‘The Addams Family’ is an entertainment legacy that deserves a splashy introduction to the Broadway community, yet with the small melodies by composer Andrew Lippa — a soft attempt at quirky songs that never get quirky enough — the musical comes off like an off-Broadway tuner with a dream of bigger digs.
The iconic Addams mansion is a treat on the stage, conjuring up thoughts of a Hitchcock mystery film. Unfortunately, the only whodunit question floating around the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre is who cobbled this mediocre musical together. And of course, for those that read up on the out-of-town happenings of this musical, the creative team had a last minute shuffle before leaving Chicago for New York. Such a last minute effort to patch this musical up is clearly evident. The musical fails to reach a level of cohesiveness necessary to carry a big budget production like this.
Kudos to the cast for crafting characters unique from the well-known previous incarnations of the Addams clan, although some capture kooky magic more than others. Nathan Lane, as expected, plays Nathan Lane. Scenery beware, there is much chewing to be had throughout the night. Lane’s shtick has grown tiresome over the years, and it is becoming a lazy act on behalf of Broadway’s show creators to continue casting Lane in roles that require actual depth.
Formerly of Broadway’s ‘In the Heights,’ Krysta Rodriguez has the most to work with in this musical adaptation, as the primary plot centers on the eldest Addams child’s lust for love. While her wanting to be “normal” reminded more of that other spooky family, ‘The Munsters,’ some of the gags involving the Addams’ attempts to play straight get the audience clapping. The gags remind of vaudeville humor, with actors entertaining, and even speaking directly to the audience, while standing in front of a lush red curtain.
However, when visual gags are the best part of the production, such as a scene involving Uncle Fester floating through the night sky while serenading the glowing moon or the giant red curtain playing a role with its constant movement and clever framing of various scenes, the show is in trouble.