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Charles Addams’ Bizarre But Beloved “Addams Family” Characters Satirize American Family Values

"The Addams Family" cast includes (from left) Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley, Pippa Pearthree as Grandma, Sara Gettelfinger as Morticia, Douglas Sills as Gomez, Tom Corbeil as Lurch, Cortney Wolfson as Wednesday, and Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester (all photos by Jeremy Daniel)

"The Addams Family" cast includes (from left) Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley, Pippa Pearthree as Grandma, Sara Gettelfinger as Morticia, Douglas Sills as Gomez, Tom Corbeil as Lurch, Cortney Wolfson as Wednesday, and Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester (all photos by Jeremy Daniel)

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present the national tour of the new musical adaptation of The Addams Family on Feb. 28-March 4 as part of its SunTrust Broadway Series. The new Broadway musical features music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, based on the quirky characters created by Westfield, NJ-born cartoonist Charles Addams (1912-88), whose bizarre but beloved comic creations savagely satirized American family values in the pages of The New Yorker from 1938 until Addams’ death in September 1988, at age 76.

The Addams Family musical made its Broadway debut, directed and designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, on April 8, 2010 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it played for 722 performances before closing on Dec. 31, 2011. The show earned two 2010 Tony Award® nominations — for Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Andrew Lippa) and for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester) — and won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set (production design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch and puppet design by Basil Twist).

According to the Durham Performing Arts Center:

“… Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune described the [original Broadway] production [of The Addams Family] as ‘classic, full-tilt, fast paced, old-fashioned musical comedy!’; and John Simon of Bloomberg News called it ‘uproarious! A glitzy-gloomy musical entirely worthy of the macabre drawings by Charles Addams.’ …

The Addams Family features an original story and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams [played by Cortney Wolfson], the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family [Justin Crum as Lucas Beineke]. A man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father [Tony Award nominee Douglas Sills as Gomez Addams], and begs him not to tell her mother.

“Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia [Sara Gettelfinger]. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents [Tony nominees Martin Vidnovic and Crista Moore as straight-arrow Midwesterners Mal and Alice Beineke].” (Note: Former Raleigh, NC actor Terrence Mann created the role of Mal Beineke in the original Broadway production.)

Other principal cast members in the current national tour include Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester, Pippa Pearthree as Grandma, Tom Corbeil as Lurch, and Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley. The Ancestors include (in alphabetical order): Ted Ely, Karla Garcia, Steve Geary, Victoria Huston-Elem, Patrick Oliver Jones, Lizzie Klemperer, Alexandra Matteo, Christy Morton, Brad Nacht, Rebecca Riker, Jonathan Ritter, Roland Rusinek, Geo Seery, Samantha Shafer and Jason Eric Testa.

Douglas Sills as Gomez and Sara Gettelfinger as Morticia dance the night away

Douglas Sills as Gomez and Sara Gettelfinger as Morticia dance the night away

Also according to the Durham Performing Arts Center:

“In a prolific career spanning six decades, Charles Addams created several thousand cartoons, sketches, and drawings, many of which were published in The New Yorker. But it was his creation of characters that came to be known as ‘The Addams Family’ that brought Addams his greatest acclaim.

“With a unique style that combined the twisted, macabre, and just plain weird with charm, wit, and enchantment, Addams’ drawings have entertained millions worldwide and served as the inspiration for multiple television series and motion pictures….

“… The [current touring] production [of The Addams Family] is directed and designed (sets and costumes) by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, with production supervision by Jerry Zaks and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. The production features lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, and puppetry by Basil Twist….

“The production also features music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, music direction by Valerie Gebert, orchestrations by Larry Hochman, dance arrangements by August Eriksmoen, hair design by Tom Watson, make-up design by Angelina Avallone, and special effects design by Greg Meeh….

The cast of "The Addams Family" bask under a surprisingly familiar looking full moon

The cast of "The Addams Family" bask under a surprisingly familiar looking full moon

“The Addams Family tour is produced by Stuart Oken, Roy Furman, Michael Leavitt, Five Cent Productions, Stuart Ditsky/AdamDitsky, Stephen and Mary Jo Schuler, Eva Price, James L. Nederlander, Stephanie P. McClelland, Pittsburgh CLO/Gutterman/Deitch, Vivek Tiwary/Jamie deRoy/Carl Mollenberg, and Mary Lu Roffe, by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical. International productions have been announced for Brazil (March 2012) and Australia (March 2013), with others to be announced shortly.”

SECOND OPINION: Feb. 24th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/17629118/article-It’s-a-snap–snap? (Note: You must register first to read this article).

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28-March 1, 8 p.m. March 2, 2 and 8 p.m. March 3, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 4 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $42.50-$79.75 (including fees), except $11 Student Rush Tickets with current student ID.

BOX OFFICE:

DPAC Box Office: 919-680-2787, tickets@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.

Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787, TDD: 800-943-4327, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1551102/.

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services/broadway_group_pricing. SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/the_addams_family.

VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DEo88DhE4Q&feature=youtu.be.

SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/suntrust_broadway_series.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/. DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/getting_here.

PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/parking_guide.

NOTE: Student Rush Tickets are $11 with current student ID. For details, click http://www.dpacnc.com/events/special_offers.

OTHER LINKS:

The Addams Family (musical): http://www.theaddamsfamilymusical.com/ (official Broadway website), http://www.theaddamsfamilymusicaltour.com/ (the official tour website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family_(musical) (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=484631 (Internet Broadway Database).

“The Addams Family” (television show): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family_(TV_series) (Wikipedia) and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057729/ (Internet Movie Database).

The Addams Family (cartoons): http://www.charlesaddams.com/ (Tee & Charles Addams Foundation) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family (Wikipedia).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

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