Sunday, September 4, 2011

In the arms of a Squid! (Musical Review)

A month ago, I went to New York City and saw four different musicals; the first of which is reviewed here in this post. The Addams Family were first seen in Charles Addams’ comic strip in The New Yorker, though they were popularized by the television show (which ran from 1964 to 1966). They’ve always been enjoyable (whether they were in a comic, a cartoon, on television or even in the movies) and that’s why Addams Family the Musical was very entertaining!

Theater
Whenever you see a movie or a TV show, the location of where you see it doesn’t matter. However, I have always found that when watching a theatrical performance the setting is very important. The Lunt-Fontanne theatre really fit the atmosphere of what Addams family is like. It’s a slightly older theatre and whose front room (where you can buy t-shirts and stuff) is decerated by a golden trim. When I walked up the stair case to that front room I knew this was the perfect theatre for an Addams. There was a shandlerr and several black and white pictures of people (contributors to the theatre I guess), which made the place slightly older feeling and almost spooky.

Seats
Our seats were really great! We got sat in row F seats 2, 4, and 6, which were just four rows away from the stage! If Brook Shields (who played Morticia) spat we would be in firing range!

Notes (written after the performance)
The Musical really was led by Fester [played by Brad Oscar], who sort of narrated the show, sometimes breaking the fourth wall.  He really stole the show. His comedic timing was perfect and very amusing.
The Plot was driven by Wednesday [played by the wonderful Rachel Potter]. She’s nearly grown up (she’s close to 18 I believe) and in love with a normal guy from Ohio. At this time she’s lost and her personality changes from the depressed normal Addams style to the sweet girl who makes Mortica and Gomez [played by the great Roger Rees] fear they’ve done something wrong somehow in bringing her up.

Pugsly fears he’ll be left behind and not tortured. Best part of the musical was when Wednesday was singing, “Pulled” where she addresses the changes in her head and how she is getting “Pulled in a New Direction”, while litteraly pulling a switch to pull Pugsly in four different Directions. Needless to say, this is very entertaining.

Another subplot is that Mortica realizes she is getting older and wonders if she has wasted her life. Gomez tries to confort her, but being Gomez, he screws up and Mortica turns her anger to him.

The parents of Wednesday’s boyfriend [Lucas Beineke, then played by Mo Brady] are also having marital problems. You see, not too much is happeing in the bedroom [if you know what you mean]. It seems the husband [Mal Beineke played by Adam Grupper] was too focused on work to see his wife [Alice Beineke played by Heidi Blickenstaff].  This was easily solved when Mal was stragled by a squid (where the title of the review comes from) and he realized what was really important (aquariums and his wife, but maybe not in that order). That was the funniest song (“In the Arms of a Squid” that is).

Another great scene was where Grandmama [played by the brilliant and surprisingly young Jackie Hoffman], Gomez and Fester (who is in love with the moon) sing “Lets not talk about anything else but Love”, which was sort of a hat and cane sort of dance.

Cameos
Thing (the hand) made an appearance once or twice pulling back on of the curtainsm, which was very amusing to see. It was also interesting to see cousin Itt have a small cameo in which he falls in love with one of the decorative cut off curtain rope tails. Now that was interesting…Nice tribute to the original comics and the show!

Scenery
The scenery made the whole thing even more wonderful. They had stairs, walls doors even windows whose placement cold be changed to suit any given scene.

The Inside Story: Of Jokes and Grandmas
I don’t usually watch Jimmy Fallon, but when I heard Brooke Shields was going to be on I recorded it. It was totally worth it. What I found the most interesting about the interview was that I learned that every night Grandma would try to say something which would get Shields to smile (something which is out of character). The first time she did it, she managed to slide into her lines, “nothing gets between me and my calvins” (a reference to Shields’ work at the spokes model for Calvin Clins whose motto she always had to say was that very line). That night, Jackie Hoffman (Grandma) said something like, “bite me”. Whatever she said, Shields had to turn away from the audience to hid her smile. Third to Festor and Gomez, Hoffman was my favorite. She made all these refrences to 60’s stuff. Such as she sang “Puff the Magic Dragon”, which in it self was very amusing given her acent and old appearance. She also said she woke up at Woodstock beside John Lenin, who couldn’t think of what to write. She said it was easy, “all you need is LOVE,” which started Gomez, Festor and herself singing, “lets not talk about anyting else but love”.

Memorabilia
At the performance, I got a t-shirt quite similar to that of Lurch’s [who was played by Zachary James, who was also great], which really looks quite dashing on me if I do say so myself. After getting out of there, we saw a crowd gatering outside the theatre so we joined them. Turns out, we could see the stars coming out. Got pictures of most of them (even a fuzzy picture of Brooke Shields before her agent began to tell people not to and shining a light at the cameras of pesistant people). I got the signatures of Gomez and Wednesday aka Roger Rees and Rachel Potter.

Conclusion
This was a great musical. I first heard about it on Letterman and I really was sad I wouldn’t get to see it given that it was only showing in New york…but turns out I got to see it anyway. It was a great musical to be the first musical I have seen on Broadway. Definitely not the last!

Reminder: I do not own the Addams Family. That honor goes to the Charles Addams Foundation, I believe.

I leave you with the song I have already memorized: the opening song “when you’re an Addams” done here on Letterman by the original Cast:


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