BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Hale Center Theater Orem is a Halloween Treat
Hale Center Theater Orem's hilarious, well-performed production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY is filled with Halloween tricks and treats.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY (music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice) is based on the characters created by Charles Addams, which have been featured for decades in comic strips, television, and film. Each member of the clan has his or her own quirks, but all look at life through a macabre lens. In the musical, everyday life is interrupted when daughter Wednesday brings home her "normal" fiancé, Lucas Beineke, and his parents to meet the family.
The music is an infectious and ingenious mix of tango (when sung by Gomez and Morticia), contemporary Broadway (when sung by Wednesday and Lucas), and other styles. Many of the songs come across as vaudeville-inspired. This works well for Uncle Fester but grows tedious when overused for the other characters. There is a stand-and-sing approach to the vaudeville-infused numbers, which seem to be compensating for the plot-lite book. The storyline is compelling, mostly for its characterizations, but it is missing the twists and turns that would make it as intriguing as it could be. Still, the dialogue is snappy and the comedy is fresh.
Daniel Fenton Anderson's depiction of Uncle Fester is unbeatable--truly flawless. Equity members Jayne Luke (Grandma) and Carolyn Hartvigsen (Alice) are also perfect for their roles.
Real life husband-and-wife team Whitley Osborn Davis as Wednesday (double cast with Rachel Woodward Hansen) and Derek Davis as Lucas (double cast with Alexander Woods) is a one-two punch of great vocals, stage presence, and chemistry.
Also giving notable performances are Greg Hansen and Lauren Kelsey Hughes (double cast with Anna Daines Rennaker) as the patriarch and matriarch of the family, Gomez and Mortica.
Nick Grossaint works hard as Pugsley, but the decision to cast the character as an adult is a head-scratcher. Faring better are Cleveland McKay Nicoll as Lurch and Shawn Lynn as Mal.
The ghost ensemble is made up of strong singers and dancers that carry the show well. Their hair and makeup, by Janna Larsen, and creative costumes, by MaryAnn Hill, are sensational, as are those of the Addams and Beineke family members.
The scenic design by Bobby Swenson and lighting design by Cody Swenson are at times vague or busy, but otherwise they are appealing in their spookiness and kookiness.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY plays through November 28, 2015. For tickets, call the box office at 801-226-8600 or visit www.haletheater.org.
Photo Credit: Pete Widtfeldt. L-R Whitley Osborn Davis (Wednesday), Nick Grossaint (Pugsley), Greg Hansen (Gomez), Cleveland McKay Nicoll (Lurch), Lauren Kelsey Hughes (Morticia), Jayne Luke (Grandma), Daniel Fenton Anderson (Uncle Fester)