The Addams Family, which is playing at Providence Performing Arts Center through March 25th, is perhaps less a “musical” than it is a comedy - with music.
The updated storyline, with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, has been effectively re-cast as a coming-of-age love story between Wednesday (Cortney Wolfson) and her (still-secret) fiancé Lucas (Brian Justin Crum). The two young lovers have brought their families together to share a meal and plan on announcing their engagement after dinner.
To shore up some support, Wednesday tells her dad, Gomez (Douglas Sills), about their plans, and asks him to keep the plans a secret from her mom, Morticia (Sara Gettlefinger), for just a few hours. Sweetly, Gomez and Morticia have kept the romance (and passion!) alive in their relationship with a foundation of complete trust and honesty. Each minute that Gomez withholds the truth from his wife is pure agony for him.
Lucas’ parents, Alice (Crista Moore) and Mal (Martin Vidnovic) are “normal” folks from Ohio (“a swing state” says Gomez, as he shudders). They love their son and want the best for him. They imagine that someday Lucas will come work for the family business, give them grandkids, and continue their pattern of complacency. A creepy mansion surrounded by rusting wrought iron and filled with this saturnine family are in direct contrast to the white picket fence they want for their son.
The touring cast has tons of Broadway experience; is wildly talented and gives great comedic and musical performances.
Douglas Sills does a terrific job embodying Gomez - his comic timing is enviable. Cortney Wolfson does a great job in the role of an updated and current Wednesday Addams. Wolfson and Brian Justin Crum have fine chemistry. Crista Moore is delightful as she guides Alice through an epiphany and metamorphous.
Sara Gettelfinger, as Morticia, is miles and away better than her material. Andrew Lippa’s music is serviceable; just this side of boring. None of the melodies are even in the same universe as Vic Mizzy’s iconic television theme - though the lyrics are often clever and funny on a few different levels.
The Addams Family has had a difficult evolution from it out-of-town beginnings in Chicago, through and including its mixed reviews on Broadway. Post-Broadway, the show was, once again, re-worked before it went out on tour. As a whole, this production, especially with this cast, works well as a comedy and is an entertaining evening at the theater.
The Addams Family plays at the Providence Performing Arts Center through March 25, 2012. Ticket prices range from $43 - $70 and can be purchased at the PPAC Box Office which is located at 220 Weybosset St., Providence, RI; by calling (401) 421-2787 or at www.ppacri.org.
Photo by Jeremy Daniel: Patrick D. Kennedy (Pugsley), Pippa Pearthree (Grandma), Sara Gettelfinger (Morticia), Douglas Sills (Gomez), Tom Corbeil (Lurch), Cortney Wolfson (Wednesday) and Blake Hammond (Uncle Fester) in The Addams Family.