The music for The Addams Family is full of exuberance and arch humor. Many recognizable genres are juxtaposed in inventive ways to create the kooky worlds of the Addams Family and the Beinekes, a “normal” family who are visiting them for dinner one evening. Composer Andrew Lippa nails all the musical styles and creates an entertaining score full of verve, and not without moments of true beauty and tenderness.
The score finds specific musical styles for each of the characters and generations, as well as making frequent allusion to classic musical depictions of Hollywood-style gothic horror. There is much Latin influence in some of the major numbers (stemming from Gomez Addams’ Spanish roots). These styles range from bright, sunny toe-tappers to darkly passionate tangos. Fester Addams “Uncle Fester” and the ensemble often go in for vaudevillian numbers in the classic style. Pugsley sings a very sweet ballad, largely concerned with torture, in a humorous juxtaposition. Morticia has a show-stopper of a number in the Fosse tradition. The young lovers, Wednesday and Lucas, have numbers in a more contemporary pop/rock style. And Alice Beineke has a completely off-the-rails solo ranging from styles à la Porgy and Bess and French cabaret to mid-twentieth century jazz and the classic dramatic torch song.
All of these zany combinations of styles (and really only some of them are mentioned above) somehow manage to coexist in a coherent (albeit somewhat surreal) way—and trying to steer the music to highlight and celebrate the stylistic extremes while keeping everything moving with some sense of musical and theatrical trajectory has been a challenge and a delight. As always, at Cabrillo Stage, we have a cast of great talent that is a complete joy to work with (as is everyone on the production team). Everyone’s sense of fun, dedication, commitment and work ethic is immensely satisfying. I feel a great sense of honor at being able to work with such highly talented and dedicated artists.
The show closes July 9th. Tickets available at cabrillostage.com.