The Addams Family Prepares for Chicago

(L to R: Lane; Neuwirth; Chamberlain; Hoffman; Carmello; Mann)

Details were announced yesterday, including plot and casting, for the upcoming pre-Broadway engagement The Addams Family — an Andrew Lippa/Marshall Brickman/Rick Elice musical adaptation of the Charles Addams comic series.

Chris Jones provides a detailed report here.

As announced several months ago, Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane will star as Morticia and Gomez, respectively. Great casting, I say. Neuwirth’s deep, smokey voice and vampish physicality will lend nicely to the black begowned and bewigged gothtress. Lane isn’t the first person who comes to mind for Gomez, but it’s about time he returns to lead a big musical comedy. I’m expecting him to bring some showbiz flash.

Broadway favorites Terrance Mann and Carolee Carmello play the Beineke’s — the “normal” family who moves next door to the Addams. Apparently their son, Lucas, begins to date Wednesday, and all sorts of musical comedy mayhem ensues. Let’s hope Carmello gets a moment to belt a song or three. And thank God she’s moving on from Mama Mia, where she’s been starring on Broadway for a number of years.

Jackie Hoffman, fresh from her stint in Broadway’s Xanadu, will bring her trademark rubber-faced comedic skills to the role of Mother, and Kevin Chamberlain rounds out the leading cast as Uncle Fester.

I’m most excited to learn that Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch will lend their off-centered and avant-garde aesthetic to the show. This British team was responsible for Shockheaded Peter, a show I almost saw in Ann Arbor eight years ago (but it was canceled due to 9/11 occuring a few days before the performance.) The producers could have easily hired trusty stalwarts such as Robin Wagner (The Producers) or Eugene Lee (Wicked), but they, thankfully, took a risk.

I’m also glad the producers are looking to the original Charles Addams cartoons for inspiration rather than relying on the Hollywood/TV versions. It’s always interesting to build something new than copy.

This show has “potential” written all over it. The Chicago engagement begins November 13, 2009 and runs through January 10, 2010, however I bet it will extend.

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