The Addams Family (Ages 8 and older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m.,
Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $28 – $70
Cartoonist Charles Addams might be rolling in his grave, but if he is, it’s from sheer ghoulish giddiness about how spectacular his infamous kooky characters play on stage in The Addams Family musical. The show found Broadway success in 2010 and recently launched its first national tour, playing this week in TPAC’s Jackson Hall.
Admittedly, I was skeptical before seeing the show, not expecting much given the lousy track record of most nostalgia shows based on pop culture TV lore (ie, Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie). But the brilliance of The Addams Family musical comedy is that at its core exists an original script instead of one based on the TV show from the 1960s. Instead, writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (who also authored Jersey Boys) took their inspiration from Addams’ cartoons which launched him to fame via The New Yorker beginning in 1938.
The story, which has a running theme throughout about what “normal” is, finds a grown up 18-year-old Wednesday (deftly played by Cortney Wolfson) in love and betrothed to the “normal,” respectable boy, Lucas Beineke (Brian Justin Crum), much to the chagrin of both families. Hilarity ensues when the Beinekes arrive to the Addams’ home for dinner, thanks to both a cleverly penned script and the extreme talent of the cast all the way around.
Douglas Sills stars as the darkly dapper Gomez Addams and delivers his character with much aplomb. This skilled Broadway-blessed actor possesses impeccable comedic timing and thrives during musical numbers. Likewise, Sara Gettelfinger shines in her portrayal of the sensually sinister Morticia Addams.
Blake Hammond commands much appropriate, side-splitting laughs as oddball Uncle Fester, and young Patrick D. Kennedy is tremendous as Pugsley, who wows the audience during his solo number, “What If.”
Tom Corbeil is the perfect Lurch, executing his character’s eerie quirks in succinct unison with outbreaks of humorous happenstance. But it’s Victoria Huston-Elem who stops the show as Lucas’ mother, Alice Beineke. Huston-Elem, who’s the understudy for the role, got to fill in on opening night and nearly blew the house down with her amazing vocals during her signature song, “Waiting.”
A tight ensemble cast fills the stage during many segments as deceased Addams family members who’ve been called from their graves. Together with the leads, the entire cast seamlessly performs the show’s incredible score (written by Andrew Lippa) and Sergio Trujillo’s imaginative, top-notch choreography.
The amazing set and lighting are out of this world, and the incorporation of the stage curtain into the actual scenic design is brilliant.
The Addams Family is a fun, family-friendly show that will leave you wanting more of the wonderfully inverted imagination of Charles Addams.