The Addams Family | Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Addams Family Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 10 2010

A lot of this new, Broadway-bound musical comes across as pastiche. There's a parody of the slo-mo fighting sequences from The Matrix, some visual puns on the Harry Potter movies, and a bit that struck me as a probable homage to the scene in Bye Bye Birdie where a woman tries to seduce an entire Shriners chapter. Andrew Lippa's witty, strong score has an old-school feel to it, as if he were trying to channel the spirits of musicals from before the Sondheim era. Most of all, of course, this Addams Family references Addams Familys past. Uncle Fester falls in love here, as he did in the 1993 movie Addams Family Values, though he picks a much better object for his affections this time: the moon. And the cast does the finger-popping from the TV show theme, sans lyrics, as a way to pay tribute without getting slavish about it. But the best thing the show picks up from its forebears--including Charles Addams's original New Yorker cartoons--is a great and humorous grace. Everything is done lightly, with a wink backed up by loads of craft, as when Kevin Chamberlin's charming Fester levitates and cavorts among the stars. Nathan Lane as Gomez personifies the general classiness of the thing: I don't think I've ever seen a human being look so absolutely at home on a stage.

Tony Adler

Price: $28-$105

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