Lane and Neuwirth Lead The Addams Family to Broadway, Starting March 8
By Kenneth Jones
The Addams Family, the new musical that peels the macabre characters of illustrator Charles Addams off the pages of The New Yorker and gives them a fresh plot and new songs, begins previews March 8 at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, each two-time Tony Award winners, play heads-of-household Gomez and Morticia, respectively, in this newly constructed musical comedy about a ghoulish clan that lives by its own rules in a haunted mansion.
The Addams Family has a book by Jersey Boys Tony nominees Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Off-Broadway's The Wild Party.)
Following the fall 2009 world-premiere Chicago tryout of The Addams Family, four-time Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks (Guys and Dolls) joined the show as a creative consultant to work with the entire creative team. With the addition of Zaks, the musical has gone through rewrites and sharpening; the opening number, for instance, is new since last fall.
"We are very pleased that Jerry is willing and eager to come on board at this point in the process to collaborate with our creative team to insure that the show achieves its full potential for its Broadway debut," producer Stuart Oken said in an earlier statement. "Jerry is one of the great talents in our industry and we're blessed to have him join our Addams family."
Opening night on Broadway is April 8.
The musical's plot, not based on "Addams Family" TV or film plots of the past, concerns teenage daughter Wednesday (played by In the Heights' Krysta Rodriguez) falling in love with the normal boy next door, Lucas Beineke (played by Wesley Taylor).
Based on the characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams (1912-88), The Addams Family features direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (known for their macabre Shockheaded Peter) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Memphis). Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Broadway's Sweeney Todd, Company) is musical director.
The Addams Family cast includes two-time Tony Award nominee Terrence Mann as Lucas' dad, Mal Beineke, two-time Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, two-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandma, Zachary James as Lurch and Adam Riegler as son Pugsley.
According to the producers, "In this original story, the famously macabre Addams Family is put to the test when outsiders come to dinner, hurling Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Grandmama and Lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever."
Seemingly plucked from gothic novels, penny dreadfuls and Hollywood horror flicks, the Addamses are oddballs. Their mansion is populated by a Frankenstein-like butler; a witchy grandma; a vampire-influenced mother; an undead uncle; and an assortment of other lovable weirdos.
Composer-lyricist Lippa previously told Playbill.com, "The score's very character-based, and each of the characters sings in [his or her] own language. Gomez is represented by Flamenco-style Spanish music; and Wednesday is represented by a certain amount of contemporary pop music; and Uncle Fester is old vaudevillian in our show, and he's sort of the host of our evening, so he speaks in a vaudeville presentation style."
The cast also includes Merwin Foard, Jim Borstelmann, Michael Buchanan, Colin Cunliffe, Rachel de Benedet, Valerie Fagan, Matthew Gumley, Fred Inkley, Morgan James, Clark Johnsen, Barrett Martin, Jessica Lea Patty, Liz Ramos, Samantha Sturm, Charlie Sutton and Alena Watters.
The Addams Family features lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (The Coast of Utopia, Aida), sound design by Acme Sound Partners (Tony nomination for In the Heights) and puppetry by acclaimed Obie Award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist (Arias with a Twist).
The production also features orchestrations by Larry Hochman (Monty Python's Spamalot), dance arrangements by August Eriksmoen (Memphis), hair design by Tom Watson (Wicked), make-up design by Angelina Avallone (The Little Mermaid), special effects design by Greg Meeh (Monty Python's Spamalot) and fight direction by Rick Sordelet (The Lion King).
The Addams Family is produced by Stuart Oken, Roy Furman, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions, by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical. Co-producers are Stephen Schuler, Decca Broadway, Scott M. Delman, Stuart Ditsky, Terry Allen Kramer, Stephanie P. McClelland, James L. Nederlander, Eva Price, Jam Theatricals/Mary Lu Roffe, Pittsburgh CLO/Gutterman-Swinsky, Vivek Tiwary/Gary Kaplan, The Weinstein Company/Clarence, LLC and Adam Zotovich/Tribe Theatricals.
Addams created several thousand cartoons, sketches and drawings, many of which were published in The New Yorker. He is best known for creating The Addams Family, drawn and written in "a unique style that combined the twisted, macabre and just plain weird with charm, wit and enchantment." Visit charlesaddams.com.
The Lunt-Fontanne is at 205 W. 46th Street. For tickets, call (877) 250-2929 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. For more information visit www.theaddamsfamilymusical.com.
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