The national tour of The Addams Family, currently playing at the Capitol Theatre, is a bit kooky, a bit spooky, and a whole lot of fun. The winning performances make for a great night at the theatre for the whole family.
The Addams Family (music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice) is based on the characters created by Charles Addams, which have been featured for decades in comic strips, television, and film. Each member of the clan has his or her own quirks, but all look at life through a macabre lens. In the musical, everyday life is interrupted when daughter Wednesday brings home her “normal” fiancé and his parents to meet the family.
The undisputed star of the show is Broadway’s original Scarlet Pimpernel, Douglas Sills as Gomez. His singing voice unfolds richly and easily like smooth caramel, and his acting is filled with dramatic flourishes and giddy humor. Gomez is the center of the family and the story, and with Sills in the role it really works. The show is worth seeing even just for his performance.
The remaining leading players, nearly all Broadway regulars, are also top-notch. Sara Gettelfinger is at once motherly and sensual as Morticia, Gaelan Gilliland is captivating as Alice Beineke, Blake Hammond is loveable as Uncle Fester, and Patrick Kennedy is endearing as Pugsley. Cortney Wolfson has a powerhouse voice as Wednesday, and Curtis Holbrook is charming as her fiancé Lucas Beineke.
The music is an infectious and ingenious mix of tango (when sung by Gomez and Morticia), contemporary Broadway (when sung by Wednesday and Lucas), and other styles. Many of the songs came across as vaudeville-inspired. This works well for Uncle Fester but grows tedious when overused for the other characters. There is a stand-and-sing approach to the vaudeville-infused numbers, which seem to be compensating for the plot-lite book. The storyline is compelling, mostly for its characterizations, but it is missing the twists and turns that would make it as intriguing as it could be. Still, the dialogue is snappy and the comedy is fresh.
The special effects by Gregory Meeh and puppetry by Basil Twist are surprising and clever additions to the fun onstage.
Whether you are a fan of the Addams Family in its other incarnations or a newcomer to their strange and silly world, don’t miss this opportunity to see Douglas Sills and the rest of the remarkable cast in this new piece of musical theatre.
The Addams Family plays the Capitol Theatre for a limited engagement through Sunday, November 18, 2012. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.arttix.org.