Addams Family History

In 2007, the producers announced that they had obtained the rights from the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation to create a musical adaptation of The Addams Family for Broadway, and they anticipated an opening during the 2009–2010 season after an out-of-town tryout. This was the first time that Charles Addams' comic creations were licensed to serve as the basis for a stage production. The musical’s lead producers where Stuart Oken and Roy Furman. In addition to Oken and Furman, Vivek Tiwary also joined The Addams Family musical’s team of producers. The Addams Foundation reportedly retained control over the show's content and insisted that, instead of drawing the plot from The Addams Family television series or films, the production team devise an original musical based solely on Addams' cartoons.

 

Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice were engaged to write the book, with Andrew Lippa composing the show's score. Improbable Theatre founders Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott were the original directors and designers, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Crouch said that, when brainstorming ideas for the overall appearance of the show, he and McDermott turned to the character of Uncle Fester for inspiration, asking themselves, "If Fester was going to do a Broadway show, what kind of Broadway show would he do?" The partners described the result as "an off-beat take on 19th Century Gothic."

 

Some changes were made after the Chicago tryout. The songs "Clandango", "Passionate and True", "At Seven", and "Second Banana" were replaced with "When You're an Addams, "Where Did We Go Wrong?", "Morticia", and "Just Around the Corner". The songs "One Normal Night", "Full Disclosure, Part 2", "Crazier Than You", "Move Toward the Darkness", and "Tango De Amor" were rewritten.

The show began previews on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on March 8, 2010, with an official opening night of April 8, 2010. The production was originally estimated to cost $10 million, but more recent reports give the budget as $15 million.

 

All of the cast from the tryout transferred to Broadway including Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. The creative team includes direction by McDermott and Crouch, choreography by Trujillo, lighting by Natasha Katz, puppets by Basil Twist, special effects by Gregory Meeh, and orchestrations by Larry Hochman.

 

The show won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design but received no other major awards. However, it did win the Broadway.com Audience Awards for Favorite New Broadway Musical, Favorite Performance by a Featured Actor in a Broadway Musical (Kevin Chamberlin), Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Krysta Rodriguez), and Favorite Onstage Pair (Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth).

 

A May 2011 article in Playbill reported that the show had now grossed over $62 million. The show celebrated its 500th performance on June 16, 2011. Playbill reported in May 2011 that "plans for other international productions are currently underway."

 

Cassandra Peterson was in talks to take over the role of Morticia until the producers decided to close the show at the end of the year.

 

The Broadway production closed on December 31, 2011, after 35 previews and 722 performances.

 

In addition to the original characters created by Addams, the musical introduces the new roles of Mal, Alice, and Lucas Beineke, who are described as "straight arrow Midwesterners." The ensemble consists of a group of Addams Family ancestors, each from a different time period.

 

Lippa said he wrote most of the score to match each character's personality. This included giving Gomez a Flamenco-style Spanish score, Wednesday a more contemporary score, and Fester a vaudevillian score. "Let's Not Talk About Anything Else but Love" is "jazzy/swingy/catchy" and "Happy/Sad" is a ballad reminiscent of Stephen Sondheim

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The Variety review of the Chicago tryout said "The show overcrammed and underfocused...From a structural perspective, the storytelling is all rising action followed by rapid and not really convincing resolution... it's very funny, with special nods to Chamberlin, whose ultra-corny number 'The Moon and Me' is a comic highlight, as well as to Hoffman and Lane." The Chicago Sun-Times theater critic wrote a laudatory review, but while the Chicago Tribune critic found the musical enjoyable, he felt "the show is hijacked by the Addamses behaving weirdly (i.e. normally)" and that Morticia's "crisis of confidence about getting old" is "a very uneasy narrative twist" and perhaps too far out of character.[

 

Reviews for the Broadway production were mixed but mostly negative (the median grade of 27 major reviews was "D+").  John Simon, writing in the Bloomberg News called it "A glitzy-gloomy musical in which the quick and the dead are equally full of character, especially the chorus of ancestors that exhibits wonderful esprit de corpse."  However, Ben Brantley in The New York Times wrote that it is "A tepid goulash of vaudeville song-and-dance routines, Borscht Belt jokes, stingless sitcom zingers and homey romantic plotlines".[51] There was general praise for the performers, particularly Nathan Lane. An Associated Press reviewer stated: "Lane, complete with a deliciously phony Spanish accent, is the hardest working actor on Broadway. Whatever they are paying him – and I hope it is a lot – he's worth the price. The actor possesses a theatrical gusto that makes the musical move whenever he is on stage.

 

Despite many negative reviews by New York critics, it has consistently played to 100% capacity and grossed third only to Wicked and The Lion King each week since it opened in previews. The New York Times reported that despite "the sort of scathing reviews that would bury most shows", the production had $851,000 in ticket sales on top of a $15 million advance sale the weekend following its opening, "huge figures for a new Broadway run". The Times attributed this success to a beloved brand-name title, nostalgia, star strength, and a top-notch marketing campaign by the producers

 

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