Frightfully funny, ‘Addams Family’ lurches into Just Off Broadway Theatre

By Bob Evans

Sing with me: Da-da-da-dum-(snap, snap) Da-da-da-dum-(snap, snap) da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum,(snap, snap). “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky; they’re altogether ookie–The Addams Family.”

Everyone knows the opening song to the 1960s TV shot, The Addams Family, so what would be the only way to begin the evenings festivities than to repeat that classic ditty that everyone knows and can’t help but snap along with as expected? “The Addams Family-the Musical” re-creates the magic and camp of the original show with a newly developed plot and some added characters for the audience’s benefit. Feast on the old characters (except Thing and Cousin ITT) as the darkly humorous family, Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester, Grandmama, and Lurch entertain with their devilish deliveries.

All the camp and fun fester up–as well as Uncle Fester who can steal the show if Gomez and Morticia do not anchor the stage in their stage time. But rest assured, Brian Larios, Franci Witte command the stage as Gomez and Morticia despite Chad Burris’ best efforts to snatch the story with his charming delivery of Uncle Fester.

The musical, under the direction of Kevin Bogan comes alive from the opening gathering number when the main characters and ancesterly, ghostly goblins join them to celebrate the spirit of all Addams Family past and present. From there, we learn of Gomez and Morticia’s fierce devotion to each other and their family values as they are just a normal family who dote on their children and want their happiness. But, that’s the problem as well. Wednesday wants to marry an outsider, and his family, from Ohio, might not accept or fit in with the Addams Family values.

To meet the folks, Wednesday wants them to come to dinner so she can announce her engagement. But, therein lies the problem. Morticia will not approve and Gomez has already approved but promises to keep Wednesday’s secret. (Oh, the deception and drama.) That’s the plot. It’s simple and fun. No one can be offended by this family-themed story.

While the plot is simple and campy, the musical score is simple, but rich. The songs are melodic and very enjoyable. Bogan selected a strong cast of singers for his leads and for the ensemble. The voices just make the music even more enjoyable. As for the actors, Brian Larios, Franci Witte, Chad Burris, and Erica Baruth have the strongest parts in the show. Their parts are well written and have the best character development. The rest of the cast is strong, throughout, but the script does not give them a lot of stage time or character quirks to really keep the eyes focused on them. Put the leads and supporting characters together and you create a fun cast with great singing and acting talent. And, remember they must be at least 35 years old to join Mid-Life Players.

The cast is: Brian Larios as Gomez, Franci Talamantez-Witte as Morticia, Chad Burris as Uncle Fester, Jennifer Cannady as Wednesday, Doug Jones as Pugsley, Kathleen Marx as Grandmama, Rod Chapin as Mal, Erica Baruth as Alice, John Edmonds as Lucas, Rob Hallifax as Lurch. The ensemble of incredible ancestors were: LeAnn Burris, Becky Clark, Sharon Johnson, Dottie Bartlett, Wendy Boothe, Carol Robinson, Ray Zarr, Chip Buckner, Jacob Robertson. Kevin Bogan served as both director and musical director. Mackenzie Simmons stage managed and manned the lights. The band members were: Jason Bell – Piano, Drew Bell – Reeds, Joel McCoy – Drums, Ry Hendricks – Bass.

“The Addams Family” continues this weekend only. Plan ahead to see the show. It’s well worth the time. The show is produced by Mid-Life Players and performs at The Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.
Tags: Mid-Life Players, Just Off Broadway Theatre, “The Addams Family”, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City

Image courtesy of Bob Evans | KC Applauds

Author: Bob Evans

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