By Michael Buzzelli
Wednesday (Victoria Buchtan) is full of woe. She’s fallen in love with the very sweet, very normal Lucas Beineke (Palmer Masciola), and has invited him and his parents, Mal (Nate Copeland) and Alice (Kristin Pacelli) to dine with her family at their ancestral home on One Cemetery Lane (not to be confused with the Munster’s who lived over on 1313 Mockingbird Lane), somewhere in Central Park.
Wednesday’s worried about this particular dinner meeting because her family is a bit different from most folks. You could say….they’re creepy and they’re kooky. They’re mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky!
Yes. It’s THAT Addams Family.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’ve just been freshly dug up by Fester (Randy Dicks), you should be familiar with the titular family. There were iterations ad infinitum, starting with the original comic strip by Charles Addams that appeared in the New Yorker. There was a TV show starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones in the 60s. From there, the eponymous first family of fright went to the movies with Raul Julia and Angelica Huston. Then, on to Broadway with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth (you are here). More recently, there are two feature-length cartoon movies, too. Much like their undead relatives, the Addams Family keeps coming back.
Wednesday is afraid of disappointing her parents, Gomez (Brandon Keller) and Morticia (Carina Iannarelli).
She is surrounded by a “not-so-normal family” that includes her aforementioned Uncle Fester, her brother Pugsley (Trisha Holmes), her Grandmama (Jeanne Kmetz-Donovic) and family butler Lurch (Dylan Baughman).
Meanwhile, Pugsley is plotting to administer a vile vial. He wants to pop a potion in Wednesday’s drink at the dinner table, an acrimonious brew that sours the victim suitably titled Acrimonium (not to be confused with the Steelers new stadium). It turns out – that after years of being tortured by his sinister sister – he’s afraid he’ll miss it, because she’ll be spending all her time with Lucas.
All that, and Uncle Fester confesses that’s he’s mooning…over the actual moon. Does the moon feel the same way? Does Fester know what makes Luna tick, or is he just a lunatic?
The musical comedy version was developed by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice more than ten years ago, but, the Addams Family, is ageless. The cast drops in a COVID-19 joke, just to keep up with the times.
“The Addams Family” is a delight. They manage to sing and dance their way into our hearts – instead of stabbing them with a crossbow as per their usual modus operandi.
Comtra produces an amazing version of this Broadway hit. The music was great, but, as it does in most smaller venues, it occasionally overpowers the singers, except Buchtan, who projects past the rafters.
Buchtan is amazing as the Goth girl gone good. She and Masciola belt out “Crazier than you,” and it’s a showstopper!
Keller and Iannarelli get a chance to shine in the darkness. Their voices are superb.
Dicks is a wonderful Fester, channeling Jackie Coogan from Beyond. He gets a chance to pine for his lunar love, surrounded by his undead ancestors.
The dead can dance!
Side note: The Cave Man (Ayden Freed) steals every scene he’s in. He never breaks character, even his bio in the virtual program is full of ooga bungas (now that’s some Method Acting right there!).
The entire cast is terrific. The show is done on a shoestring of a budget, but it doesn’t matter. The cast will win you over with a literal and figurative snap of a finger.
“The Addams Family” runs through October 23 at the Comtra Theatre, 20540 Route 19, Cranberry Township, PA 16066. For more information, click here: https://www.comtratheatre.org/