By Brooklyn Bill
The show wasn't 100 percent awesome. As Joyce pointed out, Morticia's plot line about becoming dissatisfied with her life and her marriage to Gomez seemed totally out of character. Indeed, almost all of the plot threads were about love problems, which I know are a staple of musicals but don't seem like a great match for a musical about a creepy family that adores the macabre and despises anything sappy. And not that many of the songs were big winners, at least at first listen.
But TAF provided a ton of laughs. The sets were breathtaking. (Though I have a nit to pick about the visible bar holding up the giant, dazzlingly gorgeous Moon in some scenes.) And let's face it, Bebe Neuwirth was born to play Morticia.
All of the actors were terrific. Nathan Lane gets to deliver the majority of the quips as Gomez. Kevin Chamberlain seems to be channeling Jackie Coogan (and I think that was a good thing) as Uncle Fester. Jackie Hoffman is hilarious as Grandma. And I thought Krysta Rodriguez was wonderful as Wednesday even as I was mildly annoyed at the teenage-romance plot that drives the book. She wants to get married—to a grotesquely normal guy from *gasp* Ohio. Joyce grew up outside Cleveland, so she particularly enjoyed all of the jabs at her home state's expense.
I didn't know until I looked at the Playbill during intermission that puppeteer Basil Twist was involved with this production. There were some wonderful creatures and special visual effects sprinkled throughout the show, with perhaps the standout being a delightful interaction between Uncle Fester and the object of his romantic interest, the Moon.
That scene was sandwiched between the two most memorable songs for me: "Just Around the Corner," which opens the second act and is Morticia's big number, and "Happy/Sad," which Gomez sings to Wednesday. The thing around the corner is, reassuringly to Morticia, death; much of life, Gomez says, is a mixture of both of those emotions.
I definitely recommend catching The Addams Family. Opening night is April 8.