Category Archive for: ‘Judy Richter’

‘The Addams Family’ not for all tastes

Originally a cartoon and then a popular TV series that ran from 1964 to 1966, “The Addams Family” has taken on a musical form presented by Palo Alto Players.

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, this bizarre show takes a page from “You Can’t Take It With You” for its plot.

Wednesday (Catherine Gloria), the daughter in this macabre family, has fallen in love with a normal young man, Lucas Beineke (Adam Cotugno), and wants to marry him. Therefore, she asks her parents, Gomez (Doug Santana) and Morticia (Betsy Kruse Craig), to invite his parents, Mal (Kennan Blehm) and Alice (Jen Wheatonfox), to their home for dinner. That’s when she and Lucas plan to tell everyone about their plans. Therefore, she wants her family to behave as “normally” as possible.

That’s not easy for a household that includes Wednesday’s younger, torture-loving brother, Pugsley (Leo Jergovic); green-faced Uncle Fester (Joey McDaniel); and potion-creating Grandma (Linda Piccone); along with their zombie-like butler, Lurch (David Murphy). Lurking in the background are a dozen Addams Ancestors who serve as the singing, dancing chorus.

Rather than playing Charades after dinner, this family’s game is Full Disclosure. Each person must reveal a secret unknown to anyone else. The results are predictably disastrous, leading to disharmony between both sets of parents as well as Wednesday and Lucas. In the end, though, all turns out well.

All forms of cartoonist Charles Addams’ “The Addams Family” focus on mordant subjects — albeit with a satirical edge. Thus this show is not to everyone’s taste. The first act is especially difficult to swallow because so much of the humor is sophomoric, but the second act is easier to take because it focuses on somewhat more realistic situations.

Nevertheless, the PAP cast, directed by Janie Scott, does its best with the material, and it seemed that most people in the opening night audience enjoyed it.

Under the baton of musical director Matthew Mattei, Lippa’s tuneful music is well sung by everyone, especially Gloria as Wednesday and Craig as Morticia.

Director Scott choreographed the show, creating interesting, well-executed dances.

The show is episodic, but set designer Ron Gasparinetti keeps it running smoothly with various devices. Kudos to costume designer Shannon Maxham, especially for the Ancestors’ outfits, which cover many centuries. The lighting is by Carolyn A. Foot, the sound by Grant Huberty.

The show runs 2 1/2 hours with one intermission. It can be fun for most viewers but a long night for others.

“The Addams Family” will continue through May 10 at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For tickets and information, call (650) 329-0891 or visit


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