By Kenneth Jones
What rhymes with “Morticia”? Chicago audiences will find out starting in November 2009, when Broadway in Chicago hosts the world premiere of the new Broadway-aimed musical, The Addams Family, based on the macabre characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams.
The musical with book by Tony Award nominees Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), and music and lyrics by Drama Desk Award winner Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) will begin tryout performances Nov. 13, 2009, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago.
Produced by Elephant Eye Theatrical (Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions) and Roy Furman, The Addams Family will play a limited engagement in Chicago through Jan. 10, 2010, prior to opening on Broadway in spring 2010.
No casting has been announced, but Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth played Gomez and Morticia, respectively, in a developmental presentation of the material earlier this year, and are attached to a January 2009 workshop of it.
Direction and design are by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, lauded for the darkly theatrical Shockheaded Peter and the Metropolitan Opera’s recent acclaimed production of Philip Glass’ Satyagraha.
Choreography is by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), lighting is by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (The Coast of Utopia, Aida) and musical direction is by Mary-Mitchell Campbell (who won a Drama Desk for her orchestrations for Company, and is musical director of Road Show at The Public Theater).
According to production notes, “In a prolific career spanning six decades, Charles Addams created several thousand cartoons, sketches and drawings, many of which were famously published in The New Yorker. But it was his creation of characters that came to be known as The Addams Family that brought Addams his greatest acclaim. With a unique style that combined the twisted, macabre and just plain weird with charm, wit and enchantment, Addams’ drawings of Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, Lurch and Thing have entertained millions worldwide and served as the inspiration for multiple television series and motion pictures.”
Producer Stuart Oken of Elephant Eye Theatrical stated Oct. 30, “It’s an extraordinary privilege as well as a daunting responsibility being entrusted with Charles Addams’ most beloved creations, but I’m confident this outstanding creative team is re-imagining the work in a way that would have made Charlie proud.”
Composer-lyricist Lippa composed the music for the Broadway production of Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention. On Broadway he was also represented by the revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, for which he wrote three new songs. His musicals also include Asphalt Beach (music and lyrics) at Northwestern University by the American Music Theatre Project in October 2006 and john & jen Off-Broadway at the Lamb’s Theatre. Lippa’s recordings include Julia Murney’s new CD “I’m Not Waiting” (producer, three songs); the Off-Broadway cast album of The Wild Party (RCA Victor), which he also produced; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (RCA Victor), which earned him a Grammy Award nomination; and john & jen (Fynsworth Alley), which he associate produced. He is currently writing the music and lyrics for a new musical based on Jules Feiffer’s The Man in the Ceiling (for which Feiffer is writing the book), for Disney Theatrical on Broadway.
Brickman and Elice penned the book to the original musical, Turn of the Century, currently having its world premiere at Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
Tickets to The Addams Family are now available to groups of 20 or more by calling (312) 977-1710.
For more information on The Addams Family visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com