Snap your fingers and embrace the macabre as THE ADDAMS FAMILY musical has arrived in Sacramento with a delightful concoction of ghoulish and spooky entertainment. And when we say delightful, we mean it in the most creepy and kooky way. The production being performed at the UC Davis Health Pavilion brings Charles Addams’ iconic characters to life on the stage with a heartwarming tale of love, acceptance, and embracing the eccentricities that make us who are – a sentiment delivered with both heart and humor.
The show opens with the unapologetically peculiar family at a graveyard for their annual gathering of all living, dead, and undecided Addams family members. Before Uncle Fester (Aaron Kaburick) allows the ancestors to return to their graves, he enlists their help as the family has found themselves in a devilish dilemma involving their daughter Wednesday (Jenna Lea Rosen). Having fallen in love with Lucas Beineke (Alex Prakken), a seemingly normal young man from a respectable family, Wednesday finds herself battling with being true to herself and being “normal” – whatever normal is.
Speaking of Wednesday’s battle, we see it come to light in her song “Pulled” whom she sings to her little brother Pugsley (Oliver Stellan) while she is torturing him in a way that only a sister would do. Well, in a way that only Wednesday Addams would do, that is. The story develops as Wednesday and Lucas bring their families together to announce their engagement. A comedic firestorm ensues as the two families find understanding in each other’s differences and in themselves. The acceptance of both families’ peculiarities is truly the heart of this show’s story.
I was thoroughly impressed with the entire cast, from their striking resemblances in both appearance and costumes to their remarkable portrayals of the beloved characters we all know and love. It was this authentic representation that won me over. Among the cast, the chemistry between Gomez Addams (Jeff Skowron) and Morticia Addams (Sara Gettelfinger) was electric, particularly evident during their mesmerizing tango number, “Tango De Amor.”
Gomez, with his quick wit humor, had the audience in stitches, providing well-timed comedic relief throughout the performance. As a parent myself with some of my children having reached adult age, I couldn’t help but relate and feel connected with the feelings Gomez sings about in his song “Happy/Sad”. His delivery while he’s singing to Wednesday under the Addams Family Tree, gave me all the feels.
In my non-professional opinion, it was Lurch (William Ryall) who stole the audience’s hearts. His role, heavily reliant on grunting and body language rather than words, must have been incredibly challenging to play, and yet he executed it flawlessly. Of course, the chemistry between Wednesday and Pugsley was spot on for a dark and twisted sibling relationship. Uncle Fester, who rooted for the newly engaged couple from the beginning, finds love himself in a way that seems fitting for a member of this peculiar family. And Grandma (Madeleine Doherty) was an absolute riot to watch through the whole show. I absolutely loved her costume, all the way down to her striped leggings and dirty yellow converse shoes.
The biggest surprise for me though was Alice Beineke (Gaelen Gilliland). Initially introduced as a caring and supportive mother, she undergoes a transformation that may or may not have been mistakenly chemically induced. Her character’s evolution was fun to watch, and her powerhouse performance nearly stole the show and leaves a lasting impression.
I cannot overlook the incredible talent of the Addams Family Ancestors, who played a crucial role in bringing this production together. The artistry in their period costuming was simply captivating, and their dance numbers were nothing short of amazing. Surprisingly, the dance numbers were remarkably extensive, with choreography that fit flawlessly for the morbid storyline.
The sets themselves were seemingly simple, yet they exuded an eerie and mysterious atmosphere that was fitting for a family who has a fondness for all things dark, spooky, and unconventional. Without giving too much away, the torture device, the Great Hall, and the monster under the bed were parts of the sets that were unexpected, yet some of my favorites.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is an unapologetically dark delight that will leave you rooting not only for love, but also will leave you appreciating strong familial bonds, no matter how creepy, kooky, or out of the ordinary they may be. If you’re looking for a monstrously entertaining night out, don your finest black attire and head to the UC Davis Health Pavilion to see THE ADDAMS FAMILY. They’re dying to meet you.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY is playing now through July 30, 2023, at the UC Davis Health Pavilion. Learn more here.