Go, Go, Go Gomez! Addams Family Musical, by Lippa, Brickman and Elice, In Development

By Kenneth Jones
21 May 2007

Andrew Lippa
Andrew Lippa
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The macabre characters created by illustrator Charles Addams will sing on Broadway in a new musical, The Addams Family, to be penned by songwriter Andrew Lippa and Jersey Boys writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

On May 21 Elephant Eye Theatrical (EET), the new Broadway development and production company formed by Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions, announced the plan for a Broadway production to bow in the 2009-2010 season after an out-of-town tryout.

Rights were granted by the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. This marks the first time the late Addams' darkly comic work will serve as the basis for a stage production. The Addams clan is widely known for populating a TV sitcom and two feature films. They're "creepy" and "kooky," according to the original TV theme song.

Improbable Theater founders Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (whose acclaimed Shockheaded Peter flirted with stylized stage horror) will direct and design.

Brickman and Elice wrote the libretto for the 2006 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys, and Lippa is the Drama Desk Award-winning composer-lyricist of The Wild Party. He also scored jon & jen, A Little Princess and new songs for Broadway's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.



Addams' career as a cartoonist spanned six decades and encompassed thousands of cartoons, sketches and drawings, many of which were famously published in The New Yorker. His greatest renown was for creating characters comprising The Addams Family. "With a unique style that combined the ghoulish, macabre and just plain weird with charm, wit and enchantment, Addams' drawings of Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, Lurch and Thing have entertained millions worldwide and served as the inspiration for multiple television series and motion pictures," according to the Elephant Eye announcement.

"It's both an extraordinary privilege as well as a daunting responsibility being entrusted with Charles Addams' most beloved creations," stated Elephant Eye producer Stuart Oken, "though I'm confident this outstanding creative team is re-imagining the work for the stage in a way that would have made Charlie proud."

The Charles & Tee Addams Foundation was founded in 2000 by the late Tee Addams, widow of Charles Addams. The Foundation's purpose is "to interpret and share the artistic achievement of Charles Addams' life through programs developed from the artist's work and archives." Visit www.charlesaddams.com.

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Elephant Eye Theatrical, formed by producers Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions in late 2005, is a theatrical development and production company dedicated to the creation of new book musicals for Broadway.

The company's mission is "to find and initiate projects, fund their genesis and ongoing development, and serve as lead producer when projects are fully staged."

Brickman is author or co-author of the films "Sleeper," "Annie Hall" (Academy Award), "Manhattan" and "Manhattan Murder Mystery," among others. Elice wrote a popular thriller, "Double Double" (translated in 16 languages), Leonardo's Ring (London Fringe, 2003) and Dog and Pony (New York Stage and Film, 2003). From 1982-2000, as creative director at Serino Coyne Inc., he produced ad campaigns for some 300 Broadway shows, from A Chorus Line to The Lion King.

Lippa is currently penning the music and lyrics for a new musical based on Jules Feiffer's The Man In The Ceiling (Feiffer is writing the book) which is being produced by Disney Theatrical. He also penned the score to the new musical Asphalt Beach.