Novato Theater Company's 'The Addams Family' opens their 103rd Season
The entire cast of this delightful, fun and thoroughly entertaining production was clearly having as good a time
by Mitchell Field
San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle
Half the fun of being a theater reviewer is the wide variety of productions one is fortunate enough to see, often two or three different shows in a single week...it's a privilege.
Last week I went from the sublime, 'The Glass Menagerie', to the ridiculous: 'The Addams Family'..and while different in almost every way, both reminded me of how wonderful it is to see live performers on a stage, crafting their own kind of joy, right in front of one's eyes...When it's done well it's magical!
Novato Theater Company's first show of it's 103rd season, the cartoonishly-ghoulish 'The Addams Family', was Tony nominated and won a Drama League Award.
After a successful 50+ year run in local theater and just when she thought she was out, the lure of live theater pulled esteemed North Bay director/choreographer Marilyn Izdebski back in again and together with her co-conspirator, Musical-Director Judy Wiesen and her quartet they have concocted a boisterous evening's entertainment that originally opened on Broadway in 2010, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and which according to Izdebski is all about love, love of family, friends, young love and even lunar-love!
The plot of this cult hit is simple...
The decidedly Gothic Addams family, father Gomez (Bruce Vieira) and his adored spouse Morticia (Alison Peltz) have a daughter 'Wednesday' (Harrietpearl Fugitt) who for fun likes to electrocute her younger brother Pugsley, (he enjoys it BTW), (Robin Kraft and Milo Ward, Kraft played the role on opening night).
Wednesday is in love with Lucas Beineke, (John Diaz) a boy she met while firing her crossbow at pigeons in Central Park.
Knowing her mother will not sanction her tryst with a 'normal' boy, Wednesday reveals her situation to Gomez who is now burdened with a secret. His dilemma is that he has never before lied to his wife.
The extended Addams family includes Gomez's brother Uncle Fester (Pat Barr) and Grandma (Kayla Gold) while other residents include the butler, Lurch (Todd Krish), who mostly moans, 'Thing', a disembodied hand which is only seen once in this show and whomever remembers the 1960's TV show will recognize both 'Cousin Itt', she/he? of the floor-length hair.
A large group of talented singing and dancing zombie 'ancestors' provide the chorus on Michael Walraven's creepily dark set, which features a large backdrop of the Addams' spooky mansion, beautifully painted by Kristy Arroyo and crew and a double staircase for this terrific cast of 20 to romp around on.
Into this Gothic nuthouse where the kids intend to reveal their marriage plans arrive Lucas' parents The Beinekes, a 'normal' couple Mal (David Shirk), Alice (Jane Harrington), to get acquainted with the Addams'.
At dinner, magic potions are dispensed, home-truths revealed and all kinds of pandemonium breaks out but in the end, as Izdebski promised, love conquers all!
The entire cast of this delightful, fun and thoroughly entertaining production was clearly having as good a time as the audience did on opening night and there are a number of standout performances, including Barr's charming 'Fester', Jane Harrington's dotty 'Alice', Gold's cackly 'Grandma' and Fugitt's angst-ridden 'Wednesday', however the show ultimately revolves around two North Bay favorites...Peltz, who sings and dances her sexy Morticia from one side of the wide stage to the other, slinking, cajoling and stirring the pot perfectly, while the multi-talented Vieira's Gomez glides, gyrates, glowers, grins and beams with stage-presence, which charmed the pants off of everyone in the house. It's a rare treat to see stage-veteran Vieira, who often creates sound-design for local theater companies, back on the boards.
Need an evening of musical fun for all the family right here in Marin?
Novato Theater Company's 'The Addams Family' is it!
Novato Theater Company Presents
The Addams Family
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa Directed and Choreographed
by Marilyn Izdebski Musical Direction by Judy Wiesen
Must Close October 8, 2023
2 hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission.
Novato Theater Company,
5420 Nave Drive, Novato CA.
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets $35 general and $25 for those under 18.