Addams Family Musical at Ojai is Altogether Kooky
by Jim Spencer and Shirley Lorraine
The well-known Addams Family cartoon is brought to life on the Ojai Art Center Theater stage in a fresh new musical comedy. If you are a fan of the cartoon series, you will enjoy seeing your favorites live on stage. Be prepared to snap your fingers along with the memorable theme song.
All the quirky characters we have come to love, Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester and the rest of the gang are full of life in their own unique and macabre way. Director Gai Jones has seen to it that each cast member fully embraces and maintains the cartoon quality overall.
The Ojai Art Center Theater Branch has a history of introducing and welcoming youth and newcomers to its stage. This production is no exception. An “adult” cast performs Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday matinees, while a youth cast performs the show on Saturday matinees. Many of the players can be seen in both productions.
The premise of the show involves a grown Wednesday (Hayley Silvers) inviting her fiancé Lucus (Steven Silvers or Michaels, depending on which page of the program you are reading) and his normal parents (Brittany Danyel and Ezra Eels) to the family manse to spring the news of the impending wedding on Morticia (Tracey Williams-Sutton) and Gomez (Shayne Bourbon). Hijinks and hilarity ensue as the two polar-opposite families come to terms with their offspring’s intent to marry and ultimately rediscover the sparks that initially drew them together.
Side-plots involve Uncle Fester (newcomer Michael McCarthy), the creepily ever-present and mostly silent butler Lurch (Nelson Fox), feisty little brother Pugsly (Sophie Massey) and colorful nut-case Grandma (Mary Ellen Gridley) who all contribute dimension to the fairly thin story line.
Musical numbers are performed to a well-balanced, prerecorded accompaniment, which works very well in this instance. The musical abilities of the cast vary throughout, although all numbers are high-energy and entertaining. Special note is given to the vocal talents of Shayne Bourbon and Sophie Massey whose solo vocal performances stand out.
The characterizations of Gomez and Morticia provided by Shayne Bourbon and Tracey Williams-Sutton anchor the piece well. The outright enthusiasm award goes to Brittany Danyel who really delivers in the dinner party scene at the end of the first act.
The costuming throughout is particularly notable and creative. The 21-member chorus of Addams Ancestors provides a visual treat as its members drift in and out of the action.
This year the Ojai ACT has inaugurated a new start time for ALL evening performances. The curtain rises at 7 p.m., rather than the traditional 8 p.m.
The Addams Family plays weekends until April 3, 2016 at the Ojai Art Center Theatre, 113 S. Montgomery St., Ojai. Curtain: Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Prices: $18-Greneral. $12-Seniors/students/Art Center members. $5-Under 13. Tickets on line at www.OjaiACT.org or call 640-8797.