BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Theatre Three

BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Theatre Three

Leave it to Theatre Three in Port Jefferson to turn a snoozer on Broadway into a hit musical comedy on Long Island. Their latest production is "The Addams Family" and it is funny, fabulous and pure nostalgia! Gomez, Morticia, and all of your favorite creepy crawlies are scaring up Port Jeff and getting their spook on for Wednesday Addams' nuptials.

The Broadway show opened in 2010 and starred Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. With Broadway royalty at the helm and grandiose hype all over the city, theatergoers flocked to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre to see Broadway's newest hit musical. We raced too in fact getting to the city on time that night involved a stuck train and a speeding cab driver. Thinking all of the hiccups were worth it and thanking the Broadway Gods we were able to nab tickets, hundreds of people left the theater that night asking, "What went wrong?" Regardless, the original Broadway book has been wildly tweaked for the best and the script is revised and refreshed. Clear, concise, and now clutter free, Theatre Three's "The Addams Family" is the version we wish we saw on Broadway.

The plot is familiar and why not? It works! Wednesday Addams is getting married and her fiancé Lucas and his parents Mal and Alice Beineke are coming to dinner to meet the family. Not just any family but the Addams family. Now every family has their quirks and in this case, it's no different. A plethora of personalities and kooky creatures inhabit the mysterious Addams mansion and they put on quite a show for the Beinekes. Just when you think they'd be running away screaming as fast as they could, they surprise us by sticking around and learning from their relatives-to-be how to be a family again.

BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Theatre ThreeMatt Senese is dynamite as Gomez. He makes a grand patriarch and leads the cast to rousing success. His sparring partner is the terrific TracyLynn Conner as Morticia and she certainly holds her own. Maintaining the emotionless and monotone Morticia mold, the mysterious Ms. Conner plays her cold as a cucumber. Rick Grossman makes a superb Uncle Fester and with the script revisions, Fester now serves as narrator giving us all the inside info and propelling the plot along. His obsession with the moon is off the charts and thankfully his jolly song "But Love" and its reprises were retained from the Broadway production. Ginger Dalton as Grandma is a hoot no matter how she's related to the Addams clan. (Listen for it, it's the best line in the show.)

Son Pugsley is portrayed by a winning Max Venezia and he certainly causes quite a ruckus at the dinner table. Lurch is quiet and James Taffurelli fills those tall shoes very well. Cameron Turner's talents are utilized for playing Thing and Cousin Itt. If you blinked in the Broadway show, you'd miss Cousin Itt's two second cameo yet here we get to see more of him, or her, or it, in all it's glory.

The Beineke family is just as bonkers as the Addams'. Steve Ayle as Mal and Linda May as Alice play it straight at the beginning then transition into more zany characters. Their comic timing is spot on and their musical presence is swell. Finally, Matt Paredi gives it everything he's got to give us the charming groom Lucas. He loves Wednesday with all his heart, crossbow or no crossbow. Mr. Paredi is one of those young actors who splendidly pops up in productions all over Long Island and his latest portrayal doesn't disappoint.

The Addams ancestors are anything but dead, bringing joy and breathing life into each ensemble extravaganza. Decked out in ghostly getups, both familiar faces and new friends are all worth celebrating. Kudos to Lindsay DeFranco, Veronica Fox, Brian Frank, Justin D. Harris, Eric J. Hughes, Kyle Imperatore, Danielle Khoury, Heather Rose Kuhn, Michelle LaBozzetta, Krystal Lawless, Steven Uihlein and the great Kiernan Urso.

Director Jeffrey Sanzel certainly outdid Broadway's Jerry Zaks and Nicole Bianco's choreography debut is more than welcome. As always, Theatre Three's live orchestra keeps the audience enthralled. The authors of the musical have finally got it right and the creatives at Theatre Three gathered the spookiest and kookiest characters to bring us "The Addams Family." (Snap, snap.)

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Book by Marshall Brickman, and Rick Elice, Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa, Based on Characters Created by Charles Addams. Scenic Design Randall Parsons, Lighting Design Robert W. Henderson, Jr. Make-Up Design and Supervision Lindsay DeFranco, Costume and Wig Design Chakira Doherty, Properties Design and Construction Karin Bagan, Production Stage Manager Melissa Troxler, Choreographed by Nicole Bianco, Musical Direction by Jeffrey Hoffman, Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel.

Starring: Matt Senese, TracyLynn Conner, Rick Grossman, Ginger Dalton, Jessica Murphy, Max Venezia, James Taffurelli, Cameron Turner, Steve Ayle, Linda May, Matt Paredi, Lindsay DeFranco, Veronica Fox, Brian Frank, Justin D. Harris, Eric J. Hughes, Kyle Imperatore, Danielle Khoury, Heather Rose Kuhn, Michelle LaBozzetta, Krystal Lawless, Steven Uihlein, and Kiernan Urso.

For more information and tickets please visit: www.theatrethree.com or call: 631-928-9100.

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