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October 10, 2015

'The Addams Family' - A Review of the TV Show on Broadway

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 14th 2010 9:30AM
The Addams FamilyIt seems unusual to do any sort of review for a Broadway musical on a television site, but 'The Addams Family' has had four television incarnations thus far, two filmed and two animated. Plus, both the leads in the Broadway version (most notably Bebe Neuwirth) have had some history with television acting. Finally, we've mentioned the play here on TV Squad before so it's really just a continuation of a previous idea.

As one of the lucky few who caught the Broadway show within it's first week, I have to say that the characters have notable differences from the more familiar television or movie versions. For one thing, their mansion is located in Central Park in Manhattan rather than in the suburbs. For another, Thing and Cousin It only make the briefest of cameos with the rest of the family taking much more of the spotlight.

Nathan Lane portrays Gomez with an attempt at a Hispanic accent, more Raúl Juliá rather than John Astin, that comes across as comical. Wednesday is 18 years old in the play and it would have made more sense to make Pugsley as an older teen as well rather than the same age as other incarnations. That way folks could just say the events of the play happen in the "future" of the series where perhaps the family moved to New York.

Some small winks were given to television continuity. It is noted that Wednesday was home-schooled and the two leads weren't certain whose mother Grandmama Addams actually was. The show also begins with the familiar television chords accompanied by two snaps.

Overall, the musical is silly, nonsensical and reminiscent of many of the sorts from the 50's and 60's (albeit with a ghoulish tone). It is laden with corny jokes and some winks to the audience. The music does have some catchy tunes in a variety of styles (a personal favorite was the opening number 'When You're An Addams'), but no song was particularly overwhelming or memorable.

Nathan Lane, as the master of the joke delivery, shines in his role and Bebe Neuwirth handles her own quite well as Morticia. Another notable stand-out in the cast is Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester (who was practically channeling Jackie Coogan).

It's worth the price of admission for Lane's performance alone. If you are a patron of Gothic musical theater, then it's high time to visit the Family.

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Why is there a review of a show that is still in previews? Professional critics (I thought) were not allowed to publish reviews before a show officially opens. There still could be any number of changes to the show before it opens.

March 15 2010 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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