By Zac Franzen
“When you’re an Addams, you gotta have a lotta passion”, and that is exactly what the cast of The Addams Family gives its audience at Pinewood Bowl! From the Broadway stage to your local theatre, Pinewood’s 71st production will have you laughing until you die, and that is something that this talented crew knows a lot about.
First debuting on Broadway in 2010, The Addams Family is a macabre family comedy that highlights the craziness in every family. All of the beloved characters, including Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, and Pugsley are thrown into family drama as Gomez faces every father’s worst nightmare: Wednesday Addams, his little dark princess, has fallen in love. After swearing to secrecy about Wednesday’s new love from her mother Morticia, Gomez is torn between a promise to his daughter and keeping his very first secret from his wife. On this frightful evening, chaos is about to ensue as Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas, and his family come for dinner for the first time at the Addams’ household.
Under the phenomenal direction of Courtney Piccoli, the stage comes to life, or death, with the entire Addams family and all their lifeless ancestors in a captivating and energetic opening number about what it is to be an Addams. The story begins to unfold when Wednesday, played by the amazingly talented Claire Wilkinson, tells her father that she has fallen in love and has been engaged to her boyfriend Lucas Beineke. Claire iconizes this role with her lovely voice and her beautifully balanced portrayal of both a dry darkness and being in love. Between some less than enthusiastic remarks and some hilarious side moments to the audience, Sean Flattery, as Gomez, promises his daughter he will keep her secret and not tell Morticia of this disclosure out of Wednesday’s fear that she will ruin the big night with her “un-normal” motherly qualities.
Sean Flattery’s performance of Gomez is an outstanding rendition of the charming and devoted family man who always seems to do more harm than good. Sean really brings this character to life with his fantastic singing, suave physicality, and that captivating accent that he maintains flawlessly throughout the entire performance.
As the story continues to unfold, the rest of the Addam’s family is brought into the mix by a family meeting. In this gathering, Morticia, played by the talented Lindsey Oelling, attempts to shut down Wednesday’s dinner plans but is outvoted by the rest of the family. Lindsey portrays the beautiful and sensual Morticia with ease, and adds to this beloved character with her amazing voice and feisty attitude.
This story, like any other family debacle, wouldn’t be as realistic without some influence from other crazy relatives and a pestering little brother: introducing Uncle Fester, Grandma Addams, and the youngest of the family, Pugsley. Grant Schirmer’s depiction of Uncle Fester is hilarious and engaging. I personally loved how he acts as the unofficial narrator of the show, helping to move along the storyline and directing set changes throughout the show. Also adding to the comedic value of the musical is Grandma Addams, amusingly portrayed by Amy Koepke. Koepke’s unique and creative physicality and vocal attributes enhance this hilarious role, as well as her phenomenal comedic timing. The Addams family wouldn’t be the same without its youngest, troublesome member: Pugsley. Only fourteen years old, Jack McCormick wonderfully takes on the role of the demented, annoying little brother; but don’t let the age fool you. Jack will blow you away and leave you jaw-dropped with his powerful singing voice.
The plot really thickens when the boyfriend, Lucas, and his parents Mal and Alice arrive for dinner. Jacob Vanderford, as Lucas, gives a wonderful performance of the nervous boyfriend who pleads with his parents to be normal just this one night. Sam Ninegar (Mal) and Colleen Bade (Alice) take on the roles of your not-so-average mom and dad. Ninegar portrays a stereotypical dad with great ease, and Colleen’s performance of the ditzy mom will have you laughing out of your seat.
Besides the very talented cast and the amazing performance by the ensemble ancestors, this production utilizes some fantastic technical devices. The stage is illuminated by the quality details and colors of the set, and how it transforms throughout the show with rotating set pieces. The lighting effectively helps to set the tone of the show and adds some really cool effects to the stage. While at first glance the costuming may look fairly simple, it perfectly depicts the classic Addams family look, using a contrast of white and black outfits that symbolize life and death, and adds to the overall effectiveness of the show.
The Pinewood Bowl’s production of The Addams Family is a show that the entire family, and anyone of all ages will enjoy. Don’t miss this phenomenal musical that will have you laughing and, in my case, singing along through the whole show. I guarantee that you will have much more than just a normal night
If you go: Tickets for The Addams Family can be purchased at Pinewoodbowl.org. Tickets are $14.00 for adults, $6.00 for students, and $0.00 for children four and under. The show is playing on Thursday-Sunday nights, July 15th-18th and 22nd-25th starting at 8:00 pm at the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater located at 3201 S Coddington Ave. here in Lincoln.
Zac Franzen began his life in the arts at the age of six years old. His vast experience includes directing, teaching, and countless performances in plays, immersion theatre, poetry, and interp; his personal favorite being musical theatre. Zac is a licensed judged for the state of Nebraska in both Play Production and Speech, traveling across the state to work with students from all schools. He has numerous achievements on both the state and national level, and was accepted to attend Juilliard’s Theatre for the Performing Arts. Zac is a very passionate and engaged person who always promotes the enriching benefits the arts can give for all lives. If the opportunity to partake in any form of theatre has not presented itself to you, there is no doubt Zac will give you a private performance of your own, anywhere and anytime!
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