Friday, October 20, 2017

“The Addams Family”: An unusual musical about life and love by Elizabeth Richards

"The Addams Family” isn’t your typical musical, but anyone familiar with the characters and television show it’s based on wouldn’t expect it to be. The themes explored are universal - family relationships, misunderstandings, reluctance to accept change and the conflicting feelings that arise as children grow and develop into their own people - especially when who they become departs from what is expected. The cast of odd characters highlights the emotions that arise from these themes in an amusing - and sometimes twisted way.
The Addams are not a “normal” family. They embrace darkness, misery, torture and death in a way unlike most - and that’s a lot for a wide-eyed family from Ohio to process when they arrive for dinner. Love itself is an odd concept for Wednesday Addams to process, and she, along with most of her family, has a hard time with the idea. Uncle Fester, however, embraces the idea of love and works with a large cast of dead ancestors to keep the two young people together. you might imagine, there’s plenty of room for misunderstanding, deception, frustration and upset, which plays out in a series of scenes featuring members of the bewildered Beineke family, the Addams family and the young lovers. 

At the Sunday matinee on October 15, a large crowd gathered at Windham Center Stage Theater to support the community production. While the first act felt a bit disjointed, and the musical accompaniment often overpowered the performers’ voices, the second act brought everything back into focus. The band was quieter after intermission making the story much easier to follow. The action really picks up in the second act, and scenes move quickly toward the final resolution. 

Although only ten of the thirty roles were speaking parts - the ensemble of dead ancestors added a lively element to the show, and the full company numbers were engaging and entertaining. The amazing costumes highlight each ancestor’s unique personality, and the movements and expression of these cast members added interest and diversity to the show. show is peppered with hilarious one-liners that sometimes take a moment or two to catch, particularly with the intentionally unexpressive tone the Addams family favors. The cast did a great job conveying the personalities and conflicting emotions of each character. 

A few members of the cast stood out. Rob Hatch as Uncle Fester brought great energy to the stage, a beacon of light in gloomy surroundings. Ali Gordon as Grandma added a great touch of humor to her scenes. John Ulmer as Pugsley convincingly conveyed the sense of jealousy and loss that comes from the prospect of a sibling leaving. And Ed Haibon as Lurch, though mainly silent, filled the stage with his presence.

This show is about family, and though the Addams and the Beinekes couldn’t be more different, both families face the same challenge - accepting the changes and transitions of life as children grow up - and adults grow apart. Each family has underlying issues that come to light, pushing the young couple apart in the process. Will love prevail? You’ll have to attend a show next weekend to see for yourself!

Upcoming performances of “The Addams Family” are on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door.

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