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Comedic Macabre Musical Comes to Segerstrom Center

The cast of The Addams Family

“They’re creepy and they’re cooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky, the Addams Family. Their house is a museum, when people come to see-em, they really are a scre-um, the Addams Family.”

Da da da dum–snap, snap.

Most people no matter what age recognize that tune as the theme to “The Addams Family” TV show, which ran from 1964 to 1966 and then forever after in reruns. It was based on a series of twisted yet witty cartoons by Charles Addams about a close-knit family with macabre interests.

Two years ago, a musical based on “The Addams Family” characters hit Broadway, garnering accolades for its “glitzy-gloomy comedy.” Now, a touring version of the show has landed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Being an “Addams Family” fan, I thought it would be fun to see what ghoulish delights might be presented on stage. After learning that fellow arts writer Pamela Diamond was an “Addams Family” devote, we decided to both attend a performance and compare notes.

Before the show, we were invited to dine at the Center Club’s new Encore Lounge, adjacent to Segerstrom Center. It was the first time either of us had experienced the E-Lounge since its recent remodel, and were immediately enchanted by the upscale yet comfortable ambiance and decor, which Pam said reminded her of something you’d find in New York.

We perused the extensive bar menu and thought it might be fun to order items that fit the mood of The Addams Family. After reading ingredients, and getting a tip from the manager on house specialties, we settled on the Signature Burger: fire grilled Brandt burger with espresso BBQ sauce and smoked pork belly; roasted garlic chicken flatbread (garlic for keeping vampires at bay), Truffle Fries with minced truffles and garlic (in case we encountered a flock of vampires), and our favorite: Risotto Corn Dogs (bite sized balls of risotto deep fried in corn dog batter).

It was difficult to tear ourselves away from the oversized purple couches, the intimate booths and the giant screen TVs, but the show was about to start, so we made the one-minute stroll from The Center Club to the Segerstrom Center and found our seats with plenty of time to spare.

As the lights dimmed, the classic theme song music began to play, and most audience members snapped their fingers in time to the music, including myself and Pam.

To our delight, the familiar “Addams Family” characters immediately appeared on stage, looking much like we remembered from the TV series: Gomez and Morticia Addams, the husband and wife who love all things bleak and dreary; their son Pugsley, who enjoys being tortured; daughter Wednesday, a good aim with a crossbow; Uncle Fester, a creepy yet loveable guy with a thing for the moon; Grandma, a ditzy old hag with deadly potions; and Lurch, the tall, dark and…dark butler.

The show unfolded with a plethora of pleasing songs that advanced the plot, which revolved around Wednesday falling in love with a boy a bit too normal for the other family member’s taste. Wednesday invites the boy’s parents to dinner so they can meet her family, which is when all hell breaks lose…literally.

Pam and I agreed that the show was delightfully engaging and often downright funny, and the songs catchy. The actors all had terrific voices, starting with Tony nominee Douglas Sills as Gomez (last seen in this area starring in The Scarlet Pimpernel) and continuing down to Lurch (played by Tom Corbeil, a trained opera singer).

Among the many memorable moments was a charming sequence with Uncle Fester when he appeared to float in the air as he performed a pas de deux with the moon.

We left with smiles on our faces. If you’re going to spend an evening with a strange family, you can’t find anyone stranger, or more fun, than “The Addams Family.”

“The Addams Family” runs through Dec. 30. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 and 6:30 p.m. There’s also a special matinee performance on Friday, December 28, at 2 p.m.

Tickets start at $20. Call (714) 556-2787, or visit SCFTA.org.

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