“The Addams Family” _ ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ December 13, 2012


Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

“The Addams Family,” appearing at ASU Gammage through Sunday, is one of those innocuous musicals that do nothing special and it doesn’t even provide mildly amusing diversion.  The characters and the dumbly stupid situation are so predictable that you’ll guess the end immediately.  The cast is nothing special, and the production, including several very wrinkled scenic drops, is nothing to look at.  Is this tired and very trite show worth the high ticket prices that ASU Gammage asks?  The answer is a definitive NO.

On top of the ordinary production, there’s a pesky sound system that makes much of the dialogue incomprehensible because of awful echoing feedback.  One wonders if there were professional sound technicians running it.  Whatever happened to professionalism?  It was nowhere around opening night.

Based on the popular television comedy, “The Addams Family” should have contained many of the familiar things we all associate with the show.  For example, the snapping finger and the speaking head aren’t in this incarnation.  The ridiculously inane story has attractive daughter, Wednesday, linking up with Lucas who is to become her husband.  When the two families meet, chaos reigns and the stupidity drag itself out for 2½ hours of expected predictability.  Andrew Lippa’s simplistic musical numbers add nothing and the less said about Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s book the better.

Douglas Sills plays Gomez.  Sills reaches for every cheap and predictable comic excess to try to make the bland material spark and delight.  It doesn’t.  His wife, Morticia, was played by Christy Morton, one of two understudies, opening night in a faceless performance that hopefully is stronger when Sara Gettlefinger, the actress who normally plays the role appears.  Blake Hammond makes Uncle Fester mildly amusing, Pippa Pearthree does nothing as Grandma, Tom Corbeil walks blandly through Lurch, Cortney Wolfson gives Wednesday no character, Patrick D. Kennedy makes Pugsley insipid, while Curtis Holbrook’s Lucas fades into the background.

The boring musical numbers are variations on one unmemorable routine and the production dragged on for an eternity even though it runs less than 2½ hours.

If “The Addams Family” is the best Broadway has to offer, the Great White Way should close.  Fortunately, there are lots of better musicals that entertain and beguile.  “The Addams Family” continues through Sunday (December 16)  at ASU Gammage.  For tickets, call the Ticketmaster box office at 800-982-2787 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: D