Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Funky Fun with the “The Addams Family” at Moonlight

For the final installment of its summer season Moonlight Stage Productions is mounting “The Addams Family- A New musical Comedy”. It’s a doozy! If you’ve never met the Addams’ you are in for a treat…well, maybe treat is a bit too misleading.

You’re in for a goulash romp through Central Park and areas most don’t live to talk about, the crypts of The Addams Family ancestors. It does sound a bit weird, but I’m in uncharted territory here.

“The Addams Family opened on Broadway in 2010 starring Nathan Lane as the head of the Gomez family. Moonlight’s cast includes our very talented and smooth David Engel as Gomez Addams, patriarch and lovely Terra C. MacLeod as his wife Morticia Addams. They are a hoot together. That’s not to say the rest of The Addams’ aren’t a hoot as well.

“The Addams Family” with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa is based on the Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams’ cartoons but the story that was Broadway bound is original.

In 1964 “The Addams Family” became a TV series (for two years), later, a morning cartoon for the Sat. morning contingency of kids tuned in to cartoons and in the ‘90’s several movies appeared on the big screen.

Guessing from the audience participation the night I attended, most were familiar with the overture from the TV theme by snapping their fingers and swaying back and fourth as conductor Julie Lamoureux and her fine orchestra began playing. Randi Ellen Rudolph is musical director.

If you like ghoulish, you will love this show; it’s just this side of the macabre, but not to fear it all ends happily ever after especially for those living above ground. For a short time all the ancestors come up to the surface for a family gathering, but let’s face it, they would rather be at home doing their thing underground.

Randall Hickman and Ancestors
Most of the ancestors work is looking ghoulish, wandering around the household and blending in (sort of) as the ensemble, singing and dancing. (Karl Warden choreographs). Recognizable as a few of the ten Addams ancestors include Kate Whalley Banville (“Big Fish”), Danny Hansen (“Shrek”) and Eric Michael Parker  (“Titanic”).

This year Uncle Fester (Randall Hickman in a role just made for him: “The Moon and Me”) tells them that he needs their help with the Wednesday problem. They cannot return to their crypt until Wednesday and Lucas are happily married.

Daughter Wednesday (Lindsay Joan is in top form) has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke (Nick Eiter) a young man she met one night wandering about the park (Central that is). They want to get married but the families have a few objections. He is after all, an outsider.

It seems Wednesday has been transformed from sad sack and depressed to happy. This is not a good position for an Addams to tolerate. She confides in her father that she wants the family to invite the Beineke family to dinner for a ‘meet and greet’.

All hell breaks lose when Mom Morticia hears about the dinner and decides to play the “Full Disclosure” game with the new in-laws. OY!

In the meantime brother Pugsley, (Ryan Singer) steals Grandmas (Samantha Wynn Greenstone) magical potions ‘that will bring out someone’s dark nature’ that was intended for Wednesday and ends up being downed by Alice Beineke (a deliciously funny Eileen Bowman) to calm her coughing fit.

Director James Vasquez, making his directorial debut, and his very capable cast bring out the best there is with their collective talent to elevate a rather ho hum story to a rather pleasant evening of entertainment.

David Engel and Terra MacLeod
Engel and MacLeod are a natural together. There is a chemistry between that gives an authentic feel to the story as they each try coping with their daughter’s newly found love. Their famous tango, “Love Before We Die”, is one of the many happy surprises.

Others include Randall Hickman (a giant of a figure) and Bowman dressed in her yellow dress (Roslyn Lehman, Renetta Lloyd and Carlotta Malone) who almost steal the show…she with her hilariously physical shtick after she gulps down the magical potion and he in his love song to the moon which is pretty heart rendering considering the bulk behind the man.

Randall Hickman, Ryan Singer, Terra C. MacLeod, Dustin Ceithamer, David Engel, Lindsay Joan and Samantha Wynn Greenstone
Dustin Ceithamer is Lurch (“Big Fish) the head servant of The Addams household. Now taken by itself this is not big deal, but Dustin is so tall I thought he was on stilts. You can’t miss him

Jean-Yves Tessier’s lighting design, Jim Zadai’s sound, and Kathleen Kenna’s makeup, all add up to one big celebration of the uniqueness that lives in each and every one of us.

Overall the Moonlight summer season has been one to be proud of for producing artistic director Steven Glaudini.

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through Oct. 1st
Organization: Moonlight Stage Productions
Phone: 760-724-2110
Production Type: Musical Comedy
Where: Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale terrace Drive, Vista. CA
Ticket Prices: $10.00-$55.00
Web: moonlightstage.com
Venue: Moonlight Amphitheatre
Photo: Ken Jacques

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