The preview/tryout for the Addams Family just ended its roughly 3 month run two weeks ago. I had the opportunity of seeing this new play a few times, starting the third time it was performed publically and ending on the closing night.
Wednesday turns 18 and as an adult member of the family she is to abide to the rituals and rules of the clan. Well, not so much, she has a boyfriend that she has been trying to hide from her parents, because he is "normal". So of course the Addams, ever the perfect hosts, invite them over for dinner. The Bienecke's arrive and they are normal, well as normal as things are in the Addams Family universe, but the Missus' outfit reminded me of bird poo and has made me develop a sudden dislike of anything golden yellow. Morticia begins to dubt herself as a seductive woman, now that Wednesday is in the spotlight. They have dinner and play The Game, in which the adults reveal their deepest secrets and Mrs. Bienecke, with some pharmacological help courtesy of Grandma's potions (an acident, since she was not the intended reciepient) gives way to a dark, dark, dark song that creeped out everyone, even Gomez. The B's try to leave but a sudden (and convenient) storm ensues and they are stuck at the mansion overnight. Morticia and Mrs. B bond while the guys discuss life and squids, giving way to the funniest, if not most ridiculous (and I mean mean ridiculous with the utmost respect) song of the show.
Gomez and Morticia are played by Nathan Lane and Bebe Newirth respectively. I alsmost wrecked my truck when I heard the the announcement on Sirius last year. The are both extremeley talented actors with a gazillion years on the stage under their belts and I had never had the honor of seeing them perform live. I love Bebe as Morticia, got to see her understudy once (Rachel de Benedet and she was fantastic also), Nathan was overdoing it at first, his accent was like the love child of Antonio Banderas and Arnold, the Governator! But he was much better on later performances. Terrence Mann plays Mr. Bienecke, seems a bit restrained at times (his character as a whole is a bit bland, compared to everyone else) but when he sings his solo at the end......... I remember why I love this man's voice so very much. Jackie Hoffman steals the show as Grandma! On later shows she was ad-libing during her monologue and on New Years Eve she made a joke about Dick Clark and dropping balls that made everyone (including the other actors!) crack up laughing for a few minutes, effectively stopping the show. She is being way underutilized on this show, there, I said it. Krysta Rodriguez is effective as Wednesday. She has a very funny song about how freaked out she is about feeling normal that the kids loved. Kevin Chamberlain is adorable as Uncle Fester. Adam Riegler playing Pugsley, has improved a ton since the first show (but I cut him some slack since he is a kid), seeming much more at ease with his character and his interactions with the rest of the cast. Wesley Taylor plays Wednesday's boyfriend, Lucas. He was one of the characters that I was worried about at first, his lines made him seem lost among everyone else but that has improved.. Lurch, played by Zachary James, having only one song and real lines at the end of the show, is a total waste of that beautiful baritone voice he has.
The play has good potential of succeeding ........... it just needs a bit of tweaking before hitting Broadway in March...
I give 3.5/5
"This is Peyote, one swig of this and before you know you are locked up at Bellevue screaming
I AM SPARTACUS!!!!"-Grandma