WASHINGTON TERRACE — Skip the haunted houses this Halloween season and come see the mysterious and spooky, creepy and kooky, and strangely lovable Addams Family at Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse. Since their debut in 1938 as a one-panel cartoon in The New Yorker by cartoonist Charles Addams, the Addams Family has been adapted to television shows, movies, books, and more for decades. The Addams Family: A New Musical (with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa) is the first stage production based on these classic characters. Directed by Carol Madsen, The Addams Family at the Terrace Plaza Playhouse is a ghoulish and lovable hit that is ideal for everyone this Halloween season.
In the musical, Wednesday Addams has grown up and wants to bring a boy and his parents home to meet her family. One can only imagine the terrible problems that bringing normal people to the Addams family home could cause. Although I find the music and the plot to be lacking in depth and originality, I did enjoy the dark and twisted puns and light hearted Halloween feel to this show. The cast at the Terrace Plaza was fantastic at bringing the beloved Addams Family to life in a way that audiences of all ages can appreciate and enjoy.
As Gomez Addams, Nathan Sachs carried the show with his charming accent and enthusiasm for his family. Gomez is devoted to both his drop dead gorgeous wife, Morticia (played by Natalie Peterson), and his dreadful daughter Wednesday (Arianna Evans). As Gomez sings of his desire to please both his wife and his daughter in the song “Trapped,” Sachs makes him relatable as a father who wants to make everyone happy in his house but is put into an impossible situation. Additionally, Sachs was incredible as he quickly rambled off the family history in a fast and tongue tying monologue.
Peterson is sly and cunning in her portrayal of Morticia Addams, with her scary and manipulative demeanor. This leaves no doubt that Morticia runs the household and should not be messed with. Peterson’s impressive vocals in “Secrets” and her fun dancing in “Just Around the Corner” were some of the most enjoyable moments of the show. Another strong moment for Peterson was Morticia’s dramatic entrance when she meets the Beineke family; the technical, lighting and sound effects as she ascended through the stage floor with fog, lightning and finesse had the audience clapping rapturously.
Evans was wonderful at portraying the gloomy and flat emotions of Wednesday Addams while also relaying her interest and love in Lucas Beineke (played by Trey Cornell). Like Wednesday’s parents, the two lovers have an unconventional relationship, which seems an odd couple at first, but makes more sense as the evening unfolds. Cornell is lively and energetic in his acting yet somehow a little quiet and reserved in his singing.
Jana Plowman and Josh Curtis play Lucas’s parents who come to dinner at the Addam’s family mansion. Plowman is unexpectedly silly and unreserved in “Secrets” and completely lets loose in “Full Disclosure” and “Waiting.” Curtis realistically plays the uptight father who is uncomfortable with the not normal actions and home of the Addams family.
Stealing the night was David Storm as Uncle Fester. His smiling face and twinkle in his eyes really bring the kooky and loony to the family. Storm narrates the show with a comedic telling of love that is a delightful contrast to the scary scene of the haunted mansion set. Storm finished the song “One Normal Night” with a long held out howl that was superb. Pugsley Addams played by Amauree Mack was charming. This talented young actor sang perfectly on pitch with standout lines, like “What if she doesn’t torture me anymore?” and “I’m just a strange sad kid” in the song “What If.”
The Addams mansion was adorned in a silk damask wallpaper with intricate and creepy picture frames on the walls. The set (no designer credited) had with large doors at center and an intricate monogram in the window next to an old organ with Thing, a severed hand, on top. Collections of eerie and weird family treasures filled the bookshelves giving a sense for the gruesome items one might find in such a mansion. Ryan Bruckman designed an excellent moon graphic with a smiling face that was projected onto the side of the stage.
Costumers Stephanie Petersen, Jim Tatton, Tami Richardson, and Kinsie Behr created intricate and timely costumes, such as the grey and white historical costumes for the ghostly ancestors. The Addams family members were dressed similarly to how they appeared in the TV shows and movies. Morticia’s dress, for example, was black, lace, and beautiful with long flowing sleeves. However, a hiccup occurred on opening night when the ancestors tried to tie up the dress so Morticia could tango with Gomez. Hopefully, the actors and technicians can figure out a way to quickly get the dress tied up so the show moves along smoothly.
The dances choreographed by Ginny Spencer were energetic, fun and also creepy. Her work could even accommodate one young man with some disabilities in the ensemble. I enjoyed watching him act throughout the show and thought it was wonderful that he could be included in the production.
Overall, I had a screaming good time for theatre goers of all ages at the Terrace Plaza. The Addams Family is a frighteningly fun-filled show that may haunt you if you don’t go. What are you waiting for? Go see the Addams, snap snap!