SCERA to Present THE ADDAMS FAMILY, 9/12-10/4
"The Addams Family" musical has an original story. The devilishly delightful family has a dilemma. Daughter Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet and smart young man from a respectable family. She wants her family to behave as if they were normal, too, when they meet him and his parents. But if you're peculiar, you're peculiar, and mayhem results when the Addams clan tries to host a family that, as it turns out, also has its own brand of dysfunction.
The premise that "weird is relative" provides the launching pad for Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's marvelously macabre new musical based on the beloved TV characters of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, Fester and Lurch.
SCERA landed the Utah Valley premiere of "The Addams Family," and it will play at SCERA Center for the Arts Sept. 12-Oct. 4 @ 7:30pm on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Reserved-seat tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children (age 3-11_ and seniors (age 65 and older). They are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801) 225-ARTS, in person from 10am-6m weekdays at SCERA Center, 745 South State, Orem, or at the door 30 minutes prior to each performance.
While the musical is based on Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoon characters and not from the popular television show from the mid-'60s, director Shawn Mortensen has added elements familiar from the TV edition because he wants them to feel recognizable to the audience. Some characters absent from the play, Cousin It and Thing, will have brief cameos to reinforce the familiarity.
"I've seen the Broadway musical and love it," Mortensen says. "Charles Addams did some incredible cartoons that provided social commentary about the state of families, but I wanted to make the individual characters a little more memorable, so, like the TV version, we've got Gomez in a striped suit, Mortician in a slinky black dress, Pugley in a striped T-shirt and so forth. But, of course, it's true to the musical. Gomez, for example, comes in and out of a Latin accent. He only uses it when he talks about his family or wants to get his beloved Morticia's attention. After all, he believes the accent sends out a love vibe, and what woman wouldn't want a man with an accent?"
Major characters include Jack Stokes as Gomez, Shelly Stewart Traux as Morticia, Morgan Flandro as Wednesday, Mitch Bandley as Pugsley, Patrick Brannelly as Fester, David Henry as Lurch, Brandi Washburn as Grandma, Brandon Haden as Lucas Beineke, and DeLayne Dayton and Spencer Powell are his parents Mal and Alice.
The ensemble includes the Addam's dead ancestors, who the family can see, and who often butt into family business or burst into a major musical production number. They include a Puritan, a flight attendant, a cave man, a Native American, a person from the Civil War and Shakespearean era, a bride, gambler, greaser, cowboy, saloon girl, conquistador - and even a Marilyn Monroe and Marie Antoinette. "The ancestors add a lot of charm and humor to the show," adds Mortensen. "They do a tango number that is especially fun."
Assisting Mortensen, who also serves as choreographer, are Kelsey Thacker as music director, M'Liss Tolman as set designer, Marianne Ohran as lighting designer, Deborah Bowman as costume designer, Christy Norton as props designer, and Melissa Gerber as stage manager.
"The set is designed to look like the TV series, but although the show was black and white, M'Liss found a color picture of it, and we're doing it in color," Mortensen says. "It will have many of the familiar TV set items: the polar bear, for example, the sword fish with a man's leg coming out of it, and the round wicker chair in which Morticia sits."
Mortensen particularly loves the message that all people are unusual in some way, and they need to accept each other's oddities and not try to be or make others be different from who they really are.
"The message isn't overly deep, but it's a good one about being authentic," he says. "And it's a lot of fun with great production numbers, over-the-top props, hilarious one-liners and memorable songs."
"'The Addams Family' is the opening event of our 2014-2015 Indoor Season," says Adam J. Robertson, SCERA's President and CEO. "I know it's going to be a huge hit."
Photo by Mark A. Philbrick