THE ADDAMS FAMILYBook by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Company of Rowlett Performers
Director: Jason Bias
Assistant Director: Sherrie Giles
Music Directors: Jesse Fry, Bethany Lorentzen
Choreographer: Ashley Markgraf
Lighting Designer: Robbie Castillo
Sound: Angel Caruth
Sets: Edgar Hernandez, Tom Jeffcoat
Makeup: Michelle Cawood
Costumes: Michael Robinson at Dallas Costume
Gomez Addams: Aaron Lett
Morticia Addams: Megan Liles
Uncle Fester: Steve Golin
Grandma: Andi Allen
Wednesday Addams: Cosette Lehmann
Pugsley Addams: Henry Cawood
Lurch: Russell Batchelor
Mal Beineke: Richard James
Alice Beineke: Tianta Harrison
Lucas Beineke: Ethan Mullins
Ancestors: Cathryn Harris, Jacey Lett, Graeson Lynskey, Danny Oursbourn, Mekinna Knight, Maegan Shaw, Adam Brown, Harrison Cawood
Reviewed Performance: 10/15/2017
Reviewed by Darlene Singleton, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is a musical comedy with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The show is based upon The Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams in his single-panel gag cartoons, which depict a ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre.
The plot is a bit different than the popular television series of the 1960s as we learn Wednesday wants to marry a kid from Ohio and she and Gomez become allies as they work a plan to gently tell the news to the severe and macabre Morticia.
The set design by Edgar Hernandez and Tom Jeffcoat was simple in design but effective for the action to take place onstage; the choreography by Ashley Markgraf was wonderfully entertaining; the costumes by Michael Robinson at Dallas Costumes were beautiful, as was the makeup by Michelle Cawood - everything combined set the tone for a very pleasurable theater experience.
Undeniably outstanding performances that need mentioning include Aaron Lett as Gomez who fills the stage and is the centerpiece of the show as the patriarch of the creepy and kooky family. Lett has all the qualities of the cigar smoking Gomez – handsome, well-dressed, slick moustache, and loves his wife and family.
Morticia, played by Megan Liles, is funny and stylish, and in true Morticia fashion she prefers her roses without buds - only the stems. Liles maintains an elegance throughout the show – her movements from head to finger-tip display her intent to maintain the calm among the altogether ooky Addams Family.
Uncle Fester, played by Steve Golin, serves as a narrator of sorts and is warmhearted and funny. From start to finish he is wonderful to watch onstage – don’t miss his interpretation of the Macarena in the opening number. His song, THE MOON AND ME (with a little help from the female Ancestors - Cathryn Harris, Mekinna Knight, Maegan Shaw, Jacey Lett) is so sweet and tender that I truly believed he had a relationship with the Moon. Yes! He is in love with the Moon and decides to fly off, via rocket, to be with Her.
Grandma, played by Andi Allen, makes the most of her time onstage. Allen brings every adjective that could be associated with Grandma Addams to life. She is eccentric, most certainly magical, a little eerie and off-beat, quick-witted and sarcastic. When I think of Allen’s performance I think of Small but Mighty - I’m certain you will too.
The eternally non-bubbly Lurch is played by Russell Batchelor. A man of groan after groan, Batchelor played the part to perfection. I laughed out loud during his sword fight scene with Gomez and his interpretation of the song MOVE TOWARD THE DARKNESS will totally blow your socks off – I promise.
Cosette Lehmann and Henry Cawood, play Wednesday and Pugsley, the older sister who is finding love, and the little brother who is not ready for his sister to leave the family nest and only wants her to continue to torture him. Lehmann delivers the song PULLED effortlessly as she expresses her struggle with who she thought she was, and who she is becoming now that she is finding love. Cawood’s delivery of WHAT IF was nothing short of amazingly amazing and had the audience leaning forward in their seats to catch every beautiful note – WOW factor here folks – Cawood is someone we should soon see on Broadway (and we can all say we saw him here first).
The Beinekes of Ohio played by Richard James as Mal, Tianta Harrison as Alice, and Ethan Mullins as Lucas round out the family dynamics. They are the normal family (at least in comparison to the Addams Family) but they have issues they are working hard to hide - built up resentment, annoying habits, and unhappy space growing between them. Harrison was phenomenal as Alice and she and James are so entertaining in their rendition of CRAZIER THAN YOU.
Rounding out the cast are the ghosts of Addams’ past – the Ancestors – played by Cathryn Harris, Jacey Lett, Graeson Lynskey, Danny Oursbourn, Mekinna Knight, Maegan Shaw, Adam Brown, and Harrison Cawood. The assembled members are enjoyable to watch as they support the leads throughout the performance.
The success of a production always falls upon the director’s shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed Jason Bias’ direction of the show.
The production of The Addams Family Musical is full of wonderful moments and songs presented by a most talented cast who all work together to achieve the perfect balance of inferred creepiness and confirmation to celebrate life. Bravo! If you watched and enjoyed the television show The Addams Family, I encourage you to see the musical onstage through October 22. You will enjoy!
The Plaza Theatre, 521 West State Street, Garland Texas