.‘The Addams Family’ in Napa

Macabre Musical

The Addams Family first appeared on the scene in 1938 in a series of single panel comics drawn by cartoonist Charles Addams and published in The New Yorker magazine and has been a presence in American pop culture ever since.

Fairly dark and macabre in nature, the original tone was lightened significantly for the 1960s television series. The show originally ran for only two seasons but has been rerun ever since and is how most people were introduced to the characters.

The 1990s brought two films that returned the family to more macabre surroundings while in 2022 Netflix revived the family with Wednesday. That series centers on the Addams’ daughter as she tries to solve a murder mystery at her school.

Amongst all this came, of course, a Broadway show. The Addams Family Musical premiered in 2010 and has become a community theater staple. Napa’s Lucky Penny has a production running through Sept 24.

Wednesday Addams (Emma Sutherland) has a problem. She’s fallen in love with a straight-laced boy named Lucas (Tommy Lassiter), of whom she knows her mother Morticia (Shannon Rider) will not approve. She turns to her father Gomez (Jeremy Kreamer) for support while Uncle Fester (Tim Setzer) works with the family ghosts in the background.

Her brother Pugsley (Arthur Mautner) worries that his sister won’t play with/torture him anymore, so he sees the family’s first dinner with Lucas’ parents (Dennis O’Brien and Sarah Lundstrom) as the perfect opportunity to sabotage them all. A potion stolen from Grandma (Beth Ellen Ethridge) does the trick, but not in the way Pugsley intended.

It’s a lightweight musical that fully plays into the audience’s affection for the characters. Director/choreographer Staci Arriaga has a game cast at work here, with Kreamer’s good-natured paterfamilias displaying hints of Nathan Lane (Broadway’s Gomez).

Rider makes for a slinky but lightly funereal Morticia while Setzer goes full Jackie Coogan as Fester, though the character is written quite differently from the TV series. Sutherland’s a petulant but loving teenage Wednesday while Lassiter’s Lucas is a study in puppy love. O’Brien and Lundstrom have fun with their sturdy mid-westerners gone wild.

While well sung by all, the songs by Andrew Lippa evaporate immediately from the mind but do present the opportunity for nice dance work by the ensemble (Tuolumne Bunter, Alex Corey, Rachelle King, Trey Reeves, Leslie Sexton, Caitlin Waite).

The Addams Family Musical is a cookie-cutter musical, but who doesn’t like cookies?

Da da dee dum (Snap, snap).

‘The Addams Family Musical’ runs through Sept. 24 at the Lucky Penny Community Arts Center. 1758 Industrial Way, Napa. Thurs–Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. $22–$45. 707.266.6305. luckypennynapa.com.


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