'Addams Family' musical comes to Sarasota

'Addams Family' musical aims for creepy, kooky

April 18, 2013 

"The Addams Family" took a singular path to Broadway. It started as a single-panel cartoon (in which the characters were never named) in The New Yorker in the 1930s, became a classic television series in the mid-1960s, then morphed into a moderately successful series of movies, and finally became a musical.

Local audiences will get their first chance to see the creepy and kooky Addams family on stage when the musical makes its Sarasota premiere Monday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

The Broadway run of the show, which starred Bebe Neuwirth, Nathan Lane and Terrence Mann, was successful. It ran for a year and half, closing on New Year's Eve 2011. (Mann grew up in Largo and originated the role of Rum Tum Tugger in "Cats" on Broadway.)

The reviews of the show were largely negative, though. The New York Times called it "A tepid goulash of vaudeville song-and-dance routines, Borscht Belt jokes, stingless sitcom zingers and homey romantic plotlines that were mossy in the age of 'Father Knows Best.' "

So, audiences apparently liked it and critics obviously didn't. It was written by some of the same people who created "Jersey Boys," including longtime Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, so there's some basis for hoping the critics were wrong.

By the way, the musical is based on the original New Yorker cartoons more than on the TV show. The cartoons had a different style of humor, so audiences shouldn't expect a musical version of the sitcom.

Details: 8 p.m. April 22, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $30-$75. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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