Ocean State Theatre Company's musical for the spooky month of October is "The Addams Family." The Broadway version ran for 722 performances and is a sentimental tribute to Charles Addams' beloved characters. This macabre tale explores the deliciously dark world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley, and of course, Lurch, Thing and Cousin It. This weird and wonderful family come to life in a story that is every father's nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the princess of darkness, has grown up, fallen in love with a sweet, smart man from a respectable family, a man her parents have never met. And if that weren't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not tell her mother. Now Gomez Addams must do something that he has never done before, keep a secret from his wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the family on that fateful night they host dinner for Wednesday's "normal" boyfriend and his parents. Director Amiee Turner brings out the comic and macabre moments in this show and provides the clever and intricate dance numbers with excellent musical direction by Esther Zabinski. What a way to spend a spooky pre-Halloween enjoying these well known characters we all know and enjoy!
This script has been written and rewritten since it first opened and though it isn't a cohesive well written script the talent of the performers definitely are first rate! Amiee blocks the show beautifully and her choreography stands out with some dances that include the twist, the swim, the bunny hop, line dancing and last but not least is the tango. The musical numbers shine under Esther's brilliant direction with a dynamic five piece orchestra. Some standout choral numbers include "When You're An Addams" with their Dead ancestors coming back to life to celebrate what it means to be an Addams, "Full Disclosure" where they play a parlor game disclosing a secret they have, (this song sounds like "We Both Reached for the Gun" from "Chicago") and "Move Towards Darkness" where they sing about becoming a united family once again. The well known TV song is utilized in the stage version and some of the audience sings along with it and claps their hand, too. The impressive set is by Clifton Chadick and the multitude of ghostly and macabre costumes are by Jimmy Johansmeyer.
Leading this cast as Gomez is Steve Gagliastro who commands the stage in this role, handling the comic moments marvelously. He has a top drawer baritone voice and Spanish accent. All of his songs have a Latin flair to them. he sings "Trapped" where he feels badly about keeping a secret from his wife, "Happy/Sad" where he is happy Wednesday found the man of her dreams but sad because she will be leaving them, and the poignant, emotionally draining "Not Today" to his beloved daughter, Wednesday. A standout is "Tango De'Amour" between Gomez and Morticia when his family reunites with the Ancestors dancing the tango with them. Katie Anne Clark whom I last reviewed in "Wonderful Town" plays Morticia wonderfully. She displays her vocal prowess in "Secrets" where she shares her innermost secrets with Lucas' mother and in "Just Around the Corner" where she feels her family doesn't need her anymore which turns into an energetic dance with the ancestors. They do a soft shoe and a kickline during this song. The show stopping duet between Steve and Katie is "Let's Live Before We Die" where Gomez confesses his undying love to his beloved wife.
The rest of the cast lives up to the high standards set by Steve and Katie. Kayla Tomas gives Wednesday the needed backbone and spunk to carry off this role. She takes nonsense from no one at all. Her strong voice is heard in "Pulled" where she Wednesday needs to decide between torturing Pugsley or being in love with Lucas, and in "Crazier than You" when she finally wins the man of her dreams as the two of them and his parents argue on who is crazier? Tall, dark and handsome Brody Karn plays the "normal" Lucas with flair and panache. His acting is top drawer as this character who finally lets his hair down when he allows Wednesday to shoot an apple off his head with a bow and arrow. Brody's powerful voice is heard in "Crazier than You." The biggest scene stealer is Fred Frabotta as the wild and crazy Uncle Fester. He strums a ukulele in the show and sings "But Love" with the ancestors and in "The Moon and Me" he does a dance with the female ancestors. I first reviewed Fred as a musical director for Foothills Theatre in Worcester back in 2006.
Another scene stealer in this show is Connie Anderson as Grandma. Her comic antics and clever one liners are stellar. The audience learns she likes to smoke joints in her room and nobody knows whose mother she really is. One of her funniest lines is to Pugsley telling him to stay away from her stash or she'll rip his leg off. Alexander LeBlanc plays Pugsley and his mischief making leads to a predicament at the end of Act 1. He displays his voice in "What If" as he contemplates losing his sister to her boyfriend. Joseph Torello as Lurch has many funny moments but stops the show with his powerful voice in the last song of the show. Playing the "normal" parents are Jason Loete and Jennifer Mischley as Mal and Alice Beinke who might not be so normal after all. He wants his son to marry Wednesday while she spouts poetry until she is given a potion to bring out her dark side. Jen stops the show with her solo section in "Full Disclosure" as her voice soars off the charts. Kudos to the whole cast and crew for bringing us this musical treat during this beautiful autumn season. The eight talented performers playing the dancing and singing ancestors shine in this show. These topnotch folks are Sarah Burns, Chris Chinesi, Taavon Gamble, Neil Jeronimo, Andy McLeavey, Maiza Miller, Victoria Nason and Alison Russo. So for a fun filled trip back to the mysterious and kooky world of the Addams Family, be sure to catch "The Addams Family" musical before Uncle Fester blasts off to the moon!