Monday, September 23, 2019

A Ghoulish Romp With “The Addams Family “At Welk Resort Theatre.

If you’re looking for a fun theatrical treat, look no further than Welk Resort Theatre’s “The Addams Family-A New Musical Comedy” now playing through Nov. 10th in the cozy village theatre that Mr. Welk and family built for musical theatre lovers.
Dinner with the Addams Family

Spending time with the Adams Family, Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Grandma, and the zombie looking Lurch, the butler (Berto Fernandez) is a haunting, macabre -but one of a kind experience.

“The Addams Family” with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa is based on the Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams’ cartoons but the story that was Broadway bound is original.

In 1964 “The Addams Family” became a TV series and later a morning cartoon for the Sat. morning contingency of kids who tuned in to watch cartoons long before electronic devices over took their brains. In the ‘90’s several movies appeared on the big screen.
Chelsea Emma Franko, Drew Bradford, Nancy Snow Carr and Steve Gunderson
The story opens at the crypts of The Addams Family ancestors. Once a year they come out, so to speak, for a family reunion. This particular family visit didn’t end as well as expected for the ancestor’s. The gates of the crypts closed too soon leaving the dearly departed engaged in problem solving before the gates would open again for them.

Here’s the pitch: 18 -year -old Wednesday Addams (performed by the talented Chelsea Emma Franko) wants to host her boyfriend’s (swing state) Ohio family for a dinner party. It will be a first for the Addams’ to dine with ‘outsiders’. No doubt it will be an eye opener for the Beineke’s, Mal and Alice (Steve Gunderson and Nancy Snow Carr).

Cast of Addams Family-A New Musical Comedy
At the gates, Uncle Fester (an amazingly talented and cuddly cute (if you can call it that- Andrew Metzger) “The Moon and Me”, tells the ‘family’ that he needs their help with the ‘Wednesday problem’. They cannot return to their crypt until Wednesday and Lucas (Drew Bradford) are happily married. (“Festers Manifesto”)

It seems daughter Wednesday has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke a young man she met one night wandering about the park. It was love at first sight; pledges were made and a ring exchanged. They want to get married but her family has a few objections. As an outsider, there will be some getting used to well… a different way of being.

Andrew Metzger as Uncle Fester
On the other hand love has transformed Wednesday from black sack to bright and happy; from all black to bright yellow, a color her mother cannot, absolutely cannot abide (the talented Janet Pitcher costume coordinator). Wednesday confides in her father, (but not to tell her mother) that she wants the family to invite the Beineke family, to dinner for a ‘meet and greet’.

All hell breaks lose when Mom Morticia hears about the invite and dinner. She’ll reluctantly go along but for a little revenge for not being kept in the loop, decides to play the “Full Disclosure” game with the new in-laws. (“Full Disclosure”)

In the meantime mischief making son Pugsley, (Blake Ryan) steals Grandma’s (Kat Fitzpatrick) magical truth potions ‘that will bring out someone’s dark nature’. At the dinner he intended it for Wednesday but it ends up being downed by Alice Beineke (a deliciously hysterical and physically adept Nancy Snow Carr) to calm a suddenly brought on coughing fit.
Chelsea Emma Franko, Kevin Hafso Koppman and Erica Marie Weisz
Directors Larry Rabin and Noelle Marion and a sterling cast bring out the best there is with their collective talent to elevate a relatively ho hum story to a rather pleasant spell of charming entertainment.

Kevin Hafso Koppman and Ms. Weisz are a natural together. There is a chemistry between the two that ignites when he is trying to calm  mother and daughter who do not agree on much. As both as a singer, dancer, and dead pan (pardon the pun) comic his talents spill over as the very concerned and caring father while trying to cope with his suspicious and curious wife. (“Trapped”)

 Their famous tango “Tango de Amor” is one of the many happy surprises along with their “Let’s Live Before We Die” as the two make plans to travel the sewers of Paris. Yup. There’s that too.
The Addams Family
As for the stunning in all black talented and sexy Ms.Weisz, her musical pipes and characterization of Morticia are as comical as they are subtle and graceful. (“Just Around The Corner”)

In comparison, the other Mom, Alice is an uptight and disappointed in her life wife who goes bonkers after she downs the ‘magic secret cocktail revealing secrets about her up tight husband who is, pardon the expression, mortified by her outbursts. Steve Gunderson does the best he can as the cold and and stand offish Dad, who has forgotten how to be a caring human being.
Andrew Metzger with the Ancestors
As for the ancestor’s ensemble, one couldn’t ask for a more talented group. They sing and dance (Karl Warden choreographs and how about a ‘Bunny Hop’?) and pose like Greek statues on platforms.

Once again Janet Pitcher outdoes herself with the all shades of grey fitted costumes that actually take on the look of granite. Peter Herman’s wigs are generationally proper and Jennifer Edwards lighting is right on especially in the scene when Uncle Fester visits the moon.  
Guessing from the audience participation the day I attended, most were familiar with the overture from the TV theme. They were right in there snapping their fingers and swaying back and fourth as the music started under musical director Lyndon Peguda.

If you like ghoulish, you will love this show; it’s just this side of the macabre, but not to fear, it’s so morbidly funny you just might want to see it for a second time if but to believe your eyes.

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through Nov. 10th
Organization: Welk Resort Theatre
Phone: 1-888-802- 7469
Production Type: Musical Comedy
Where: 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido, CA 92006
Ticket Prices: $55.00
Venue: Photo: Ken Jacques

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