BWW Reviews: ADDAMS FAMILY at Harris Center Provides a Great Time
It's no great work of art, but it's a lot of fun, and it's a great way to exercise those snapping fingers. "The Addams Family" musical has gone through a lot of changes since its successful Broadway run, most of them made for the better. Although you can't get more talent than the original cast's Bebe Neuwerth and Nathan Lane, the current second national tour perfectly brings to life, or death, the quirky characters and story.
When Wednesday Addams falls in love with the son (Bryan Welnicki) of a normal Ohio couple (Blair Anderson and Mark Poppleton), she invites his parents over for what she hopes will be "One Normal Night." But the Addams are not your normal family. Wednesday tortures her younger brother and Morticia Addams plucks any and all flowers from their stems. Grandma (a hilarious, but underused Amanda Bruton) pulls around a cart full of herbs and potions, the seemingly undead Lurch (Dan Olson) answers the door with a deep groan, bald Fester lights up any bulb by putting it in his mouth, and Gomez Addams has a deep affinity for antique torture tools.
But the family has its issues, and the Addams' humor often makes light of everyday situations: marriage problems, young love and more. Even Obama Care and Charlie Sheen show up for laughs. Meanwhile, the parents from Ohio take away new passions from the cooky Addams household. Gomez and Wednesday have a touching father-daughter moment during the second act, and Morticia cheers herself with the reminder that "death is just around the coroner."
KeLeen Snowgren makes a light and friendly Morticia, but maintains the character's mannerisms and dances a killer tango next to Jesse Sharp's amiable Gomez. Jennifer Fogarty outshines her co-stars with a stellar voice as Wednesday, while Connor Barth also displays a lovely, blooming voice during a solo in which Pugsley wonders what he will do if his sister leaves him for her new boyfriend. Shaun Rice's Uncle Fester makes for a constant highlight throughout the show, often moving pieces of the action along with bits of commentary and interaction with the Addams ancestors. The energetic ensemble ancestors serve as fantastic back up for the few big dance numbers and add a great deal of vocal power to numbers featuring the entire cast.
The direction and pace of the musical work well. Phelim McDermott's costumes match the many versions of "Addams Family," and the action unfolds in front of Julian Crouch's beautiful and eery city, Central Park scenic design, which also includes a mansion interior inspired by family portraits.
The simple plot endears itself to its audience, who find themselves taking away a surprising number of favorite moments and memorable tunes from the production.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
at The Harris Center