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The weird and wonderful family comes to devilishly delightful life in THE ADDAMS FAMILY. This magnificently macabre new musical comedy is created by Jersey Boys authors Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, Drama Desk Award winner Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and Olivier Award-winning original directors and designers Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter) with direction by four-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Zaks.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. A man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
Come meet the family. We'll leave the lights off for you.
When we were asked to stage The Addams Family, it was of course exciting, as it seemed so right for us. Our work has a misfit quality to it. Morticia and Gomez with Fester, Lurch and the rest of the Addams clan had been embedded in our psyches from an early age, and the work we have created together has always had a dark twist to it, alongside the humour. Yet, if the show was to satisfy, it had to fulfill both our own dreams of these iconic characters and not disappoint the many generations of fans who knew the Addams from film, TV and the original New Yorker cartoons. Funny? Yes. Sinister? Yes. But always elegant. Charles Addams' cartoons are amusing, but it's his authentic world and different way of seeing reality that has allowed them to endure. If we dreamt what could be brought to the stage, it would be the sweet beauty at the heart of Addams' macabre world of inversion.
Our initial starting point, from a staging perspective, was the idea that our Master of Ceremonies could be Fester, and we played with the question: What kind of a Broadway show would Fester conjure up in his dreams? Perhaps it would be a tribute to the best of old-time Broadway and the faded glory of vaudeville, with the magic of stage illusion: paper moons and hand painted scenery. The beauty would not only be in the music and the lyrics but also in the melodrama, the theatricality and the creaky set. He would also need to be assisted by beautiful girls and an ensemble of Addams Family ancestors who would help facilitate both our scene changes and celebrate elements of our story such as family honor, fencing and Tango!
What's great about the Addams is they are a family unit whose interactions are their greatest joy. These are characters that Addams himself would acknowledge are bigger than their creator. The different generations of our audience would see themselves in the different family members - from Grandma to young Pugsley - who doesn't have at least one of them in their own family? In creating flesh and blood versions of these ink and paper characters, the writers' challenge was to be loyal to people's expectations whilst still taking risks with where they could go both comically and emotionally. In choosing a turning point in Wednesday's life and bringing a family of outsiders into the house, they had the perfect catalyst to set this ensemble playing together in pleasingly familiar, yet surprisingly new, ways.
The playground for the story is the Addams house which is as iconic as the family itself. The mother of all macabre mansions, it's a character that comes into its own when the outsiders arrive. In staging this, we really wanted to honor the simplicity of Addams' cartoons and not just create a clichéd Halloween spooky house. In his loving drawings, it is a place of cracks and broken shutters; of shafts of light that never quite tell the full story. A truly living character, the house pieces itself together before our eyes. It is an unsettling place, where no room ever quite seems the same twice. It guards its secrets jealously and keeps its surprises beneath the surface and behind its walls.
We have been directing and designing together for twenty years now and throughout that time we have actually never talked too much in rehearsals about how we work. We follow our noses, ask the puppets the most important questions and rarely disagree about what is and isn't working. Overall, we try to create a show that celebrates a kind of theatre that we and our own families would enjoy. Hopefully The Addams Family will do the same.— Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Original Direction and Design)
Ghoulish, macabre demonic, depraved bizarre, eerie, and weird have all been used to describe his work and the characters therein. Adorable, sweet, charming, humorous, enchanting, tender and captivating are also adjectives used to describe the same body of work, as well as the man himself, the extraordinary artist Charles Addams. His rare gift was the ability to enjoin such dichotomies in wonderfully crafted cartoons and drawings loved by millions worldwide.
Born in Westfield, New Jersey in 1912, Charles Samuel Addams’ prodigal artistic talent led him to become one of America’s best cartoonists. In 1933, at just 21 years of age, The New Yorker first published his work. Addams went on to become one of that magazine’s marquee contributors until his death in 1988. His body of work spans almost 60 years of output and is estimated to contain several thousand works. Over 15 books of his drawing have been published do far, appearing in many languages across the globe. Addams works appear in a number of prestigious permanent collections including The New York Public Library, The Museum of the City of New York and The Library of Congress.
Charles Addams is most widely known for the creation of The Addams Family, characters that formed the basis of the TV show which first appeared in 1964. Now famous, Morticia, Fester, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, Lurch and Thing existed as various forms and aspects in Addams’ cartoons prior to the sitcom. It was in working with the idea of a television production that Addams coalesced a motley group of unnamed characters into the specific personages he then collectively called The Addams Family. The Addams characters appear in only about 50 Addams original works. The majority of his works are occupied by hundreds of other characters, from Aviators to Zoo Keepers. Addams themes deal as much with modern life as with ancient times and his topics span art, travel, relationships, the workplace, animals and children, to name a few.