The Addams Family Musical is based on the classic cartoon characters and the beloved television series and film franchise that has become a part of our culture. The Addams are a very unique, and quite ghoulish family. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. This new story takes a familiar situation and turns it into chaos as Wednesday invites her normal boyfriend and his normal parents to dinner where the young couple hopes to announce their engagement to both sets of parents.
Although this musical does tell a love story, it is not in the slightest bit a romantic musical. Gomez loves Morticia, Wednesday loves Lucas, and Uncle Fester loves the Moon. But of course, nothing with the Addams Family, or love for that matter, is simple. Thank goodness the Addams Family can make all the bumps and twists in the road hilarious!
From the moment the house lights went down to signal people to go to their seats and the memorable Addams Family tune began “buh duh duh dum” and the audience immediately joined in with a “snap snap” and I was hooked. The musical kept me laughing and entertained from the moment the show began until the final bows. I knew the show was going to be a comedy but I didn’t expect it to have me laughing until my eyes watered.
The production of The Addams Family Musical is a mosaic of unexpected delights, surprises, enchanted moments, great songs and a marvelous cast. The show is peppered with very funny humor and balanced by the witty ridiculing of what it means to be normal. The show is neither gruesome nor depressing – quite the contrary! The story, music and talented actors all work together beautifully to achieve the perfect balance of eccentric creepiness and life affirming joy. Overall the show was fantastic!
Gomez Addams is perfectly played by Vanguard freshmen Andreas Schmidt. His rendition of Gomez is a snappily dressed Latin charmer, with a rolling accent, and a dreamy voice. Schmidts talent in vocals, comedy, and acting blew me away. He played the role perfect as the devoted husband and father, who would do anything to please the women in his life. Morticia has never been one of my favorite Addams Family characters, but Alexandria Miller changed that. She brings a sweetness and vulnerability not generally seen with Morticia, which makes her much more approachable and relatable. Do not get me wrong, Morticia is still severe and macabre, but she is also a loving mother and devoted spouse. Miller has a great talent to be able to pull this off so naturally. Miller’s voice was exceptional and her rendition of Morticia was spot on. She also sang “(Death is) Just around the Corner” – a toe tapping number that had us all laughing.
Winter Bassett and Drew Bradford play Wednesday and Lucas, the young couple hoping for their parents to bless their engagement. They work really well together and their chemistry makes the audience root for their relationship to succeed in spite of the obstacles in their way. Bassett, in particular, sings a few exquisite pieces. Bassett’s rendition of “Pulled” perfectly expresses Wednesday’s struggle with who she thought she was and who she is becoming now. As she goes through the process of falling in love she finds herself less grim and more happy.
Uncle Fester, who serves as a narrator of sorts during the show, is played by Senior Austin Nunn. Nunn’s performance as Fester was absolutely hilarious. In this production, Uncle Fester is in love with the Moon, and this long distance relationship is the source of one of my favorite numbers in the show, “The Moon and Me,” and one of my favorite moments during the finale.
The ever silent Lurch is played by Hans Kelsen. He did an amazing job with outstanding vocals! I wish I could go on further about Lurch, but I am not going to! You see, I don’t want to deprive you of the treat of spontaneously gasping, cheering and erupting in mad applause.
Josh Bradford plays the role of Pugsley. Pugsley has never been my favorite Addams Family member. Bradford, however, was sweet, adorable and – dare I say it? – loveable! Bradford is just 12 years old and he held his own performing amongst college students. With his crazy contribution to the plot twist and very special Monster under the Bed, you can almost imagine that he is a regular little boy.
Grandma, who may or may not be a stranger squatting in the attic, doesn’t have a large part. The role is played by freshman Alexanthe Kane who looked close to 175 years old. Her costume was spot on, a huge kudos goes to the hair and make artists for making a lively teen look so elderly. Kane makes the most of her moments in the spotlight, though, and chimes in with some pretty fantastic one-liners.
The Beinekes – Mr. and Mrs. Normal – are played by Freshmen Gabriella Salazar (Alice) and Vanguard Alum Ian Jenkins(Mal). They are the perfect representatives of a normal couple – complete with built up resentment, annoying habits and distance between them. Salazar perfectly embodies the walking Hallmark card Alice has become and Jenkins is the spitting image of a repressed dad.
Rounding out the cast are the Ancestors – the ghosts of Addams’ past. The assembled members are a great team and support the leads brilliantly. Their dance numbers were impeccable! I was most impressed with the tango number!
All of the shows are presented at the Lyceum Theater located on the Vanguard University campus off Newport Boulevard. Tickets may be purchased at www.vanguardtickets.com or by calling the Vanguard University Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145. Vanguard students can get tickets at the door for just five dollars! The show will be continuing from April 21- 24th. A large amount of the cast is freshmen so be sure to catch future Vanguard theater performances at the Lyceum theater. In the fall the Lyceum theater will be featuring a musical called Blame it on the Movies. The musical will be a montage of songs from movies!