By Charlie Patton
The ghoulish Addams Family first appeared in a one-panel cartoon Charles Addams drew for the New Yorker in 1938.
That eventually led to television’s “The Addams Family,” which ran for two seasons on ABC 1964-1966. Many subsequent TV appearances, some live action, others animated, followed. Finally, in 1991, there was a movie adaptation. A 1993 sequel, “Addams Family Values,” followed and there might have been more sequels except for the untimely death of Raul Julia, who played family patriarch Gomez Addams.
Eventually, in 2010, a musical version of “The Addams Family” arrived on Broadway with a cast headed by Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. Critics weren’t enthusiastic but it ran for 35 previews and 722 performances, grossing an estimated $62 million before closing on Dec. 31, 2011.
A revamped version then went on national tour in September 2011. It’s that revamped version that is currently playing at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining.
The central story concerns a romance between Wednesday Addams, Gomez and Morticia’s daughter, and the colorless Lucas Beineke, who apparently fell in love with Wednesday when he saw her shooting pigeons in New York’s Central Park with her crossbow.
Lucas and Wednesday have decided that his family, conservative mid-Westerners, should meet with the eccentric Addams family and share dinner at the Addams’ Central Park estate. It’s a clash of styles sure to go wrong, especially since the beautiful, elegant, self-absorbed Morticia has no intention of allowing her daughter to marry.
The story is shallow and silly but there are a lot of clever jokes and the musical score, while hardly memorable, is pleasantly likeable.
The Alhambra’s production has a terrific cast. Carlos Lopez, who plays Gomez, and Stacey Harris, who plays Morticia, have performed on Broadway and are both very good. Shaun Rice plays Uncle Fester, a role he previously played on the national tour of “The Addams Family.” Kayla Tomas is quite likable as Wednesday.
The result is an entertainingly thoughtless evening of theater.
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413