Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’

The Addams Family at the Palo Alto Players will rattle your cage.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY: Musical. Written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Based on the comic strip characters created by Charles Addams. Palo Alto Players, Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. or 650.329.0891.

April 24 – May 10, 2015

The Addams Family at the Palo Alto Players will rattle your cage. Rating: ★★★☆☆

One might wonder if Charles Addams, the creator of “The Addams Family” made famous on the pages of New Yorker magazine with his single-panel cartoons so ghoulish and macabre to be side splitting funny, would rise from his grave to appreciate the lasting legacy the theatre has bestowed upon him. There were a plethora of film and TV adaptations but there is only one musical that hit the Broadway stage in 2010 for an almost two year run before being released to community theatres after a national tour in 2011. The Palo Alto Players snapped up the option and the resulting production has Uncle Fester baying (making love) to the moon while pandemonium reigns below.

Photo credit: Joyce Goldschmid
Palo Alto Players’ The Addams Family – l-r: Betsy Kruse Craig (Morticia Addams), Doug Santana (Gomez Addams), Joey McDaniel (Uncle Fester)

Who is Uncle Fester (Joey McDaniel)?  He is the fifth member of the immediate (sort of living) Addams family that includes Gomez (Doug Santana), his wife Morticia (Betsy Kruse Craig), Wednesday (Catherine Gloria) and Pugsley (Leo Jergovic). There are serious questions about the Addams family DNA of Grandma (Linda Piccone). Then there are non-living ‘Ancestors’ that rise from the crypts to dance up a storm and contribute to the mayhem that unfolds.

There cannot be a musical without  a love interest and that is provided by bizarre Wednesday falling in love with a ‘normal’ boy Lucas. The parents of the lovers both object to the potential marriage of the mismatched couple. Another person who strongly objects is younger brother Pugsley Addams since Wednesday’s departure means that she would not be around to torture him. The only family member (excluding the questionable Grandma)  to approve of the mismatch is Uncle Fester who is in love with the moon and brings down the house with his trip to the moon to consummate his love in act two. He wants to help the young lovers and convinces the Ancestors not to return to the crypt and help. That is a great idea since the Ancestor ensemble perks up the entire performance.

While Wednesday pleads with her parents to be “normal’, Lucas (Adam Cotugno ) does the same with his parents Mal (Kennan Blehm) and Alice Beineke (Jen Wheatonfox). The plot is much too complicated for a brief review but be assured it almost makes sense and the music, although not memorable, carries the plot along and is very well sung by most of the cast.

The dinner scene where the hilarious game of “Full Disclosure” is being played and Pugsly’s trick backfiring leads to another show stopping scene by local favorite Jen Wheatonfox. Milquetoast Mal has a marvelous transformation that allows Kennan Blehm to share the spotlight with Jen Wheatstone. Linda Piccone milks her Grandma role to perfection.

Photo credit: Joyce Goldschmid
Palo Alto Players’ The Addams Family – l-r: Danielle Mendoza (Ancestor), Shahil Patel (Ancestor), Jen Wheatonfox (Alice Beineke), Kennan Blehm (Mal Beineke)

Doug Santana as Gomez Addams and Betsy Kruse Craig as Morticia Addams are perfect for each other with excellent comic timing and adequate voices to hold the appropriately disjointed story line in check. Their final song and dance romp before the curtain call is eye-popping, but they have to share accolades with David Murphy who blossoms from the quiet tall jack-of-all trades as Lurch to a whirlwind basso just before and during curtain call.

The running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission is a bit too long but well worth a visit to the Lucie Stern Theatre.

CAST: Gomez Addams, Doug Santana; Morticia Addams, Betsy Kruse Craig; Uncle Fester, Joey McDaniel; Grandma, Linda Piccone; Wednesday Addams, Catherine Gloria; Pugsley Addams, Leo Jergovic; Lurch, David Murphy; Mal Beineke, Kennan Blehm; Alice Beineke, Jen Wheatonfox; Lucas Beineke, Adam Cotugno; Male Ensemble: Juan Castro, Zendrex Llado, Jomar Martinez, Shahil Patel, Michael Saenz. Female Ensemble: Jessica Ellithorpe, Yuliya Eydelnant, Jennifer Gorgulho, Danielle Mendoza.

CREATIVE STAFF: Director/Choreographer: Musical Director: Scenic Designer: Costume Designer: Lighting Designer: Sound Designer: Properties Designer: Hair & Makeup Designer: Stage Manager: Janie Scott Matthew Mattei Ron Gasparinetti Shannon Maxham Carolyn A. Foot Grant Huberty Pat Tyler Shiboune Thill Jeff Grafton.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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