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'Addams Family' to close out Marshall Artists Series

Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

You know that old saying ... The family that is Goth together, stays together.

OK, that's not really an old saying but since 1938, when cartoonist Charles Addams first put the fun into dysfunctional family with the creepy and cool Addams Family, America has been getting a kick out of a family just a wee bit stranger than their own.

Stars of their own cartoons, TV series, and movies, "The Addams Family" (Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama, Wednesday, and Pugsley Addams) bring their hit musical to life on stage at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

The Marshall Artists Series closes out its 2012-2013 season in style at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 28, with the national tour of a Broadway musical that's filled with equal shots of glitz and gloom.

Ticket prices for "The Addams Family" are $58, $50 and $45. Tickets can be purchased at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center box office, by phone at 304-696-6656 or online at ticketmaster.com.

The musical features an original story that is familiar turf not unlike "Meet the Fockers" or any other movie, or show in which couples and parents meet and mingle in the awkwardness.

Featuring a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, "Addams Family" the musical follows the coming-of-age story of Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, who has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man Lucas Beineke from a respectable family. A man her parents have never met. If that weren't upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he's never done before -- keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's "normal" boyfriend and his parents.

Dan Olson, the actor who plays Lurch, said anyone who's been in a relationship will be pulled into the family-friendly romantic comedy that is narrated by Uncle Fester.

"It is that classic story that is basically city mouse meets country mouse," Olson said. "I'm familiar with it. My wife grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was used to being in the city, and I grew up eight miles outside of a town with 1,200 people in rural Wisconsin... I think that's common and there's a history of people with different experiences having to learn how to cooperate and get along."

This 18-month-long national and international tour of "Addams Family" will be crisscrossing the United States through June and then in July will be headed to Singapore and mainland China in August before coming back to the States for a September to May 2014 run, Olson said.

A 6-foot-6-tall actor who did a stint playing Frankenstein at a Universal Monsters Live show in Japan, Olson said the story of the Addams Family is one whose appeal knows no borders.

"It seems that one of the easiest things shipped internationally is cartoons and this is a cartoon that was turned into live action in television and in movies," Olson said. "It's very silly and good natured, and as far as the musical is concerned these are fairly universal themes. Most people are basically the same across the globe. You get to tap into some different experiences but almost everybody has that crazy uncle."

Whether it was in the TV series that ran from 1964 to 1966 or the quintessential movie, the 1991 film starring Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, the classic Gothic Addams mansion is the heart of the set, with a good graveyard, too, of course.

That mansion, originally drawn by Addams to mirror the College Hall (the oldest building on his alma mater University of Pennsylvania's campus) also dominates the musical's stage.

"We poached everything from the original national tour and that tour poached all of its pieces from the Broadway production so basically you are seeing the set that was on Broadway," Olson said. "You start out with the family and the graveyard and the house and basically the ancestors are what brings the two families together."

That set with opulent paintings, commanding stairway, and curtains that are also a character in the show, will be right at home in the 1920s-built grand movie palace that is the Keith-Albee.

"We've done a lot of shows out west where the theaters are a lot more modern maybe 10 or 15 years old and they're beautiful in their own right but there is something about putting this show on in a classic building with all the splendor and design that comes from this golden age of theater," Olson said.

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