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Broadway Blog - THE ADDAMS FAMILY Review Roundup

Below are BroadwayWorld.com's blogs from Thursday, April 8, 2010. Catch up below on anything that you might have missed from BroadwayWorld.com's bloggers!

THE ADDAMS FAMILY Review Roundup
by Robert Diamond - April 08, 2010

 

In this original story, the famously macabre Addams Family is put to the test when outsiders come to dinner, hurling Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Grandmama and Lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever.

In a prolific career spanning six decades, Charles Addams created several thousand cartoons, sketches and drawings, many of which were published in The New Yorker. But it was his creation of characters that came to be known as The Addams Family that brought Addams his greatest acclaim. With a unique style that combined the twisted, macabre and just plain weird with charm, wit and enchantment, Addams' drawings have entertained millions worldwide and served as the inspiration for multiple television series and motion pictures.

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "Imagine, if you dare, the agonies of the talented people trapped inside the collapsing tomb called "The Addams Family." Being in this genuinely ghastly musical - which opened Thursday night at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and stars a shamefully squandered Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth - must feel like going to a Halloween party in a strait-jacket or a suit of armor. Sure, you make a flashy (if obvious) first impression. But then you're stuck in the darn thing for the rest of the night, and it's really, really uncomfortable. Why, you can barely move, and a strangled voice inside you keeps gasping, "He-e-e-lp! Get me out of here!""

Steven Suskin, Variety: "'The Addams Family' -- the 1960s sitcom, that is -- was famously kooky, spooky and altogether ooky. The new Broadway musical, based not on the sitcom but on assorted one-panel cartoons drawn over the years by the New Yorker's Charles Addams, is kooky but not spooky or ooky; nor is it neat, sweet or petite (as the song goes). What this "Addams Family" has is the gloweringly perfect Nathan Lane, who gamely thrusts Gomez's rapier at anything -- or any joke -- that moves. But $16.5 million has brought forth an ill-formed one-dimensional cartoon with lines and shading not quite inked in."

Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: "If you have a high tolerance for corn on the macabre, this is the show for you. Lane is the principal ham, milking every punchline in an accent that strays all over the European continent (Gomez is supposedly Spanish). But he also sings a genuinely touching song to his grown daughter, Wednesday (Krysta Rodriguez), who's gotten engaged to a seemingly square Ohio boy named Lucas (Wesley Taylor). It's in such quieter moments that the iconic characters on stage become more than mere shtick figures. B"

Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press: "Lane, complete with a deliciously phony Spanish accent, is the hardest working actor on Broadway. Whatever they are paying him — and I hope it is a lot — he's worth the price. The actor possesses a theatrical gusto that makes the musical move whenever he is on stage. There's a confidence to his singing, dancing and clowning. He seems to have an innate GPS for finding a laugh."

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: "Bottom Line: Even the talents of Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth can't make this musical adaptation of the familiar property more than just ho-hum."

Erik Haagensen, Backstage: "It pains me to say it, but this "Addams Family" has been reduced to a single snap."

Michael Sommers, NJ Newsroom: "The results are an expert, energetic attraction that could be far sharper in terms of composition, but likely to satisfy anyone who loves the Addams, appreciates terrific performances and really wants to have more of a comfortable than a brilliant Broadway experience."

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: "But with the help of the savvy show doctor Jerry Zaks, everyone has swallowed hard and emphasized what was good about this show, and what was achievable. And the result is an enjoyable entertainment, led by the very droll Kevin Chamberlin, a most lovable sort of Uncle Fester, and, as Gomez, the unflappably excellent Nathan Lane, the greatest musical comedian of his generation. "

Brendan Lemon, Financial Times: "We must content ourselves with a magnificent tango between Gomez and Morticia, which would have been the evening’s climax were it not for the scene-stealing presence of the tall, ghoulish, low-note-hitting Zachary James, as the glacially slow butler Lurch. ( )"

Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal: "If you're a New Yorker with children, or if you're bringing the family to Manhattan this summer, you'll have to go to "The Addams Family." It won't kill you. You'll laugh a lot, though never during the unmemorable songs, which are supposed to be funny but aren't. You're more than likely to spend a considerable part of the evening wondering how much the set cost. And as you depart the theater, you'll probably catch yourself wondering whether it was really, truly worth it to take your kids to a goodish musical whose tickets are so expensive that you can buy an iPad for less than the price of four orchestra seats."

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: ""The Addams Family" -- this year's answer to the question, How many talented people does it take to screw up a concept? -- marks a significant depressing of an ever-more-degraded standard. It's a new show that, despite its mechanized trickery, feels rickety beyond belief, the 2010 musical version of a series of magazine cartoons from the 1930s, '40s and '50s that became a '60s sitcom that became a '90s Hollywood franchise. What you might call a wholly pre-owned Broadway musical. "

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: "Brand recognition - if you've got it, flaunt it. That thinking jump-starts the new musical "The Addams Family." After the famous Da Da Da Dum! Snap Snap!, Gomez (Nathan Lane) and Morticia (Bebe Neuwirth) lead their kooky clan in a moonlit anthem celebrating their ghoulish ways. The scene, set in a spooky-cool graveyard, could be right out of a cartoon by Charles Addams, who created the characters. It makes for a tasty beginning. Then the rest of the show arrives, and it's half-baked and already nibbled, starting with the two-cent story."

Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: " It's definitely a feat of some kind: Broadway's "The Addams Family" has watered down one of the quirkiest pop- culture creations ever. And to think it had so much going for it."


 


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