By Beki Pineda
THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa; book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice; directed by Scott Beyette. Produced by BDT Stage
(5501 Arapahoe Ave.) through Feb. 27. Tickets available at 303-449-6000 or www.bdtstage.com.
Why an ooky-kooky musical comedy for a Christmas show? I think the answer lies in the last work of the title: family. The bottom line is that this is a show about a ghoulish family with an affinity for all things macabre.
But they know and accept their differences from other people and pull together as a family when it’s needed. As Morticia says about the visiting Bieneke family, “We are who we are and they are from Ohio.” So no jingle bells or Santa hats in this show; just a lot of fun.
Based on the 1960s TV show, which in turn was based on the cartoons of Charles Addams in The New Yorker magazine, these familiar family characters come back to life. Scott Beyette becomes Gomez, the head of the household, with his Clark Gable mustache and slicked-back hair. His beloved exotic flower of a wife, Morticia, with her slinky gown and waist-length jet-black hair, is Alicia King, swiveling into the scene to steal your heart (not literally–although she might like that!).
Wednesday, the Addams daughter (Sarah Glover), channels Katniss Everdeen before “The Hunger Games” was even an appetizer. Her hunting forays into their Central Park back yard catch the eye of a “normal” young man played by a fuzzy-headed Brett Ambler. The ensuing romance makes Pugsley, her brother, jealous because Wednesday will no longer be around to torture him. Introducing the straight family to the weird one (a la LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) and resolving their differences while discovering everyone’s secrets forms the basis for the paper-thin plot.
Other familiar Addams characters are present as well. Casey Andree as the towering Lurch gets laughs with a roll of his eyes. Uncle Fester, who serves as the narrator to the story, is energetically portrayed by Wayne Kennedy. Barb Reeves gets laughs as the raunchily ageless hippie grandma to the brood–although we’re not quite sure which side of the family she belongs to. “Thing” and “It” also make appearances.
A conclave of Ancient Ancestors serves as backup singers, dancers and stagehands moving the scenery off and on seamlessly. Their costumes and makeup of dusty gray are so good that it’s hard to identify the actor underneath. As usual, Linda Morken’s costumes are spot on, ideally matching those of the TV characters. The sets by Amy Campion, with their Gothic towers and comic detail ,make an ideal playing space for everyone.
No lifelong lessons or deep insights to be gained through this production.
But for a fun music-filled evening out in a family-friendly atmosphere, this is your show. A new chef in the kitchen has also enlivened the menu and added a Chef’s Special that changes weekly. My portion of pork roast with a mushroom glaze was generous and delicious.
WOW factor: 8.5