MainStage Irving-Las Colinas
Director/Choreographer – Michael Serrecchia
Scenic Design – Clare Floyd DeVries
Costume Design – Michael Robinson
Lighting Design – Sam Nance
Sound Design – Rich Frohlich
Multi-Media Visual Design – Nate Davis
Stage Manager – Tom Ortiz
Properties – Dan Blasingame
Gomez Addams – Michael A Robinson
Morticia Addams – Olivia de Guzman Emile
Uncle Fester – Stephen Bates
Grandma – Megan Kelly-Bates
Wednesday Addams – Caroline Ellis
Pugsley Addams – Javier Casanova JR
Dead Girl (Pugsley Understudy) – Karina Cunningham
Lurch – Russell Batchelor
Cousin Itt – Adam Henley
Mal Beineke – James Chandler
Alice Beineke – Mary Gilbreath-Grim
Lucas Beineke – Michael McCray
Female Ancestor/Native American – Allison Bret
Female Ancestor/Juliet – Claire Dejean
Female Ancestor/Screaming Bride – Jennie Jermaine
Female Ancestor/Saloon Girl – Colleen Lebleu
Female Ancestor/Flapper – Amanda Rodriguez
Female Ancestor/Go Go Dancer – Rachel Starkey
Male Ancestor/The Mummy – Alex Bigus
Male Ancestor/Sailor – Chapman Blake
Male Ancestor/Renaissance Man - Magdiel Carmona
Male Ancestor/Conquistador – Chris Edwards
Male Ancestor/Caveman – Daniel Dean Miranda
Male Ancestor/Dandy – Sammy Swim
Photos by Travis J. Fant
Reviewed Performance 11/6/2015
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
First appearing in a comic strip in 1938, The Addams Family has seen many different incarnations including a TV show from 1964 to 1966 and two well-known movies in the early 1990s (There is a third but it's best to not acknowledge it). In 2010 the musical opened on Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. The show played for 722 performances on Broadway. However, even with the star power of the cast, the underwhelming book and poor character choices by the writers left a promising musical property with only two Tony nominations and no wins to show for its efforts. From my perspective, the writers don't understand the characters, evidenced by the fact one of the first things they do with the song “Pulled” is a character assassination of Wednesday. Suddenly everybody's favorite child of darkness is singing about puppy dogs and going to Disney World twice. She then spends the rest of the show NOT tormenting Pugsley or burning summer camps to the ground but arguing with her father or boyfriend like any love-struck teenager.
Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas presents The Addams Family with great performances surrounded by excellent set and multi-media visuals. Michael Serrecchia and Cody Dry put together an excellent cast and orchestra that do their best to overcome technical issues with the sound and light system.
Sound issues plagued the opening night performance with a loud hiss coming from the speakers and severe feedback through the microphones. The latter of which caused most of the cast to go mic less throughout the performance making it near impossible to understand their singing. The band sounded incredible, however, and the actor's voices melded well.
The 3D rendered background projections on the cyclorama and scrim throughout the show are a sight to behold. Absolutely incredible animations give the audience a sense of floating through the Addams family graveyard or arriving in their ballroom. In great instances of technical coordination it appears there are two projections happening at the same time. One on the downstage scrim and a second on the upstage backdrop, giving scenes an interesting visual perspective. Also, there is an incredible filmed sequence for “The Moon and Me” that needs to be seen to be believed.
For the most part lighting for The Addams Family is appropriately dim but illuminating. However, there were multiple instances of light cues coming early or what appeared to be a missing cue from the lighting design. In a scene featuring Gomez, Wednesday, and Lucas the lights came up leaving all the actors back lit and in shadow. The scene went on as the audience watched the light board operator find a fader to bring up and illuminate the area of stage in which the actors performed.
Clare Floyd DeVries' set design is perfect for its simplicity, multiple purpose, and hidden entrances. The dull grey color palette works great for exterior as well as interior scenes at the Addams family mansion. The wall panel that opens to let Pugsley or the Ancestors crawl through gives an appropriate weird feeling to the house. Finally, with simple turns to bring the pieces together or open a space for dancing creates enough layouts we can believe we are seeing many different places on the property.
The costumes for The Addams Family are excellent with the family sporting their iconic wardrobes wonderfully. The most interesting costumes belong to the ancestors, all white with pale body and skull makeup. Blonde powdered wigs complete the ensemble. Altogether it makes the ancestors appear like the ghosts in Disney's haunted mansion. It's delightful.
As Uncle Fester, Stephen Bates gives the best character performance of the show. His characterization is reminiscent of Jackie Coogan in the TV series, lovable and silly. Bates also has a couple opportunities to demonstrate his voice with amazing operatic notes at the end of “But Love” and “The Moon and Me.”
Michael Robinson starts off the show as Gomez Addams explaining to us what it means to be an Addams with his outrageous Spanish accent. Overall his portrayal is fine with well-played comedic timing but the accent borders on annoying throughout the show. Coupled with the sound problems Robinson is the most difficult cast member to understand.
The focus of the show rests on Wednesday Addams and carrying that burden is Caroline Ellis. She is quite impressive belting out songs like “Crazier than You” and “Pulled.” She fits perfectly into her role between Michael Robinson and Olivia de Guzman Emile. Unfortunately her best bit as Wednesday comes early in the show with the maiming of an animal.
Olivia de Guzman Emile plays the mesmerizing Morticia and is both seductive and whimsical with songs like “Just Around the Corner” and “Live Before We Die.” Her Tango de Amor with Michael Robinson is provocative. It's impressive how she navigates the stage with Morticia's signature tight dress limiting her movement above the knees.
Megan Kelly-Bates tries to steal every scene she's in and actually accomplishes it with Grandma's revelation in “Full Disclosure.” She toddles across the stage, screeching lines with wild hair and clothing as any proper Grandmother Frump.
Wednesday's lovingly tortured younger brother, Pugsley, is played by Javier Casanova JR who is just the perfect age for the role. He still has the ability to hit an impressive soprano note in an homage to Sound of Music inserted in the show. Unfortunately Pugsley doesn't have much to do in the second act, although he is the deliverer of an important plot point between his conversation with Grandma in “What If” and “Full Disclosure.”
Russell Bachelor and Adam Henly round out the main cast as Lurch and Cousin Itt. Batchelor is given many fun gags about Lurch's slow movements that he executes wonderfully while Henly acts as a visible stage hand helping move things around the stage while dressed in a fur suit with sunglasses and a hat. It's a fun little role with lots of running and spinning. A salute to a beloved character left out of the original script.
The rest of the cast are excellent in their ensemble role as ancestors. Helping Fester ensure Wednesday and Lucas' engagement goes on they dance brilliantly, filling the stage. Their most fun section comes at the top of Act 2 as they egg on an argument between Lucas and Wednesday.
The Addams Family at Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas is a fun, family friendly show with excellent performances, music, and a new style of projection. If they can fix the technical issue that plague the opening night performance it will be an incredible show worth seeing.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas
3333 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75062
Runs through November 21st
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances at 7:30pm. Sunday performances at 2:30pm. Tickets are $24.00 to $31.00 for adults, $25.00 for Seniors and Students For tickets and info go to http://www.irvingtheatre.org or call their box office at (972) 252-2787.