There are many signs that get people excited for fall; the Pumpkin Spice Latte becomes available, you feel the sudden urge to go apple picking in Julian, and maybe some leaves will change color. If none of those get you excited to be in a fall mood then may I recommend the fun, spooky, and kooky musical THE ADDAMS FAMILY playing at the Lawrence Welk Theatre through November 10th?
This musical comedy is based on the long running Addams family comic; a loving, witty, and sometimes deadly family who may have macabre interests but their love for each other is real enough. When the audience finds the family Gomez and Morticia (Kevin Hafso-Koppman and Erica Marie Weisz) are still besotted with each other, zany Uncle Fester (Andrew Metzger) is full of mischief and belief in true love, and ever loyal butler Lurch (Berto Fernandez) is still manning the door.
When Wednesday (Chelsea Emma Franko) the poker faced, daughter of darkness falls in love with a “normal” boy named Lucas (Drew Bradford ) she invites him and his family over to the family manor for dinner. Meanwhile, she confides to her father Gomez that she’s going to marry Lucas, but quickly swears him to not tell Morticia yet. Having never kept a secret from her before, Gomez starts to crack under the pressure, which only increases when the blandly nice Mal and Alice Beineke (Steve Gunderson and Nancy Snow Carr) arrive from the Midwest with their son for dinner.
Helping with all of this madness are the ghostly Addams ancestors who Fester won’t let return to the afterlife until this is all resolved with a happily ever after.
Much to Morticia’s horror, Alice is the worst kind of guest; she ends flowers to the house, wears bright colors, and speaks in rhyme when trying to express her feelings. (Morticia is not wrong here, I would be equally horrified if someone came into my house and incessantly spoke in rhyme).
Add in a plotting Pugsley (Blake Ryan) who tries to break up his sister’s romance by dosing a drink with a truth serum, but instead throws both families into turmoil as secrets and feelings are revealed, and Fester’s burgeoning romance with the Moon and you have an undeniably fun musical.
Hafso-Koppman is a wonderfully charming as the comedic and conflicted Gomez, while Weisz’s Morticia is both sensual and severe, with some strong musical comedy moments in Act 2.
Franko ‘s Wednesday is delightfully droll as she struggles with expressing her feelings, and showcasing a powerful voice belting songs like “Pulled” and ”Crazier Than You.” Bradford’s Lucas is engaging and awkward as he tries to impress Gomez and get his blessing and while also trying to handle his own parent’s antics.
Metzger brings an impish sense of mischief to and romance to Uncle Fester and delivers some truly funny moments and zingers based on current events. Fernandez brings a sharp sense of timing to the role of Lurch.
Carr steals the first act finale as her bubbly housewife is suddenly allowed to speak her innermost feelings, and Gunderson makes the most of the overworked, Midwest dad who finds the Addams clan a bit too weird to handle.
The skilled ensemble of ancestors brings a lot of dance moves and personality to the show and round out this talented cast of characters.
Directed by Larry Raben and Noelle Marion the show is true to its source, while flirting with suggestive situations and dialogue. The choreography and movement by Karl Warden makes good use of the stage and in one case is used to great effect in the second act as Uncle Fester serenades the Moon.
The show opens and closes with everyone’s favorite character, Thing, the disembodied hand, setting the mood, who leads the audience in the finger snapping theme song.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is the perfect way to feel like it’s time to celebrate all things slightly spooky and get into the fall frame of mind.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is playing through November 10th at the Welk Resort Theatre in Escondido. For how time and ticket information call 60-749-3448 or go to www.welkresorts.com/san-diego/theatre