The Addams Family - The Musical
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on Characters Created by Charles Addams
Hundreds of years ago, the Addams family ancestors came from the old country and settled on a plot of land in what is now New York's Central Park. This was, of course,
long before it was a park, when it was still wilderness and garbage. The family flourished for many generations, and eventually, a huge house was built where a great Spanish oak, the Addams Family Tree, had been planted to protect the ancestral graves from such annoyances as sunlight and tourists.
As the curtain rises, the last dead leaf of autumn falls from the Family Tree, and all is right with the morbid, macabre world of Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch. They've gathered - where else? - in the family graveyard, to celebrate life and death in a yearly ritual to connect with their past and ensure their future. They seem at peace, not just with each other and their inimitable, unchanging Addams-ness, but with their dead ancestors, too - who emerge from their graves on this night each year to join in this celebration of continuity.
But, at the end of the ritual, Fester blocks the ancestors' return to their graves. Those unchanging Addams family values are about to be tested. Fester enlists their help to set things right, just in case a new family secret goes terribly wrong. What's the secret? Wednesday Addams, that irresistible bundle of malice, has grown up and found love. So what's the problem? The young man, Lucas Beineke, is from Ohio, and his parents are coming to dinner to meet the family. Two different worlds are about to collide. Will love triumph, or will everyone go home vaguely depressed?
Gomez and Morticia are understandably leery. Wednesday is their baby, even if she is eighteen. Their doubts bloom into actual terror when they eavesdrop on Wednesday, who, in the midst of her afternoon play-date with Pugsley, refuses to torture her brother and involuntarily bursts into song - extolling all things bright and beautiful as love pulls her in an entirely new, and cheerful, direction. Like any parents faced with a child in terrible trouble, Gomez and Morticia wonder, "Where did we go wrong?" Wednesday begs her parents not to cancel the dinner, and exhorts the entire family to act as 'normal' as possible when Lucas and his parents arrive. She loves her family just the way they are, but they clearly fall outside the realm of what the Middle-American Beinekes are used to, and Wednesday's afraid that, if his parents don't approve of her, they'll take Lucas back to Ohio, and she'll never see him again. Like any unconditionally loving family, the Addams' promise to do their best to oblige, while, lost somewhere in Central Park, young Lucas asks his parents to resist any judgments and all catastrophic conflicts, so both families can enjoy one normal night.
In yet another part of the house, Pugsley, having witnessed Wednesday and Lucas making out, worries that he's lost his best friend to her new, disgustingly sunny disposition. Plotting to break up the happy couple, Pugsley steals a volatile potion from Grandma's private stache - Acrimonium - one swig of which is guaranteed to bring out the dark side in anyone who drinks it. After what is likely a less-than-normal meal, Wednesday quiets the table for Lucas' surprise announcement. But Gomez reminds Wednesday that, before anything else happens, it's time for the traditional Addams family game, "Full Disclosure" - during which everyone takes a sip from a sacred chalice and reveals something they've never told anyone. Gomez uses his Disclosure to try, again in vain, to calm Morticia. Fester announces that he's in the throes of a most unlikely love - with the moon. When it's Wednesday's turn, Pugsley seizes his chance! He secretly pours the Acrimonium potion in the chalice and passes it to his sister. But his plan to awaken the dark side in Wednesday goes horribly wrong when Alice, coughing, intercepts the chalice and downs the potion instead. A whole new Alice, very dark and uninhibited, is born. The powerful poison prompts her to reveal the long-buried problems with her marriage, humiliating Mal, who, fed up with all the weird and creepy events of the evening, makes to leave, with Alice and Lucas in tow. Wednesday blurts out the news: "Lucas and I are getting married!" Chaos engulfs both families like a tidal wave, and Fester, ever-helpful, urges the Family Ancestors to work some magic - whipping up a sudden, terrible storm and trapping the Beinekes with the Addams family for the night.
While the storm rages, Wednesday packs a bag, but Lucas has no appetite for running away and getting married without his parents' blessing. Wednesday, furious at everything it means to be normal, and furious at herself for trying so hard to become somebody his parents would accept,leaves alone. One more of Gomez' foot-in-mouth episodes prompts Morticia to throw him out of her boudoir. Her world is changing and she's not ready, and her only comfort is knowing that death is waiting for her, just around the corner. But it is very cold comfort indeed.
In the guest room, Alice, under the influence of the darkness potion, can no longer rhyme. Neither can she tolerate her husband's cynical attacks on Lucas and love. She packs him off with a pillow and blanket to sleep somewhere else, as the storm inside her heart, and outside in the park, rumbles to a conclusion. Once the rains have stopped, Fester heads outside for a couple of hours of moon-bathing, realizing - after observing the three couples fighting - the sheer luck of being in a long-distance relationship, with the distant silver orb in the sky that smiles down on him from the heavens. Sitting under the family tree, contemplating the twists and turns of this most unusual night,Gomez stops Wednesday on her way out of the park. He realizes the thing he was most resistant to - his baby girl's growing up - is inevitable, and proper. He sees that she's a young woman in love. And that makes him happy. And a tiny bit sad.
With her father's blessing, Wednesday offers Lucas one test to prove that he's The One. The test involves her skills with a crossbow, an apple, and Lucas standing with said apple on his head in front of the family tree. The boy is afraid of death, but even more afraid of losing Wednesday. He chooses the possibility of death over the certainty of loss - and wins. Far below, in the grotto, Gomez and Mal, two displaced husbands, realize they have more in common than they would have dared imagine only a few hours earlier. While Mal is with Gomez, Lurch ushers Alice down to the grotto. She's a woman on a mission; she's going to lay down the law; changes must be made if the marriage is to survive.
Morticia packs a bag and is ready to leave. But the ancestors' spirits have led Gomez to find her. The other warring couples, Wednesday and Lucas, Alice and Mal, have made their peace. Now Gomez woos his wife, as he first did one night many years before, with the promise to "laugh and cry and dance until the very gods weep with envy." The mournful strains of a bandoneon waft up on the breeze, entwining with the tempting wail of a violin - and a tango begins - the Tango de Amor, the quintessence of Eros, the dance that makes men weep and women cry out in the night. The irresistible expression of love between husband and wife. And Morticia cannot resist.
With all three couples reunited, Fester is emboldened to make his move, and launches himself to the moon. Landing safely, his face appears - the man in the moon - and, love having emphatically triumphed in heaven and on earth, the gate to the family crypt swings open, allowing the spirits of the ancestors to rest for another year.
It's been a night of darkness. Everything's changed. And the new, extended family understands: The unknown may be frightening, the darkness overwhelming,but if we don't run from it, we may see our mysterious, miraculous lives finally illuminated. If we move toward the darkness, we might find love and acceptance.
For when it is dark enough, we can see the stars.
Director - Kevin Hogg
Musical Director - Jamie Cordell
Choreographer - Shash Rault
The Addams Family the Musical - Principal Auditions Results
Thanks to everyone who came along to the auditions on Sunday morning. The panel would like to thank you all for an extremely entertaining morning. The results so far are as below.
Gomez : Ziggi Szafranski
Morticia Addams : Jane Hogg
Wednesday Addams : Philippa Kennedy
Pugsley Addams : Ewan Murphy
Fester Addams : Chris Whitebread
Grandma Addams : Debbie Martin
Lurch Addams : Tom Allen
Lucas Beinecke : Jon Bingham
Mal Beinecke : Mark Nicholson
Alice Beinecke : Lynda Barrett-Mercer
We are now fully cast for the show and we are delighted with the results. Thanks to everyone for all their preparation and presentation.
Please look at the ESOSOC Facebook page regularly for notification about rehearsals as well as this website where will update rehearsal schedules.
ESOSOC - The Addams Family
22nd November 2014
This unique musical may not appeal to every taste, being so macabre and, as a well known politician said "having something of the night" about it. A great deal more than "something" I'd say!
The brainchild of Charles Addams, a cartoonist in The New Yorker from before World War 2, this musical has rightly become a cult. Music and lyrics are by Andrew Lippa, not a name to set alongside Rogers and Hammerstein, the Gershwins or Cole Porter perhaps, despite composing several Broadway shows. That being said, this is a humdinger of a show that the cast of ESOSOC greatly enjoyed as was obvious on the night I attended (the first night), not to mention the audience.
The merger of East Surrey Operatic and the Opera Club (of Reigate and Redhill) has created a huge pool of talent from which to cast the show. This talented cast should meet again in twenty years to remember this show. Following in the footsteps of showbiz god Nathan Lane, as Gomez Addams, Ziggy Szafranski must have been nervous, but he possesses a maturity way beyond his slender years. He has a huge stage presence and was mightily assured with great comic timing.
Matching this paragon step for step as Morticia was Jane Hogg bringing real depth to this mother and wife. Her singing in "Just around the corner" was a highlight of the evening. I loved too the performance of Philippa Kennedy as Wednesday Addams (Wednesday's child is full of woe). This is a young lady of whom more will be heard, mark my words. She showed a range of emotions very rare in one so young.
Uncle Fester, a peach of a role with the show's best song "The Moon and Me", was played with comic brilliance and lightness of touch by Chris Whitebread. If you did not like his performance, you don't like theatre.
Young Ewan Murphy as Pugsley is just 12, going on 32 in confidence, and born to be on the stage. His solo "What if" was sung with real emotion.
Playing the 102 year old mother of either Gomez or Morticia (Who knows! They didn't!) was all in a day's work for Debbie Martin, a potty grandma with a malevolent streak - quite superbly made up by the splendid make-up team, led by Tamsin Blain. She must have enjoyed this wonderful role almost as much as I enjoyed watching her performance.
Tom Allen as Lurch, the giant butler was the epitome of the 1960s TV Lurch, cumbersome, grunting and then marvellously, getting to sing at the end - Oh! what fun.
The "normal" family were Lucas Beineke, played with great skill and a superb voice by young Jon Bingham. His scenes with his sweetheart Wednesday were a delight, their impending engagement being at the heart of the story. Mal and Alice Beineke, his parents, were played by Mark Nicholson and Lynda Barrett-Mercer. Mal was suitably appalled at what he found upon arrival at the Addams home, but Alice did hit it off with Morticia and, in the "Full disclosure" scenes, with everyone at the table, got fully into the spirit of the game. She clambered with some difficulty, but resolute determination onto the long dining table to great comic effect. Both Mark and Lynda made the most of their "normal" characters as bit by bit they were engulfed by the Addams lifestyle.
There was a long list of ghostly Addams ancestors, clad in wonderful costumes through the several centuries, arriving early in the show to further complicate the impending engagement.
Music under the sure direction of Jamie Cordell really enhanced this surprisingly attractive score. There were one or two tunes below par as in almost any show, but the execution ws well above par. No singer was drowned, but all supported as one should expect.
The choreography was something of a triumph with some stunning routines danced almost to perfection. Shash Rault is clearly a master of her art and she was very well supported by a talented and enthusiastic company.
Director Kevin Hogg perfectly captured the essence of the show, bringing out the most of the humour and the horror jokes. The main magnificent set comprising the Addams house added a faded splendour and a real gothic feel. The use of the ancestors posing on the staircase with their picture frames was inspired.
Lighting design and operation so vital in this, of all shows, played a major part in the real atmosphere so prevalent on stage throughout. Wardrobe was provided by Lois Hatt and Sue Bracher who had clearly spent hour after long hour to attain this standard and I must also mention the hair and wigs - fitted by the ten make-up ladies - which were frankly sensational.
All in all, this was a professional standard show put on by ESOSOC, an amateur (in theory) company. It was a privilege to see and, as a NODA rep. I am massively reassured at the healthy state of amateur theatre in mid-Surrey.