Home Hair style THE ADDAMS FAMILY 5-Star Theatricals at Kavli Theater

THE ADDAMS FAMILY 5-Star Theatricals at Kavli Theater

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Halloween is upon us again and with that, you can expect another visit from the spooky, goofy, and ooky Addams Clan, in the 2010 Broadway musical The Addams Family. 5-Star Theatricals uses an evenly outstanding cast, with headlining Teri Hatcherand a stellar full orchestra in his terrific audience-pleasing production, featuring Andre Lippahis exceptional score and Marshal Brickman and rick eliceThe fast-paced, pun-filled dialog.

The musical was supposed to be based solely on the cartoonist Charles Addams‘ macabre drawings on a single panel the new yorker magazine rather than its more familiar offspring, the ubiquitous 1964-66 TV sitcom and movie franchise (from 1991), however, homages to the TV show seem to dominate (the original New Yorker the designs did not name any of the recurring characters), the most recognizable, Vic Mizythe four-note snapping riff in the sitcom’s theme song. Lippa wrote a new Addamsian melody to follow the riff, which is one of a handful of familiar elements from the TV show inserted into the musical. Others include token appearances by Thing and Cousin Itt (as curtain pullers) and gimmicks like Morticia carving flowers out of thorny rose stems and Uncle Fester lighting up light bulbs in his mouth.

The 5-star production allows for the insertion of contemporary cultural and localized references, the former coming in the form of mentions of Netflix and Tik-Tok and the latter with asides referencing Ventura and the Oaks Mall, keeping the audience on guard. In fact, “Addams” has so many gags it almost takes several visits to catch all the jokes, especially with TV star Hatcher in the cast. You knew that somehow there had to be references to her long stint as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives (2004-2012) and her memorable 1993 appearance as Sidra Holland in Seinfeld (“They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular”) and director Kirsten Chandler doesn’t disappoint, much to the delight of audiences.

But Hatcher proves to be more than just a smart casting choice to cash in on his Q Score. Despite studying at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Hatcher has spent most of her career in television and film. She made a comeback to acting in 1999, when she starred as Sally Bowles in a national tour of Cabaret, for which she received less than enthusiastic reviews. Still slim and sultry at 57, Hatcher makes an ideal Morticia, and on opening night she looked like she was having the time of her life in front of a live audience. When faced with an unexpected wardrobe malfunction ahead of the show’s climactic tango, when she couldn’t undo the string of her dress to reveal her still shapely legs, she improvised with a chuckle, “The opening of the night skirt is shaking!” to enthusiastic public approval. Hatcher isn’t a trained singer, but she’s good enough to know her limits and speak words wisely that may not have been in her vocal range. His vaudeville-style solo “Just Around the Corner” is one of the show’s many musical highlights.

Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY 5-Star Theatricals at the Kavli Theater

Playing the Addams Patriarch Gomez Addams is a theater veteran Edward Staudenmayer. Given his 28-year tenure with the Forbidden Broadway franchise, one would expect Staudenmayer to ramp up his performance and that’s exactly what we’re getting. Staudenmayer’s Gomez is more Stephane Colbert that Raul Julia, downplaying his character’s Latin roots and making him just overly funny, in the tradition of ’60s sitcoms about the unfortunate father of a matriarchal family. Staudenmayer’s splendid baritone is used in numbers like the joke-packed tango “Trapped” and the tender “Happy Sad,” and he and Hatcher provide the chemistry needed to make Addams work. They are a delight together.

Diminutive Janelle Villas does a great job as Wednesday Addams, who went from precocious kid in the TV sitcom to rebellious teenager in the musical, singing “Pulled” while torturing his needy younger brother Pugsley and generally nailing all of his many lines laughing. As Pugsley, Leander Lewis is given an Eraserhead hairstyle and matches Villas with a loud, clear singing voice on his solo, “What If”.

Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY 5-Star Theatricals at the Kavli Theater

Local comedian and actor Andrew Metzger comes home to one of his favorite roles as Uncle Fester and no actor slips into character as easily as he does. Use a muffled crackle reminiscent of televisions Jackie Coogan (the best Fester), Metzger balances the profane with the sublime in his solo on the Debussy-esque “The Moon and Me,” elevated in a floating position while singing to his beloved, the full moon. (The ridiculous premise of falling in love with a celestial object is just the result of a joke written backwards, starting with a memorable catchphrase from Honeymooners and work your way backwards.)

The Addams Family story arc is nothing new: mismatched parents of children in love meet for an awkward dinner party with catastrophic results. We’ve seen it on countless TV sitcoms as well as movies like The Birdcage (and its Broadway equivalent La Cage Aux Folles) and Meet the Parents, but the formula still works. Playing the “normal” Beineke family is the excellent Tristan Turner as Wednesday’s beau, Lucas, and Trisha’s Rapier and Benjamin Perez as Lucas’ parents. Rapier and Perez have remarkable resemblances to the Broadway/TV star Beth Howland and 9 to 5 naughty Dabney Coleman and are perfectly adapted to their respective characters. Voiceover actor Aaron LaPlante is splendid as the hulking butler Lurch, providing a resonant bass voice in the show’s finale “Move Toward the Darkness.” Samantha Wynn Greenstone rounds out the cast as the shrunken grandmother and potion-caster and has a few thunderous moments herself, including chuckling a few lines from the TV theme song verse.

Ryan O’Connell’s pit orchestra is pitch perfect and beautifully balanced. 3-D Theatricals provided the atmospheric set, costumes and props.

Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY 5-Star Theatricals at the Kavli Theater

The Addams Family plays through October 23 at the Kavli Theater at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks.

Photo credit: Jeff Ditto