Addams Family: An Interview with Wednesday and Lucas

An Interview with Wednesday and Lucas

(From Addams Family – the Musical)

By Timothy McGuire

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From left to right – Wesley Taylor (playing ‘Lucas’ in Addams Family) and Krysta Rodriguez (playing ‘Wednesday’)


It was fun as a fan as well as a reviewer to see how excited both Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor are to be a part of the new Addams Family Musical. The two played off each other like old friends with inside looks and slight teasing to go along with their praise of one another. Relaxed and enjoying the moment, both Krysta and Wesley expressed how much of a thrill it has been to be a part of creating an original Broadway production.

Krysta is playing The Addams Family character ‘Wednesday’, but this is not the Wednesday Addams that TV-viewers are familiar with: Wednesday is all grown up now. She is at the difficult age of eighteen where childhood and adulthood tear at you from opposite directions. As Krysta puts it, “Wednesday is torn between her bizarre family’s norms that she grew up with and her new feelings that are more in line with regular people outside of the Addams family.” She is getting softer, not mushy, and she expresses this in the beginning of the show through her song “Pulled (in the wrong direction). “

After Wednesday’s song we meet Lucas Beineke (Wesley Taylor), the boy from school that Wednesday is dating, and this introduces the storyline of the musical. When Lucas Beineke’s parents (your average American Mom and Dad) meet the spooky outrageous Addams family when they get together for dinner at the Addams’ mansion, madness ensues.

Wesley Taylor will be originating a brand new character in his role as Lucas. Wesley auditioned multiple times for the original role of Lucas, without being cast. So when he was not asked to be a part of the first public reading, he assumed that he did not get the part. Something changed after his performance in the successful Broadway production of Rock of Ages. He was again asked to audition and this time he got the part. Telling that story, Wesley admits that he was rather frustrated, and did not understand why he had to read again when they were going to go another way – but in the end it just made his getting the part that much sweeter. With a smile stretching across his face, Wesley acknowledges how lucky he is to encounter the challenges and rollercoaster processes of creating a brand new role within a brand new musical.

Both Wesley and Krysta tell a story, literally interchanging sentences and checking with each other for confirmation, about a day in rehearsal when the show’s composer and lyricist, Andrew Lippa, called Wesley over to his piano and played a song he was currently working on. They started playing a duet together, and Wesley tells me that he was so excited and knew this show was going to be a big original hit. “They were both totally freaking out” interjects Wednesday.

Krysta and Wesley have said that they have had no choice but to become good friends, which is understandable when you work with someone all day everyday. They have been enjoying their free time together in Chicago, eating a lot as both of them will admit. Actually the topic of food brought some big smiles and elbow pokes from both Krysta and Wesley which made me ask where they have been dining out. It appears our good old Chicago style hotdogs are on top of their list.

Go see The Addams Family. (★★★ – our review here)

addamsfamily6Left to right: Krysta Rodriguez, playing Wednesday, and Bebe Neuwirth (Mortisha)

 

addamsfamily3Left to right: Wesley Taylor (Lucas Beineke), Carolee Carmello (Mrs. Beineke) and Nathan Lane (Gomez Addams).

The Addams Family: Lawry’s Spooky-themed dinner special

The perfect Chicago-themed holiday stocking stuffer?

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Acclaimed Chicago restaurant Lawry’s Prime Rib, located in the historic McCormick Mansion, has created, just for Addams Family the Musical, a Creepy and Kooky, Mysterious and Spooky themed dinner.

What does this Addams Family Dinner/Theatre package include?

  • Starters: Eye of Newt Shooter, Green Pimento Olive Suspended in Citrus Jello, Served with a small wedge of Munsters’ Cheese; The Aristotle Salad, Hearts of Romaine Salad, Cucumbers, Green Onions, Lemon Vinaigrette topped with Grilled Octopus; Mon Cherie, Cara Mia Intermezzo, Cherry Sorbetto.
  • The entrée includes Lawry’s Prime Ribs of Beef (8 oz. cut), Au Jus, Yorkshire Pudding, Creamed Spinach a la “Cleopatra,” Mashed Potatoes. Optional entrees include Fresh Grilled Salmon, Vegetarian Pasta.
  • Finish with Thing’s Dessert, Lady Finger Trifle.

A perfect holiday stocking stuffer, the dinner-theatre package includes a “snappy” 2 p.m. matinee performance at the theatre, followed by a 5 p.m. dinner at Lawry’s and is priced at $165 for adults, $140 for children ages 11 and under (plus tax and gratuity). 

 

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For more information, and to order the Addams Family Dinner-Theatre Package, call Lawry’s at  (312) 787-5000 ext. 25.

REVIEW: “The Addams Family – The Musical”

Sizzling Cast – Lukewarm Story

(l-r) Adam Riegler, Jackie Hoffman, Krysta Rodriguez, Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, Zachary James and Kevin Chamberlin. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Addams Family

Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Directed by Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch
thru January 10th (ticket information)

Reviewed by Catey Sullivan

Fair to snappy score, piffling to predictable story and characters of cartoon depth. That about sums up the much-anticipated new musical based on the mordantly brilliant cartoons of Charles Addams. And oh yes, multi-million dollar whiz bang production values and a cast comprised of some of the biggest stars known to the biz of show. Minus Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth – talents as brilliant in their fields as Addams Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane.  Photo by Joan Marcuswas in his – would The Addams Family musical be worthy of its pre-Broadway hype? We’d argue ‘no,’ but that argument’s probably beside the point.

With Lane and Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia Addams, the score and the book could be a creation of cringing mediocrity and nobody’d much notice. Lane can – and here, does – wrest belly laughs from jokes that would fall flatter than a week-old, lead-lined pancake if delivered by lesser lights. Neuwirth is his match as the slinky, femme-fatale mistress of the ooky-spooky mansion. With legs and hair that go from here ‘til eternity and a whiskey-and-velvet alto voice that screams “come hither” even when it says something completely different, she simply kills it as Morticia.

As for the story that contains these luminaries, think “You Can’t Take It With You” with ghosts and monsters. Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s book focuses on Wednesday Addams (Krysta Rodriguez, instilling Wednesday with a definite S & M flair) and her romance with the comparatively normal Lucas Beineke (Wesley Taylor, the clean-cut ‘M’ to Rodriguez’ domineering ‘S’). As in Kaufman and Hart’s depression-era classic, the romance is complicated by clashing parents. Lucas’s folks are prim, proper and repressed. The Addamses? Not so much.

Wackiness ensues when the buttoned-up Beinekes are confronted with the questionably alive Lurch (Zachary James, a literally towering presence whose basso profundo steals the show in the finale) upon entering the Addams’ Central Park manse. It ensues further as the Beinekes contend with lovesick sea-monsters, chairs that double as castration devices, saber-rattling ghosts and hosts and the shamelessly demonstrative lustful affection between Morticia and Gomez.

"The Addams Family" continues through Jan. 10 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets are $28 - $105. For more information, go to www.broadwayinchicago.comAndrew Lippa’s score is colored throughout by Gomez’ Spanish ancestry. Its flamenco/tango stylings are serviceable, but in all, the music is more flash than depth. Curiously, the best songs don’t go to Lane or Neuwirth. The latter’s big number comes with “Second Banana”, an utterly forgettable lament about aging. Lane gets “Happy/Sad,” a second act crooner that is sweet but generic. It is Mrs. Bieneke (Carolee Carmello, a belter of deceptively mousy demeanor) who gets the Act I showstopper (“Waiting”) and Mr. Bieneke (Terrence Mann, in fine voice) who raises the roof and brings down the house in Act II with “In the Arms,” a hilarious ode to cephalopod love.

As for the big 11 O’Clock penultimate finale, that has more to do with swashbuckling spectacle and an all-hands-on-deck sword fight than with musical virtuosity. (Choreographer Sergio Trujillo draws a page from “Thriller” for much of the rest of the show, as a chorus of the dead engages in lively dances with gravestones. ) If you’re waiting for a star turn (a la The Producers “Betrayed”) that puts Lane’s incandescent leading man capabilities in the white-hot light they deserve, it never arrives. As far as the score is concerned, Lane’s role is oddly underwritten.

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Director/designers Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch have crafted a show that looks thrilling and moves at a spirited clip. That’s all well and good – but hardly the stuff of a deserving Broadway blockbuster.

Fans of the 1960s “Addams Family” television series will find all the show’s deliciously macabre eccentricities in place. Cousin Itt makes an appearance. “Thing” is featured prominently. Fester (an infectiously gleeful Kevin Chamberlin) serves as both narrator and odd-man Greek chorus of sorts. Ukulele in hand, he gets some of the evening’s most creative special effects (and amusing choreography) in a free-floating love song to the moon. And as Grandma, Jackie Hoffman makes the mighty most of a small part, delivering the show’s best lines with a pitch-perfect irreverence that stops the show with every punchline.

For boomers who loved the finger-snapping show, The Addams Family is a must. Ditto for those who treasure any chance to see Lane and Neuwirth perform live. For the rest, there’s just not much there.

Rating: ★★★

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The Addams Family” continues through Jan. 10 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph Street. Tickets are $28 – $105. For more information, go to www.broadwayinchicago.com

View Addams Family - the Musical

“Addams Family – the Musical” opens this weekend!!

 

UPDATE: Read our review3 stars!!   click here

 

After months of anticipation, The Addams Family (with music/lyrics by Andrew Lippa), finally begins previews this weekend, starting November 13, 2009 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre. Starring two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia, The Addams Family  will make its world premiere on Wednesday, December 9.  Official website.

Some of the Addams Family famous cast:

  Nathan Lane as “Gomez”

  Bebe Neuwirth as “Mortisha”

Nathan Lane  

Bebe Neuwirth  

   
  Adam Riegler as “Pugsley”

  Terrence Mann as “Mal Beineke”

Adam Riegler  

Terrence Mann  

   
  Krysta Rodriguez as “Wednesday”

Kevin Chamberlain as “Uncle Fester”
Krysta Rodriguez  

Kevin Chamberlin 
   
  Wesley Taylor as Lucas Beineke

  Zachary James as “Lurch”

Wesley Taylor  

Zachary James  

Addams Family – an interview with Lurch (Zachary James)

Lurch interview (Zachary James)

Talking With Lurch (Zachary James)

by Timothy McGuire

One could easily make the assumption that Zachary James will be playing quite possibly the most intriguing Lurch ever written, with a musical surprise coming from the man Charles Addams described as a “towering mute.”

This extremely tall (possibly 12 feet?) handsome, bald man has his character Lurch’s physical demeanor down pat – when he demonstrated how Lurch stands hunched over with his arms locked straight holding a serving tray at his knees, he had me sold. In addition to this, James just happens to be a talented and accomplished opera singer as well as proven acting ability to go along with his powerful voice

James gave credit to producer Stuart Oken saying,

“Stuart took the time to look at each individual.”

James said that the talent in all aspects of this production, on stage and off stage, is what will make Addams Family a great musical.

Admitting to being nervous at first knowing he’d be working with Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) and Nathan Lane (Gomez), James’ admission that, as a kid, he had watched the movie “Bird On a Wire” over a dozen times proved how he could be slightly intimidated to work with Lane.

 

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But Zachary James is a rising star on his own right. After his role in Broadway’s South Pacific he had a desire to sing more and perform the kind of songs that he wanted to sing. In South Pacific he felt that he was out there singing for five minutes and spent the rest of the time in the dressing room while others performed. He wanted to be on stage singing! With a recent break up motivating his personal story line, Zachary James has created and self-directs his own small New York opera company, which strives to make opera more available and affordable to the public, providing a uniquely powerful experience by performing in smaller intimate settings.

Even with his grueling rehearsal schedule he found time to hold a one night performance of his latest one man opera (Imbecil D’Amour) last Saturday at Gorilla Tango Theatre, giving people a chance to hear a renowned opera singer perform just a couple feet away from them for just $10. His passion drives his performances, and his talent backs him up.

If you see a tall, lean and lanky, bald giant walking on the streets of Chicago, don’t be alarmed, it’s just Lurch in the new Addams Family – The Musical.

 

Trailer for “Addams Family – The Musical”

A quick peek at The Addams Family cast! Coming to Chicago this fall for its world premiere pre-Broadway engagement at the Oriental Theatre.

"Addams Family – The Musical" – Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth participate in first public reading

 

UPDATE: Read our review3 stars!!    review

 

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Wow – Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this same list of Broadway stars headline the pre-Broadway Chicago production?  And doesn’t Bebe Neuwirth seem like the perfect Morticia Addams? 

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Excerpts from the Playbill-Online article:

The cast of this developmental workshop includes Nathan Lane as Gomez, Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Kevin Chamberlin as Fester, Zachary James as Lurch, Mary Louise Burke as Grandmama, Terrence Mann, Jan Maxwell and more. As is often the case with readings and workshops, this does not necessarily reflect what the final production casting will be.

As previously announced, the musical will make its world premiere Nov. 13, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago, prior to a spring 2010 launch on Broadway.

With a book by Marshall Brickman and partner Rick Elice (librettists of the 2006 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys) and music and lyrics by Drama Desk Award-winning composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), the musical is wholly original and not based on Addams Family material from other media.

Produced by Elephant Eye Theatrical and Roy Furman, The Addams Family has direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, the creators of Shockheaded Peter.

The Addams Family creative team also includes choreographer Sergio Trujillo, lighting designer Natasha Katz and musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

For more information on the premiere engagement of The Addams Family, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.  Read the entire article here.

UPDATE: Addams Family opens in Chicago!!!