A successful musical theatre production relies heavily on the quality and teamwork of the troupe staging the show. If the group doesn’t gel, the show could feel sluggish and sour, but if they do connect there’s a magic to it that can’t be beat.
Although The Addams Family isn’t the first show back from the pandemic that has been staged by Cardinal Music Productions, it has a certain character to it that feels like years of pent-up energy got crammed into one little space. It’s the kind of energy that comes from the place where passion and desire reside – and that’s the kind of energy that makes brilliant musical theatre. When like-minded actors and crew are on that same wavelength together, it’s the kind of team that makes musicals become harmonious memories. Right now, at this very moment, Cardinal Music Productions exists in in that very space.
The Addams Family musical itself, is not the best musical ever written, but its familiarity and campiness make it a fun time. Relying heavily on the nuances and comedic bits of the popular 1964 black and white television show and all its sequels, movies and spin-offs, the original musical tale brings to life the characters we’ve known since they first appeared as a serial comic strip of single-panel cartoons in The New Yorker since 1938.
Director and actor Joseph Cardinal and his carefully crafted team somehow seem to shine as The Addams Family on the Korda stage. There’s a comradery that makes it all believable and enjoyable that the Broadway version of the show never seemed to have.
Cardinal himself takes on the cunning lead as Gomez, with Lindsay Norris by his side as the dashingly dark and mysterious Morticia, leading the family (Uncle Fester played by Drew Beaudoin, Grandma played by Nina Fasullo, Wednesday played by Charlotte Salisbury, Pugsley played by Peyton DelPapa and butler Lurch played by James Neely) and their decades of ghostly ancestors through a seemingly “normal” adventure.
Apparently, Wednesday wants to marry a normal boy and some inner-family turmoil breaks out. Underneath the comedic twists and over-the-top expressions that the Addams Family is known for, the musical seems very common place. Families have issues and conflicts and it looks like the Addams Family is no different. What is dissimilar however, is the manner and comedy in which the Addams family deal with these issues. A good tango here and the swish of a sword there and it all somehow makes sense. And that’s at the heart of what makes the Addams Family a story that can last more than 80 years in the making.
The Cardinal team brings it all for this performance. Cardinal has his big voice and charm on display, Norris is delectably kissable as Morticia, Fasullo makes an incredibly funny grandma, Salisbury carries the show with a Wednesday who’s much more entertaining than the TV version, DelPapa, although female, somehow connected to her inner boy as the mischievous Pugsley and Neely grunted and groaned as we would expect from the ever-popular Lurch.
The biggest surprise was with Beaudoin, who’s Uncle Fester steals the show and looks nothing like his golden-haired self. The voice, the look and the entire character feels like it is right out of the TV show. This could be the breakout role that positions him as one of the city’s most desirable lead actors. Surprisingly, the character appears and leads in many of the songs in the show, but Fester’s Manifesto and But Love captures the essence of what Beaudoin brings to the role.
The Addams Family musical isn’t loaded with non-stop catchy and memorable songs, but there are a few standouts that dwell in your head for several days after, including the ensemble performance of When You’re An Addams, and the extremely fun Full Disclosure, which came with a killer performance from Laura Bondy who disclosed a little too much about her character Alice in a funny scene that ended with her lying flat out on a supper table.
The Addams Family could have been a very unforgettable show because it’s not one of the legacy musicals we love to watch, but the Cardinal team came together to create the most fun and fulfilling show I’ve ever seen the troupe perform.
The Addams Family continues with more performances at Kordazone Theatre in Windsor from July 15-17 and 22-24. Tickets are available at the Cardinal Music Box Office at 2569-B Jefferson Ave. in Windsor or by calling 519-944-5800. www.cardinalmusic.com