Musical Theatre Southwest presents “The Addams Family” at the MTS Center for Theatre, 6320 Domingo NE, Suite B. It runs Friday, April 3- Sunday, April 5 and repeats weekends through April 26. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances at 4 p.m. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $20 for students, seniors and are available online at http://www.musicaltheatresw.com or by calling the box office at 265-9119 or, if available, at the door.
By David Steinberg
A bizarre kind of darkness hangs over “The Addams Family.” But don’t let that get you down.
This show, which ran on Broadway, is a comedy filled with the same oddball characters that were in “The Addams Family” movies, cartoons, comic strips and television series.
What sets the stage show apart is that has a musical score that brings together the funny-strange and the funny-ha-ha.
Just ask Lisette Herrera, who portrays the mom, the matriarch, Morticia, in the Musical Theatre Southwest production which opens Friday, April 3.
“I have a song in the second act where Morticia is upset with (her husband) Gomez for keeping a secret from her,” Herrera said.
The secret is this: Their daughter Wednesday doesn’t want her dad to tell her mom that she’s planning to marry … a “normal” guy. Wednesday fears Morticia will ask embarrassing questions when her beau and his family come over for dinner.
The revelation of that secret prompts Morticia to sing the song “Just Around the Corner.”
It’s about death. But Morticia handles the subject.
“What keeps Morticia happy is knowing that death is coming for her. … She loves death and everything about death and that’s her happy place,” Herrera said.
In learning the song, Herrera said, she tried to understand Morticia’s infatuation with death. “The song is really upbeat. It’s akin to a (vaudevillian) soft shoe. It’s fun and it’s funny so it’s pretty easy to have fun with,” she said.
Chris Armijo said his interpretation of his character, Gomez, is that he’s a romantic, yet whimsical, “whereas (on Broadway) Nathan Lane portrayed him as over-the-top humorous, a very comedic character.”
The words often used to describe the Addams family, he said, are macabre, gruesome and horrifying.
“The musical comedy takes the gruesome and the horrifying and makes them acceptable,” Armijo said.
He saw the show on Broadway about 2 1/2 years ago. He says that version is different than the version MTS is staging. Though the storyline remains the same, there are a few numbers in the MTS production that weren’t in the Broadway show he had seen and there are some not in the MTS show that were on Broadway, Armijo said.
Regardless of those differences, the show “has everything that a musical has – great
acting, great singing, choreography. That’s what makes this musical fun to do,” he said.
MTS director David Bryant thinks that the family turns the theme of death on its head, especially when their dead ancestors come out of the grave.
“So it’s about what it means to be the Addams family in the modern age. What it means to be dead and what it means to be alive. For the Addams family it’s being able to enjoy the moment and to cherish every moment you have with one another,” Bryant said.