They’re Creepy and They’re Kooky and They do Matinees! New ‘Addams Family’ Musical to Premiere in Chicago
The artwork masterpiece posted above is from a pinball machine made for the 1991 movie version of The Addams Family, which I loved as a kid. It’s been a while since the last movie and now Charles Addams‘ beloved characters are being spun-off again, this time into a new Broadway musical which will be premiering right here in Chicago. And with ads sprouting up in local publications like the Red Eye, the marketing onslaught for the Elephant Eye Theatrical produced musical has already kicked into full gear.
While the idea for a musical adaptation of The Addams Family sounds like something you would come up with after a large bong hit (or two or three), it actually looks promising. Especially the casting of Broadway legends Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia.
The plot will revolve around the couple’s daughter Wednesday, now 18, and her family’s adjustment to her coming-of-age. Like Dirty Dancing, which also premiered here in September, The Addams Family will be opening for previews in November 2009 at the Windy City’s own Oriental Theatre, safely away from the harsh glare of Broadway and the New York theater critics. This strategy has been known to backfire, though. Just ask the producers of The Little Mermaid.
This will be the first major production for Elephant Eye Theatrical. Its CEO, Stuart Oken, has worked in both stage and film and was a former Executive Vice President for Disney Theatricals. He oversaw the productions of shows such as Beauty and Beast and The Lion King during his time there. The Addams Family songbook is being written by composer Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) along with the Jersey Boys writing team Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (whose Turn of the Century had its world premiere at the Goodman Theater late last year).
Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch will direct and design the show. They are the same team who founded England’s Improbable Theater Company, producing such darkly comic plays as Shockhead Peter. They also oversaw Phillip Glass‘ critically acclaimed Sanskrit opera Satyagraha. With them at the helm, The Addams Family is sure to be interesting. Tickets are already on sale, with premium seats going for $170. I’m not sure how many people will be interested in paying that much in this recession, but the show will undoubtedly be a hit regardless. Of course, I thought the same thing about Young Frankenstein.
Below I’ve posted some related clips. Watch the TV spot for the Chicago tryout of the inexplicable stage adaptation of Dirty Dancing, a show that excited no one. Also, watch future Morticia, Bebe Neuwirth, performing “All that Jazz” at the 1997 Tony awards (her version kicks Catherine Zeta Jones‘ ass). And finally, I couldn’t resist posting MC Hammer‘s “Addams Family Rap”, which I think should be used as a show-stopping finale for the stage version. Or maybe they’re going in a different direction…