“The Addams Family” brings the legendary clan to singing…er...life?
They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Addams Family.
— Theme song from the TV version of “The Addams Family”
On April 6, 1938, the first “Addams Family” cartoon crept into the pages of The New Yorker. Charles Addams embarked on a nearly 60-year career of developing cartoons based on real-life characters.
“Addams Family” cartoons have inspired a television show, two major motion pictures, a cartoon television show based on the films and the Broadway musical, created by “Jersey Boys” authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Locally, Closed Door Entertainment is producing the show Oct. 16-18 at the Tivoli Theatre.
The Pulse sat down with Closed Door Founder and Executive Director JC Smith and two of the actors, Kevin Bartolomucci (Lurch) and Randy Forester (Fester).
The Pulse: What is your personal connection to “The Addams Family”?
Kevin Bartolomucci: I’ve been a fan of “The Addams Family” since I was a child. I used to watch the reruns after school.Then, I discovered the original Charles Addams cartoons while in junior high. It was perfect for a young, impressionable 12 year old with a macabre sense of humor. A dear family friend started calling me Lurch in 1980 after I went through a particularly large growth spurt. That never left me.
TP: For people familiar with the TV show, how does is this story similar or different?
JC Smith: I grew up with the movies and remember bits of the cartoon. I also saw the national tour of the Broadway production (which is slightly different than our version) and fell in love with the score and show then and there. The story still has all of your favorites: Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Fester, etc., but it moves ahead in time a bit. Wednesday is growing up, has a new love interest, and our audiences get to see just what happens when her new boyfriend’s “normal” family comes to have dinner with the Addams. Purists of the show, cartoon, comic strips, and movies will love seeing their old favorites on stage and in person, and newcomers to the Addams will love the music, the characters, and finally realize what they’ve been missing all their lives.
TP: Who is the heart of the story?
JCS: So many love stories are woven into this spider web of a show that to say one character of this story is the heart would be a true disservice to the rest. Fester [is the narrator] and leads us down this tale of love, fate, victory, loss, and family.
TP: How has your role challenged you as an actor?
Randy Forester: The thing that impresses me the most about Fester is that he is a true vaudevillian. The old song-and-dance, lame one-liners, slapstick through and through. Creepy, yes, but absolutely wonderful, and the true heart of the Addams family, because he knows it’s love that holds a family together. It’s what being a family is. You can’t help who you love and in the end it doesn’t really matter as long as you are true to that sentiment. Yep, Fester is a deep thinker and a philosopher, all wrapped up in one big comic bundle.
KB: The question I’ve always pondered is, “What is Lurch?” A zombie (the old voodoo kind), a Frankenstein-type monster, or a ghoul? I’ve always gone with ghoul. And at the end of the day, he’s just a simple guy dedicated to serving the family, particularly the children. He’s a maid, cook, babysitter, general maintenance guy. He’s loyal to the death, assuming he isn’t already dead.
I thought it would be a lazy actor role. I don’t sing until the end of the show, I have no dialogue except for the occasional groan, and I just walk around slowly. Easy, right? But it’s turned out to be one of the hardest roles I’ve ever done because I have to be still and walk slowly. I’m constantly moving in real life, but in the show, it takes every bit of concentration I have to be still. It’s exhausting.
TP: What do you hope audience members will walk away with at the end of the show?
JCS: [The Addams Family] is a family that has spanned generations and reminds us all that sometimes the best of people come in the strangest packages.
“The Addams Family:
A New Musical”
Oct.16, 17, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 17, 18, 2 p.m.
709 Broad St.