June 3, 2012

‘Addams Family’ shares love and laughter

Posted in Between Us column, Entertainment at 4:27 pm by dinaheng

The creepy, kooky, and oftentimes spooky, Addams Family is touring the country in a musical tale that shares what happens when the characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams face every parent’s nightmare — the day their child falls in love with someone who’s… well, not exactly an ideal in-law.

In this stage version, morbid little Wednesday has grown up to be a young woman who’s fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a “normal,” intelligent guy from a respectable family. What happens when the two families meet will have audiences laughing in both expected and unexpected ways.

“The basis of any family is love, and how people get manipulated because of love is something audiences will relate to,” says Courtney Wolfson, who plays Wednesday Addams in the national touring company of “The Addams Family.”

“In the show, Wednesday is now between 18 and 20. She’s still a dark, grim, morbid little girl, but is now in love with a guy who doesn’t make her feel dark and grim. He makes her want to wear yellow dresses and play with a yellow birdie. Before she commits to announcing their engagement, she wants the families to meet to see if they’ll get along, and asks her father not to tell her mother about the engagement.”

The show, which runs June 5-17 at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, includes the familiar Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch characters, as well as the Addams family ancestors, and the Beineke family.

Originally conceived as a satire on the ideal American family, cartoonist Addams created  an eccentric, wealthy clan that was into the bizarre and macabre, blissfully unaware that their strange ways frightened “normal” people. The characters went on to appear in a hit  mid-1960s TV comedy and 1990s feature films, spoofing the idea of what’s “normal” in society.

In the 2010 Broadway production that ended last New Year’s Eve, Wolfson played the Crazy Bride Ancestor and was the under-study for Wednesday Addams. She has also appeared in the Broadway revival of “Les Misérables” and in the first national tour of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”

“No matter who you are, or what stage of life you’re in, you’ll find a character in ‘The Addams Family’ to relate to,” Wolfson says. “There’s love, distrust and deceit, like in any family. The creators of the show and the director have been tweaking things every couple of months. It’s been so great to have them involved.”

The tweaks have resulted in the launch of a Brazilian “Addams Family” tour, and a planned Australian version.

Being in the U.S. touring company has been great fun for Wolfson, who says the cast picks up every Monday to travel to a new city.  Each hotel room becomes home for a week, and while cast members are her family on the road, it’s also nice to have her chihuahua along for the journey, as well.

“The scenery’s always changing,” she says. “I just came from Grand Rapids, Mich., where we were on Eastern Time, and flew to San Diego, where I went right on stage for the show on Pacific Time. You just get used to it.

“I did the Broadway production for nine months, and now I’ve been on the road for nine months. We’re so lucky to see the country, and bring the show to audiences who might never have the chance to see a Broadway show otherwise.”

For tour dates and information, check out http://www.theaddamsfamilymusicaltour.com/.

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