One of America's favorite families is dropping in tonight. Sure, they're a little weird — maybe a lot weird — and kind of obnoxious and morbid, but they're lovable and fun and they always make you laugh. They're The Addams Family.
Morticia and GomezAddams and their kids, Wednesday and Pugsley, along with Uncle Fester, Grandma, and Lurch, will be in Toledo today in a tour of the hit Broadway musical. The sold-out show is at 7 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre.
The ghoulish characters who prefer the cloudy outlook on life were created by Charles Addams and first appeared in his cartoons in the New Yorker magazine in 1938. But they didn't get their names and become a family until Addams was asked to develop them for the iconic TV series, The Addams Family, which debuted in 1964 and starred John Astin and Carolyn Jones. The movie, starring Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia, came in 1991. In 2010, The Addams Family arrived on Broadway as a hit musical comedy with Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. The show was based on Charles Addams' cartoon characters, not the TV series and film versions.
"People love this family," KeLeen Snowgren, who plays Morticia, said in a telephone interview on Halloween.
"Everybody can relate to something about one of those characters, be it Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, or Gomez. This is the newest opportunity to visit the family again."
In the stage show, an original story with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, daughter Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a nice young man, Lucas Beineke, from a respectable family. Wednesday tells her father about him, but pleads with him not to tell her mother. This means Gomez may have to keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia, and she hates secrets. Things get out of hand for the whole family when Gomez and Morticia invite Wednesday's boyfriend and his "normal" parents over for dinner.
Playing Morticia is a big responsibility, Snowgren says, because people have their own ideas of who she is. "Hopefully [the audience] can see me and say 'that's Morticia.' I want them to look up and see her and love her, because that's what I did when I was a kid." Snowgren became an Addams Family fan as a child when the TV show was in syndication on Nick at Nite.
Snowgren admires Morticia's relationship with her family. "She may be dark and mysterious and she's got a different way of viewing motherhood and teaching her children," but ultimately she has the best intentions. "She wants the worst for her family," the actress said, slipping into Addams Family mode.
The evening's show-stopper, "Just Around the Corner," in Act Two, is Snowgren's favorite because it is an ensemble number. "Feeling that power and strength you get from everyone singing and dancing the exact same thing at the exact same time ... it just feels so good. It feels like I can just let loose. It's a very strong moment," she said. Another song audiences should watch for, "Pulled," in Act One, showcases the "wonderful vocal power and strength" of Jennifer Fogarty, who portrays Wednesday, Snowgren said.
Also starring are Jesse Sharp as Gomez, Shaun Rice as Uncle Fester, Connor Barth as Pugsley, Dan Olson as Lurch, and Amanda Bruton as Grandma. Bryan Welnicki plays Wednesday's boyfriend, Lucas Beineke, and his parents, Alice and Mal, are portrayed by Blair Anderson and Mark Poppleton.
"This is a family," Snowgren said. "I have been with the exact same people, day and night, from January 2 until September 6," except for four weeks of vacation. "They're your roommates, you go to dinner, you have lunch, have breakfast, you're in your dressing room, they're there, you're at work, they're there, when you travel, they're there.
"It's a home away from home, and it works the same way a regular family works, you have your favorite uncle and you have your crazy aunt, and you have your cousins that you get along with and that you don't get along with, but ultimately everybody's here for the exact same thing, and that's to put on a great show, and we're really lucky to have an incredible cast. It's a very nice group."
Tonight's show at the Valentine is sold out, but The Addams Family is scheduled to return to this area Jan. 31 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, and April 4-13 at the Palace Theatre in Columbus.
Contact Sue Brickey at firstname.lastname@example.org.