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‘Addams Family’ to spook Chicago

By Gordon Cox



New Broadway-bound tuner “The Addams Family” has set a city and a date for its out-of-town tryout, bowing in November 2009 as part of the Broadway in Chicago series at Chi’s Oriental Theater.

Co-directed and co-designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (“Shockheaded Peter”), the production does not yet have actors attached, although an August reading starred Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as the parents of the titular macabre clan. A Broadway berth is planned for spring 2010.

With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”) and score by Andrew Lippa (“The Wild Party”), “The Addams Family” draws from the original Charles Addams cartoons rather than subsequent feature and TV adaptations. According to producer Stuart Oken, the Addams children are depicted as teenagers in the tuner, with Wednesday Addams as an 18-year-old.

Elephant Eye Theatrical — operated by Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Prods. — and Roy Furman produce the musical. Both Oken and Leavitt have roots in Chi, and Broadway in Chicago is an Elephant Eye partner.

Creatives are currently involved in a weeklong development “lab” centering on the character of Fester. Oken expects at least two further labs to be held: a two-week session in January and a five-week sesh in summer 2009.

Cast of the production will be around 20. Creatives aboard include Sergio Trujillo (choreography) and Natasha Katz (lights).

“The Addams Family” begins perfs at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts’ Oriental Theater Nov. 13, 2009, for a limited engagement ending Jan. 10, 2010. Oken said he hopes to book a midsize venue for the Broadway run.