Go, Go, Go, Gomez! Addams Family Musical Will Get January 2009 Workshop
By Kenneth Jones
The next step in the evolution of The Addams Family – The Musical will be a January 2009 workshop, a casting notice indicates.
The gestating show by composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa and book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice — based on characters created by illustrator Charles Addams — had a rehearsed reading in August in Manhattan featuring Tony Award winners Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia and Nathan Lane as Gomez.
The coming workshop dates are Jan. 14-27, 2009. No casting has been announced. The Broadway-aimed show is expected to dawn as a full production in 2009-10.
The macabre musical's directors are Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott (who created Shockheaded Peter), with choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys). Mary-Mitchell Campbell (a Drama Desk Award winner for orchestrating Company) is music director. General manager is 101 Productions. Casting is by Telsey + Company.
The August exploration of the in-process script and score also featured Michael Arden, Marylouise Burke, Kevin Chamberlin and Jeff McCarthy. Reading and workshop casts don't always reflect future casting.
Lippa is the Drama Desk Award-winning songwriter whose work includes Off-Broadway's john & jen and The Wild Party, plus the new musicals The Man in the Ceiling and the Las Vegas revue Peep Show. Brickman and Elice were Tony-nominated for their Jersey Boys libretto and are currently working on the new Tommy Tune-directed musical Turn of the Century.
The Addams Family, as previously reported, is an original musical and does not draw on past film or TV versions of the characters, who are a mix of ghoulish misfits.
Improbable Theater founders McDermott and Crouch (whose acclaimed Shockheaded Peter flirted with stylized stage horror) will direct and design.
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.
The August reading cast included Michael Arden as Lucas Beineke, Annaleigh Ashford as Wednesday Addams, Mary Birdsong as Alice Beineke, Marylouise Burke as Grandmama, Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Merwin Foard (ensemble), Matthew Gumley as Pugsley Addams, Morgan James (ensemble), Zachary James as Lurch, Nathan Lane as Gomez Addams, Robert Lenzi (ensemble), Daniel C. Levine (ensemble), Carrie Manolakos (ensemble), Jeff McCarthy as Col. Mal Beineke, Betsy Morgan (ensemble), Maurice Murphy (ensemble), Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia Addams, Krysta Rodriguez (ensemble), Katrina Rose Dideriksen (ensemble), Peter Samuel (ensemble), Daniel Torres (ensemble) and Cortney Wolfson (ensemble).
Lippa also scored the regionally-seen musical A Little Princess and penned new songs for Broadway's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He also wrote the score for Broadway's The Farnsworth Invention.
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.
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