Thomas Meehan, who has a Broadway smash as co-librettist of The Producers, and another expected hit as co-author of Hairspray, may soon begin work on a musical based on the macabre cartoons of artist Charles Addams, Playbill On-Line has learned.
"It would be based on the cartoons and in the spirit of them," Meehan told PBOL in a phone interview. "It would be up to me, as the book writer, to construct a story out of them. The movies [based on Addams' work] are a little too outlandish. There's not enough truth in them, not enough heart and soul."
Meehan said that his Hairspray collaborator Marc Shaiman is a prime candidate to pen the show's music. However, permission must first be obtained from the Addams estate before work can proceed.
Addams (1912-1988) contributed cartoons to The New Yorker from 1940 until his death. His illustrations were among the most literate and popular the magazine has ever printed. The drawings depicted ghoulish goings on and typically featured a seemingly bourgeois collection of monstrous looking characters who came to be known at The Addams Family.
The cartoons have had a long life. They inspired the late '60s television show "The Addams Family," which followed the screwball adventures of the suave and vampiric Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children, porcine Pugsley and morbid Wednesday, bald monkish Uncle Fester, hairy Cousin It, the Frankenstein-like butler Lurch, and Thing, a disembodied hand. A 1991 movie was a huge hit. It starred Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci. Playwright Paul Rudnick penned the sequel, "Addams Family Values."