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Theater Thu Dec 29 2011

The Addams Family @ Cadillac Palace Theatre


The Addams Family is in Chicago for a short run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The musical is based on the characters first brought to life by the cartoonist Charles Addams in 1933, and subsequently adapted for television in the 1960's TV show and brought to the silver screen in two films in the early 90's, and is now in it's second year on Broadway.

The music itself leaves something to be desired; I can't say that I'd want to listen to a cast recording of songs like "Trapped," "Full Disclosure," or "What If," but the piece is inventive and whimsical, and features some astounding acrobatics, particularly in Act II. Douglas Sills brings a Spanish accent to Gomez, the charming patriarch of the family, and Sara Gettelfinger's interpretation of Morticia put me in the mind of Bebe Neuwirth.

The story centers on Wednesday Addams (Cortney Wolfson) and her love interest, Lucas Beineke (Brian Justin Crum). Lucas comes from a "normal" family from Ohio, and Wednesday is anxious about how her family will react to their engagement. This works as a plot device to keep the action moving forward, but I found the love story to be the least interesting aspect of the piece, and the characters of Wednesday and Lucas to be less than compelling.

Pippa Pearthree does an outstanding job as Grandma, Tom Corbeil's Lurch is both funny and surprising, and Patrick D. Kennedy's Pugsley is downright precocious. Possibly the most interesting character in the show is Victoria Huston-Elem as Alice Bieneke (normally played by Crista Moore), Lucas' mother who loves sunny colors and has a penchant for rhyming her words. She and her husband, Mal (Martin Vidnovic) are the characters that change the most from the beginning to the end of the musical, and are fun to watch.

By far the star of the show is Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester; his take on the loony uncle is authentic to Jackie Coogan's character in the TV series, and new at the same time.

This is definitely a "safe" play, one that you can bring grandma to see, and your underage nieces and nephews too. That's part of the appeal of seeing a hit musical that's in for a week from New York, but it made me wonder about the role of Broadway In Chicago. I've seen a lot of really good local theater this year (and some bad) that came right from our fair city; it's a higher risk than going to a guaranteed crowd pleaser, but it reaps higher rewards. The tickets to Broadway in Chicago shows cost a pretty penny, running from $37-$95. There are too many struggling theaters in Chicago to justify spending that kind of money on a production that's here and gone in a week, in my opinion, but if you're looking for something to do with the whole family this weekend, you could do worse.

The Addams Family runs through Sunday, January 1 at the Caddilac Palace Theatre (151 E. Randolph). For tickets and info call 800-775-2000, visit Broadway In Chicago, or The Addams Family Musical Tour.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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