‘Addams Family’ musical keeps EC kooky

Student actors perform the musical number “Full Disclosure” in a dress rehearsal of “The Addams Family: The Musical” which can be seen at the Mill Theater through Saturday, Oct. 15. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

A boy meeting a girl in beautiful Central Park would be a typical love story if it weren’t for the ghosts watching behind the trees — and the fact that the girl carries a crossbow. However, this is the kind of kooky, clever story that one would expect to find in “The Addams Family: The Musical,” by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

The play, which is now play- ing at the Mill Theatre, is an enjoyable mix of weird and heart-warming moments with plenty of humor and great songs to tie the whole show together.

The story revolves around the Addams family, a gothic clan for whom “normal” is what the rest of the world would consider “creepy.” For example, there’s Morticia Addams (Sarah Eckel), the dark and mysterious matriarch of the family, Lurch (Andrew Brhel) the family’s zombie butler, and Pugsley Addams (Taylor Dorband) who loves being tortured by his sister Wednesday (Marissa Banker).

Into this dark, kooky house-hold comes the Beineke family from Ohio, a cheerful, typical American family whose son Lucas (Lukas Nowakowski) is smitten with gloomy Wednesday.

Tensions rise when these two families meet for the first time. What originally starts out as an average, awkward dinner party escalates to an all-out brawl with the Beineke’s and the Addams’ literally flying at each other’s throats. Six songs and a dozen one-liners later, the play comes to a satisfying, if expected conclusion as not one, not two, but four happy couples exit singing off the stage.

“The Addams Family” is a play that relies very heavily on its characters to bring it to life. The plot itself is very simple — boy meets girl, they fall in love, the families clash, etc. — but characters such as the swashbuckling, tangoing Gomez Addams (Brandon Pisano) give depth to the play.

That being said, such dependence upon the characters requires that the actors play their parts well, a task which the actors fulfill with exceptional results from Pisano, Dorband and Michael Shutack (Uncle Fester). Pisano has Gomez’s accent and flair down to a T; Dorband’s portrayal of Pugsley almost makes the little monster loveable and Shutack’s Fester is a hoot.

However, some of the characters seem a little flat, most notably Wednesday Addams and Lucas Beineke. Lucas is just a typical boyfriend while the writers could not seem to decide whether to make Wednesday dark and eerie, or sweet and girlie. She flip flops between singing about puppies and rainbows and torturing her brother Pugsley.

The role of the ancestors is also a little unclear. Although they are supposed to help Wednesday and Lucas fall in love, they do not seem to do much helping, aside from one key scene towards the end of the show.

In addition to unique characters, an interesting collection of songs also works to give depth to the play. All of the actors have phenomenal voices and it was nice to hear a live orchestra as opposed to just a keyboardist or a recording. Andrew Lippa’s music and lyrics really captured the spirit of the characters, especially “Happy Sad,” sung by Gomez and Wednesday and “The Moon and Me,” sung by Fester and the Female Ancestors.

Overall, with its quirky and entertaining characters and talented ensemble is certainly an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. With tickets being $5 with a Jaypass, students should definitely attend one of the play’s final three performances at the Mill before it ends on Saturday, Oct. 15.