Julia Murney (Queenie) and Brian D'Arcy James (Burrs)


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