By Stephanie Wilks
March 30, 2012
Courtney Wolfson as Wednesday and Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley
Da-da-da-dum *snap *snap. Da-da-da-dum *snap *snap. Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum *snap *snap. The Addams Family has arrived, and they’ve brought their creepy Central Park mansion, complete with medieval torture devices, to the Aronoff Center stage this week. The cast is tiptoeing through tombstones to torture us with laughter and haunt our hearts until April 8th.
If you’re thinking, “well I’ve already seen the movie, and shelling out a few bucks to see this production on stage wouldn’t be worth it,” think again my friend. The 1960’s Addams Family movie doesn’t hold a torch to the hilarity of gothic comedy on the live stage, created by Jersey Boys authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Audience members of all ages were tormented with laughter over the plight of this bizarre death-loving family, struggling, at the request of the eldest daughter Wednesday, to have “One Normal Night.”
Douglas Sills (Gomez), Courtney Wolfson (Wednesday), Brian Justin Crum (Lucas Beineke) and Martin Vidnovic (Mal Beineke)
Wednesday, in love with Lucas Beineke whose Ohioan parents are discouragingly cheerful and practical, wants to bring the two families together for dinner to make sure they get along before she weds. Knowing that her sorrowful ice-queen of a mother won’t approve of the engagement, Wednesday begs her father Gomez not to disclose the secret to Morticia. Gomez, “Trapped” between the love for his daughter and his wife is amusingly tortured with internal guilt as he attempts to entertain and pacify both families upon their arrival and throughout dinner. The day-and-night differences between the Addams and the Beinekes constructs a cauldron of hilarious situations, thickening the plot at every turn.
Douglas Sills (Gomez) and Sara Gettelfinger (Morticia)
The original music and lyrics written by Andrew Lippa assist with each scene’s hypnotic appeal, but it’s the actors who undeniably steal this show. Gomez, played by the suave Douglas Sills, is a Spanish romantic with an affinity for swords and weapons who’s witty struggle to pacify his ladies pierces our hearts by reminding us of our own do-gooding husbands and fathers. Sara Gettelfinger, a local 1999 graduate of UC’s College Conservatory of Music, adds a heavy dose of sexiness to the cast with her sensual voice and deeply exposing necklines as Morticia.
Know a rebellious, too-cool teenager? Bring them to see Courtney Wolfson. She plays the sadomasochistic Wednesday, whose love for Lucas has her fighting not only her family’s sinister ways, but also, an identity crisis. Wolfson’s punky voice, small frame, and gutsy demeanor persuasively drive the songs “Pulled,” and “Crazier Than You,” and leave even the edgiest young audience members humbled.
While all of the actors and their voices are superb, you won’t forget kooky bald Uncle Fester played by Blake Hammond, who’s an outstanding and loveable favorite, particularly for children. In the awkwardly brilliant scene “The Moon and Me,” Uncle Fester falls in love with the moon – yes, the moon and dances in mid-air with a blow-up moon prop. It’s perhaps the funniest and most deliciously bizarre sight I have ever seen on stage. Hairy Cousin It and The Hand also made cameos leaving no odd stone from the film unturned. All of the actors kept our chuckles audible by stealthily quipping in timely political and pop culture references, which was surely icing on the doubly dark chocolate molten lava cake!
The Addams Family on Broadway is truly a comedic delight for all audiences, and well worth the price of admission. Whether you’re young, old, an art-lover, or a Broadway newcomer, I encourage you to treat yourselves, family, and friends to a piece of Halloween pleasure this Spring. You won’t regret it!
The Addams Family plays now until April 8th at The Aronoff Center.
*Photo credits: Jeremy Danielto top ↑