REVIEW: Join ‘The Addams Family’ for an Evening of Laughs

Avon Players began their 2016-2017 season with the musical drama Assassins and ends it on another high note with The Addams Family, a New Musical Comedy. That’s right. The Addams Family as a… musical. I was skeptical at first. What sorts of songs would be used—different variations of the theme song? Admittedly, I knew nothing about the play other than theatre legends Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane originated the roles of Morticia and Gomez Addams on Broadway. So, as I joined the rest of the theatre-goers on a packed opening night, I tried to keep an optimistic outlook that this wasn’t going to be a farce. And I’m glad I did, because the show exceeded my expectations.

From L – R: Toby Booker (Uncle Fester), Nate Gorman (Pugsley Addams), Eric Rodman (Gomez Addams), Patrick Daniels (Lurch), Johannah steinbrecher-Booker (Morticia Addams), Mackenzie McIlory, Kathy Kade (Grandma Addams)
Photo credit: Avon Players Theatre Facebook Page

From the first familiar notes of the theme song, the audience was engaged (even snapping along) and the actors took their cues from there. Wednesday Addams (played to perfection by Mackenzie McIlroy) has a problem. Well, two problems. The first is that she’s in love with and wants to marry a normal boy, Lucas Beineke (Brendan Johnson). This leads to her second problem: her family, who are anything but normal. The clock is ticking for Wednesday to get her family to promise to be on their best behavior before Lucas arrives for dinner with his straight-laced folks from Ohio—Alice (Lia DiFonzo) who rhymes everything she says, and boorish Mal (Tagg Smith). Eric Rodman entertains as the suave Gomez Addams who wants to make his daughter happy, even if that means keeping his ‘cara mia’ in the dark about Wednesday’s marital plans. Johannah Steibrecher-Booker (Forever Christmas) deftly delivers deadpan and wit as the matron of this motley crew, Morticia Addams. Toby Booker is endearing as Uncle Fester, who turns out to be an unlikely matchmaker in the story. And I think Kathy Kade may have received one of the biggest laughs of the evening as Grandma Addams during the song “Full Disclosure.” Even Lurch (Patrick Daniels) has a few surprises up his too-short sleeves. I also want to give a shout out to Nate Gorman who made his Avon Players debut as Pugsley Addams. Not too many seventh graders could look as comfortable as he did (and hit that high note at the end of “What If”) on a stage full of acting veterans, but he did a fantastic job and was a delight to watch. As they all are.

It always amazes me what the creative team accomplishes with the space they have. Each artistic element used during the performance seamlessly blends to create a production that’s both cinematic and theatrical. There were no first night jitters that I could tell. Just an evening filled with catchy tunes, uproarious laughter, and deliciously wicked fun from beginning to end. It’s no wonder the show ended with a well-deserved standing ovation. If you’re a fan of the show or even the subsequent movies, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you may be surprised to find you like the stage version better! I would even go as far to say this play is more entertaining than anything you’ll find currently showing at the movies. So, if you’re going to spend your hard-earned money, I’d suggest you support local theatre by purchasing a ticket to see The Addams Family.

Tickets for remaining performances can be purchased here or by calling the Avon Players box office at 248-608-9077. All shows are $22 ($20 on Sundays for students and Seniors).

Remaining Performance Dates are:

  • Saturday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 26 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 27 10 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 2 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 3 at 8:00 p.m.

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About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at [email protected].

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