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Addams Family to cast a spell on Salt Lake City (Des News)

Monday, 12 November 2012 15:38
Cortney Wolfson as Wednesday and Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley in "The Addams Family." (Jeremy Daniel) Cortney Wolfson as Wednesday and Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley in "The Addams Family." (Jeremy Daniel)

Ready for some 'ooky' fun? 

By Erica Hansen for the Deseret News

Duh–na-na-na. Snap! Snap!

Duh-na-na-na. Snap! Snap!

With a pseudo-Latin family credo ofSic gorgiamus allos subjectos nunc — meaning "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us" — the macabre Addams Family is about to cast a spell on Salt Lake City.

Morticia, Gomez, Lurch and the rest of the Addams clan come to life in this new "glitzy, gloomy musical."

Though The Addams Family has become of bit of Americana, being adapted for television, films even video games, the Broadway musical is based on the original comic strips of American cartoonist Charles Addams — single panel cartoons that ran in The New Yorker from 1938 to 1988.

"We looked at the cartoons quite a bit during rehearsals," said actor Tom Corbeil, the towering man who plays Lurch. "We looked at poise, body positioning and physical cues."

"It can be really scary," Corbeil said of playing such a recognizable character. "In some ways you have some big shoes to fill and in my case VERY big shoes. Before rehearsal I went into panic mode."

But the director didn't want the cast to start watching shows. "We kept the focus on the relationships to the family. It really gave everybody a chance to find a personal connection," Corbeil said.

The personal connection to the off-kilter family has been the tie that binds fans to the "ooky" family for decades. "They're a different family than most but in a lot of ways, they're very similar."

After a shorter-than-hoped-for Broadway run and a few less than glowing reviews, the creative team went back to the drawing board and made some tweaks.

"When the tour came around, the entire artistic team came back together and reworked it," Corbeil said. "They took out two or three songs and put in three new ones. They centered the story more on Gomez and Morticia instead of Wednesday and her boyfriend."

This installment of the morose clan is about daughter Wednesday falling in love with a "normal" boy from a respectable family. She's not met his folks, but more importantly, neither he nor his parents has met hers.

"They made such a smart choice in changing the focus of the show," said actress Sara Gettelfinger, the 6-foot beauty who plays Morticia. "It gives it such depth — their little girl is growing up and she's not ready and they're not ready and it shows it affects them as a couple, how it affects them as parents and how it affects them as individuals."

With the tour's catchy score, familiar characters and a reworked plot, fans and Addams novices alike are responding positively. "You do not have to be a super fan of the series to follow along," Gettelfinger said. "All the loved characters are definitely there but it's a really fresh story."

Though Gettelfinger does note, for diehards, there are plenty of homages to the series. "There are some one-liners but it's mostly visual. They use 'Thing' and 'It' in clever ways and there are little homages to the show as far as the monster under the bed and the headless flower and stuff like that."

She adds, "It's such a great night out for the family and a great way to get young folks introduced to theater. You don't always want to do Shakespeare, but you don't want to go to see 'Barney.' This is smart, it's really funny and our cast is dedicated to giving 110 percent every night."

Corbell said, "We all just feel so fortunate. The artistic staff and cast are really happy with this production and we've had so many grateful audiences. I always tell people, 'If you don't like having fun, don't come.'"

If you go ...

What: The Addams Family — The Broadway Musical," national tour

When: Nov. 13-18, times vary, matinees available

Where: Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South

How much: $30-$65

Web: www.arttix.org

Phone: 801-355-2787