Thursday, May 12, 2011

REVIEW: The Addams Family (New York)


Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (New York), Tuesday April 26

The Addams Family should be the perfect material for a fun musical comedy. At best after seeing it, it is an agreeable casual Broadway entertainment with an unfocused book, interesting set design, talented cast and second-rate music.


Let us start with the music by the talented Andrew Lippa. The songs were melodious and hummable for the wrong reason; and that is because they are mostly unoriginal and derivative. Try listening to “Let’s Not Talk About Anything Else But Love” and Chicago’s “All I Care About” by Kander and Ebb; or “Pulled” and Rent’s “La Vie Boheme” by Jonathan Larson. Okay, I have to admit that a lot of songs do sound like other songs, especially when it comes to musical, but this is a disappointment because I believe that Lippa can do way better. He missed the opportunity to craft songs that capitalizes on the different quirky characters that we are all very familiar with.

The problem of the book is not originality but instead its struggle to maintain balance. The book tries to showcase all the different characters and in the end fails to craft a tight narrative. The set however was flexible and elaborate enough to draw the audience in. Together with the puppetry and special effects, it provided good fun.

As for the cast, the fabulous Roger Rees in the role of Gomez Addams was not as fabulous as I expected him to be. Mind you, he was not bad, but he was not spectacular. Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia Addams fared better. The surprise of the evening however were Heidi Blickenstaff as Alice Beineke, Zachary James as Lurch and Rachel Potter as Wednesday Addams. Aside from Jackie Hoffman’s Grandma and Adam Riegler’s Pugsley Addams, the whole cast was committed and provided performances that make Broadway… Broadway!

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The Addams Family
Opened on Broadway on April 8 2010
Lyrics by: Andrew Lippa
Music by: Andrew Lippa
Book by: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elic

Creative Team:
Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Direction and Design)
Jerry Zaks (Creative Consultant)
Sergio Trujillo (Choreography)
Natasha Katz (Lighting Design)
Acme Sound Partners (Sound Design)
Basil Twist (Puppetry)
Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Music Direction)
Larry Hochman (Orchestrations)
August Eriksmoen (Dance Arrangements)
Greg Meeh (Special Effects Design)

Cast Includes:
Roger Rees (Gomez Addams)
Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia Addams)
Heidi Blickenstaff (Alice Beineke)
Adam Grupper (Mal Beineke)
Jackie Hoffman (Grandma)
Zachary James (Lurch)
Brad Oscar (Uncle Fester)
Rachel Potter (Wednesday Addams)
Adam Riegler (Pugsley Addams)
Jesse Swenson (Lucas Beineke)

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