BWW Review: The Central New York Playhouse Presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY
The iconic creepy and mostly kooky family is now entertaining audiences at The Central New York Playhouse under the direction of Bella Lupia and music direction by Abel Searor. The familiar family effortlessly comes to life with spot on casting and gorgeous costumes. The new musical, with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, comes to the Central New York Playhouse just in time for Halloween.
The musical is of course based on the characters created by Charles Addams. Gomez Addams (Christopher James Lupia), Morticia Addams (Leila Dean), Wednesday Addams (Maddie Castro), Pugsley Addams (Wyatt McDaniel), Uncle Fester (Benjamin Wells), Grandma (Lisanne Petracca), and Lurch (Phil Brady) are all there in this musical that explores a new story involving a secret engagement between Wednesday and a nerdy college student named Lucas Beineke (Jesse Navaugh). Lucas comes to the Addams mansion with his parents, Alice Beineke (Michaela Oney) and Mal Beineke (Garrett Robinson) to have dinner with Wednesday's rather unique family. With the hope of having "One Normal Night" Wednesday and Lucas request that their parents behave themselves and attempt to act normal so they get along. However, given the people that are part of the Addams family, normal may seem impossible.
The humor of the show is everything you would expect from the Addams family. Darkness, gloom and doom, torture, monsters, etc. are fully embraced by the family because it brings them their version of "happiness" and "love." The lines and jokes are often cheesy but that is the Addams family. Does it have the best dialogue? Absolutely not. Does it entertain? Absolutely yes. Audiences love familiarity and that is what you get with this new musical - "Creepy and they're kooky...The Addams Family" (snap, snap).
Obviously, the actors must look and act like those iconic characters and that is in fact what you get with the spot-on casting.
Christopher James Lupia is a given for the role of Gomez Addams as he often excels in the over-the-top character roles in many community theatre productions. His raised eyebrows, an often amused look on his face, and effortless comedic timing makes him the definition of Gomez. His vocals aren't too shabby either in numbers such as "Trapped" and the sentimental father/daughter number "Happy Sad."
Leila Dean pulls off a seductive and confident Morticia Addams. She did seem to have a few issues with remembering the lines and lyrics but she covered well given her experience on the stage. As usual her vocals were a standout.
Maddie Castro as Wednesday showed off her killer vocal skills in the role. She certainly mastered the gloomy facial expression that Wednesday is known for. Castro's portrayal of a now in love Wednesday, is a true standout.
Benjamin Wells as Uncle Fester looks the part, acts the part, and brought the house down with his comedic timing. Vocal numbers such as "Fester's Manifesto" and "The Moon and Me" truly entertained. Unfortunately, during is number "The Moon and Me" the audience could here the other actors speaking into their microphones off stage, which was distracting during the performance I attended.
Other standouts include Wyatt McDaniel showing off his vocal chops and impressive range in his role as Pugsley Addams. Lisanne Petracca brought the killer and comedic facial expressions to her role as Grandma. Phil Brady brings the expected groans to his role as Lurch.
For our new characters joining the dinner party, Jesse Navaugh shows off his vocals, comedic timing, and chemistry as Wednesday's love interest Lucas. Michaela Oney as Alice Beineke is entertaining as she crawls across the table in "Waiting." Garrett Robinson as Mal Beineke lands every line with his impossible not to like comedic timing.
The ensemble is certainly having a blast on stage as the ghostly ancestors show off the best costumes that have graced the stage at The Central New York Playhouse. Diane Bates decked out those ghostly ancestors with such impressive detail. Along with the wig design by Kathy Gilbert and Liam Fitzpatrick the ghostly ancestors brought spot on visual appeal.
Lastly, the set design by Christopher James Lupia and the always detailed scenic painting by Dana Jane Comfort brought the spooky Addams family home to life. Liam Fitzpatrick's lighting also brought the creepy and dramatic mood to the kooky and very cheesy story.
The Central New York Playhouse has brought an entertaining production of The Addams Family just in time for Halloween. Bella Lupia's stellar cast has the comedic skills to land the amusing yet terrible lines and the vocal skills for Andrew Lippa's powerhouse musical numbers. I suggest you add a trip to The Central New York Playhouse to see The Addams Family, along with all your pumpkin picking, apple picking, hay rides, and so on. It is the perfect activity for the Fall season in Central New York.
Running time: Two and half hours with one twenty-minute intermission.
The Addams Family runs through October 26, 2019 at the Central New York Playhouse located in the Shoppingtown Mall in Syracuse, New York. For tickets and information on this production and upcoming productions at The Central New York Playhouse click here.