Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane to Star in Reading of Addams Family Musical

By Andrew Gans
and Kenneth Jones
June 25, 2008

Two two-time Tony Award winners Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane will star in an upcoming reading of The Addams Family musical.

Although Lane and Neuwirth will be part of the August reading, no roles have been cast for the Broadway production, which is scheduled for the 2009-2010 Broadway season following an out-of-town tryout.

Playbill.com had reported in May 2007 that Elephant Eye Theatrical the Broadway development and production company formed by Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions will produce The Addams Family musical, which will be penned by songwriter Andrew Lippa and Jersey Boys writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

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 2007 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.

Bebe Neuwirth received Tony Awards for her performances in the revivals of Sweet Charity and Chicago. Her other Broadway credits include roles in A Chorus Line, Little Me, Dancin', Damn Yankees and Fosse. Known around the world for her Emmy Award-winning role as Lilith on the NBC series "Cheers," Neuwirth has also been seen on screen in "Summer of Sam," "Celebrity," "Liberty Heights," "The Associate," "Jumanji," "Bugsy," "The Paint Job," "Getting to Know You" and "Wild Palms." Neuwirth also starred in a limited engagement of Here Lies Jenny, a musical event exploring the works of Kurt Weill at Off-Broadway's Zipper Theatre.

In addition to his Tony-winning roles in The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Nathan Lane has starred on The Great White Way in November, Butley, Present Laughter, Merlin, The Wind in the Willows, Some Americans Abroad, On Borrowed Time, Guys and Dolls, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Man Who Came to Dinner. The actor has also been featured in such films as "Addams Family Values," "Mousehunt," "Love's Labour's Lost" and "The Birdcage," scoring a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the latter. He was also seen in the film adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby."