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A MUSICAL COMEDY WITH A DARK SIDE

Long before “Modern Family,” there was “The Addams Family.”

As quirky, lovable families evolve over time, just remember that Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Pugsley and all the other Addamses set the bar pretty darn high from the get-go.

Very rarely does a group of fictional characters cross media and generational platforms.

The Addams family did—some folks remember them from the ’90s animated series, others may have fond memories of the ’60s television series starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones. And some true Addams Family, veterans may recall their debut in a New Yorker cartoon strip back in 1938.

Now, one of America’s strangest families is hitting the big stage in musical form.

The national tour of “The Addams Family” will make a stop at The Landmark Theater in Richmond on Friday and Saturday as part of the “Broadway in Richmond” series. The play was co-written by Rick Elice, whose “Peter and the Starcatcher” hits the Kennedy Center stage through Feb. 16.

“It’s amazing to see the different generations that are interested in this show,” said Cindy Creasy, spokeswoman for “Broadway in Richmond.” “As unconventional as this family may be, they are still a traditional family. Most anyone can identify with that familial feel, whether they are normal or not.”

The musical tracks the Addams family, which is full of ghostly characters, and their worldly encounters with love, parenting, marriage, ancestors and a whirlwind ride with some “normal” houseguests. Along the way, the family learns how “normal” is actually an illusion.

“The Addams Family” stars Jesse Sharp as the Addams’ patriarch Gomez, KeLeen Snowgren as the motherly Morticia and more than 20 additional actors from across the United States. The production is directed by Broadway veterans and Tony Award winners Jerry Zaks and Cameron Holsinger.

“In our version, we focus on the love and support of a family,” said Snowgren. “It’s all about accepting people for who they are and loving one another.”

As opposed to the television version, where the Addams reside at 0001 Cemetery Lane, the family lives in a giant creepy mansion in the middle of New York’s Central Park. The set captures the essence of an ancient estate all while seamlessly changing scenery within its confines.

“There’s this joke about the Addams family home, where they spend all their money on rent and no money on furniture,” said Snowgren. “Our set is an old, dusty mansion, and we have a curtain that changes the view from scene to scene throughout the stage. We also joke that the curtain upstages us all because it’s so amazing!”

When you think of “The Addams Family,” you might first think solely of weird organ-based music and a high-pitched, peculiar violin. Think again.

In a story colored in eerie black and white, the musical score is vibrant and colorful. An orchestra travels with “The Addams Family,” capturing all of the unique, diverse moments throughout the story.

“The one major difference between this and what people see on TV is the Addamses didn’t break out into song on TV,” said Snowgren. “And we have a group of talented musicians joining us that have been doing Broadway for quite some time. We have showstopper music, music with a Spanish flair for Gomez, and we have teen angst music for our teen love affair.”

“The Addams Family” is just one of the many productions hitting Richmond this year. And based on the quality of the productions, it’s worth the short drive.

“This is [“Broadway in Richmond’s”] fifth season in the market,” said Creasy. “We are seeing lots of guests from all over Central Virginia … from Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg and all points in between. Our schedule has some fun, family shows, and this is definitely one of them!”

Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native. Email him at jesserobertscott@gmail.com.

What: “The Addams Family”

Where:The Landmark Theater, 6 N. Laurel St., Richmond

When: Friday, Feb. 7, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 8, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Cost: $38–$68

Info: 800/514-3849; broadwayinrichmond.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/entertainment/2014/02/06/a-musical-comedy-with-a-dark-side/