OGDEN — As a reviewer of local theatrical productions, I try and focus on the performances, direction, and technical aspects of the show. Because a vast majority of shows are not original, I usually refrain from adding my personal opinion to the review. Even though I may personally not like The Music Man, there may be plenty others who do, and will want to know how the company performed, not my personal thoughts regarding the show.
However, as I had never seen the musical The Addams Family, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, I want to start by saying I was surprised at just how fun this musical was. This is a great activity to bring friends or family for an October outing. Based on the same characters that are known from the Addams Family books, television, and movies, the story follows how difficult it is for a young woman with a strange family to bring home a new love to meet them. While the Addams family may appear to be less than “normal”, the audience begins to see that normal is relative, and perhaps overrated.
As for the production that Terrace Plaza Playhouse has put together, director and set designer Dennis Ferrin put together a beautiful show both through technical aspects and direction of the players. The set was a fun representation of a neighborhood haunted house, with pieces that could move with the choreography to make the set changes interesting and quicker, helping keep the audience attention. I also really appreciated the lighting design, by Don Wilhelm and Dustin Smith. A good, spooky story needs to have the ambiance of different lighting to help the audience connect with the spooky and comedic moments. I was very impressed with how the lighting in this production would change the mood of several of the numbers, and especially how it could change the mood mid-number, when appropriate.
Nick Balaich was cast as the father, Gomez Addams. From the beginning song, “When You’re An Addams,” I could tell that Balaich was a good choice to bring such a character to life. While his accent may have been a little over the top, it fit with the general comedic nature of the show. Balaich also has a strong singing voice, which was evident in many of the numbers he performed. What I enjoyed most about Balaich were his facial expressions, especially when he was conflicted in choosing between his wife and his daughter. His wife, Morticia, played by Laura Crossett, was also an excellent match to her character. Crossett impressed me most during the song “Bedtime Story,” where she made believable that someone might crave and enjoy dark things such as death.
Another outstanding performance was that of Uncle Fester, played by John Rollins. Rollins gave a commanding performance as much of the comedic relief, keeping the show more amusing than dark, and portraying the main theme of the relativity of normality. During the song “The Moon and Me,” Rollins’s comedic timing kept the audience engaged.
As the gloomy daughter Wednesday, Morgan Richards was impressive. True to the character, there was a great moment where she expressed “I’m enthused” in such a way that I had no doubt that she understood the personality of Wednesday with exactness. This made songs such as “One Normal Night” and “Pulled” much more enjoyable because of the contrast of emotions. Additionally, the duet “Crazier than you” between Wednesday and her beau, Lucas (Nathan Kremin), may become one of my favorite love songs, based on the fun yet realistic look at what love really looks like.
Finally, two of my favorite parts of the show came from minor characters. Lurch, played by Stefa Kurzius, had several moments that brought a smile to my face, and one glorious unexpected moment that caused me to laugh for quite some time after the performance was over. I will not elaborate because I want this to be a surprise for anyone who goes to see this show. Emily Checketts as Alice, Lucas’s mother, has a sunny disposition and seems to be completely content with her life. During the song “Full Disclosure,” Checketts delivers an amusing performance that represents what many of us might say or do if we let our inhibitions down. I was impressed with the way Checketts played that scene, and how she was willing to let it all go, so to speak.
The Addams Family represents a new and fun experience this Halloween season, and Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s production did not disappoint.