Cast forecast: The Addams Family
Thu Jul 23 2009
Among the most anticipated new musicals of the upcoming Broadway season is The Addams Family, which yesterday announced its official dates: It will start previews on March 4 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, and open on April 8. (Its pre-Broadway Chicago engagement at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts begins on November 13—and yes, that's a Friday.) There are many reasons to look forward to this show: the continued appeal of the deliciously dark Charles Addams cartoons from which it is adapted; the proven skill of its book writers, the Jersey Boys team of Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice; the considerable promise of its talented composer, Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), in his first full Broadway score. But above all else, there is the cast.
Has any star in musical-theater history been better suited to the role of femme-fatale materfamilias Morticia Addams than the mordant Bebe Neuwirth? Could any male costar, as Gomez Addams, balance her better than the peerless Nathan Lane? Doesn't Kevin Chamberlin (best remembered as Horton the Elephant in Seussical) seem exactly right as the bald, lumbering, heavyset, strangely sweet Uncle Fester? And is there a funnier mugger in New York to play the cranky Grandmama than the queen of kvetch herself, Jackie Hoffman?
And that's not all. It is not yet clear what the plot of the show will involve, but it seems as though there will be a normal family onstage to serve as straight men for the Addams Family's morbid weirdness. The mother and father in this family will be two first-rate Broadway veterans: Carolee Carmello (Parade) and Terrence Mann (Les Miserables). Playing their son, presumably a love interest for Wednesday Addams, will be Rock of Ages scene stealer Wesley Taylor. And as Pugsley Addams? How about Adam Riegler, best known from his YouTube star turn as Cubby Bernstein? Yes, yes: He'll do nicely.
Even the two relatively unknown members of the announced cast seem to have been chosen with a particularly sharp eye. The hulking butler, Lurch, will be embodied by Zachary James; to see how physically perfect he is for the part, check out this picture on his website. And Krysta Rodriguez, who has bided her time in the ensembles of a number of Broadway shows, including Spring Awakening and Into the Heights, appears to be just the right type for Wednesday Addams as well; here she is in roughly appropriate colors. (In this version, she is older than she was in the original cartoons or the TV show and movies they inspired.)
A million things can go wrong with a musical, as everyone knows, so there is no way to predict whether all of The Addams Family's promises will be kept. But the seeming perfection of its ensemble gives it a big leg up as it prepares for its Broadway run.