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A kooky, spooky good time with the Addams clan

Crowd enjoys opening night show of bewitching, toe-tapping musical

Bah-Da-Da-Dum (Snap Snap). Bah-Da-Da-Dum (Snap Snap). ...

And I'm sure you know the rest. 

Friday's opening night production of "The Addams Family" musical at Festival 56 was a near sold-out show. 

The theater was packed, and the crowd was in a lively spirit as people came prepared for a kooky, spooky good time.

Right away, Act 1 opened with the popular instrumental tune well associated as "The Addams Family" theme song. The crowd "dummed" along and people snapped their fingers as a black, wrought iron-like gate creaked open and welcomed the audience into an eerie night at the graveyard.

There they got first glimpse at the recognizable odd, aristocratic characters many have come to know through "The Addams Family" comic strips (which first debuted in The New Yorker in 1938), 1960s television series, or early 1990s movies. 

There is Gomez (Andrew Bosworth), the patriarch of the family, a crafty schemer who comes complete with a Spaniard mustache and accent and some serious fencing skills.

There is Morticia (Madison Kauffman), the matriarch of the family, sporting the signature long, straight black hair, fierce attitude and a dress "cut down to Venezuela."

There is the sinister looking daughter, Wednesday (Sarah-Anne Martinez) and mischievous little brother, Pugsley (Emma Massey). 

The company also includes a sentimental Fester (Brian Baylor) who is in love with the moon, a hunched-over Grandma (Stefanie Sambrano), who is so old no one can remember whose mother she is, and the towering, emotionless butler, Lurch (Colin Sullivan).  

In the strange world of the Addams family, to be sad is to be happy, and death and suffering are the stuff of their dreams. The real trouble begins when Gomez and Morticia are alarmed to discover Wednesday has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke (Mickey Layson), a wholesome, young man from Ohio. 

To make matters even more uncomfortable, Wednesday has invited Lucas and his respectable parents — Mal (Brandon Chu) and Alice (Victoria Sasso) — for dinner, and insists the family act "normal" for one night. 

With hesitation, and worrisome that their daughter is being pulled in a new direction, as told through a catchy musical number (some might describe as electrifying), the Addamses prepare to host a dinner for the upright family.

The awkward clash of the two families quickly shapes up to be a hilarious one from the moment the Beinekes ring the doorbell and are greeted by the taciturn Lurch, whose purposely drawn-out introduction to the family gets the crowd roaring with laughter.  

As the night goes on, the audience learns quickly, even the most well-bred families can have a few skeletons in their closet. 

Director Jimmy Calitri clearly has a fun sense of humor, and his close attention to detail — whether that be in the macabre decor of his set or the timing of reactions among the actors — helped clearly capture the kookiness of his Addams family clan. 

He's created a high-energy performance, packed with plenty of "dark" humored jokes and even some sexual innuendos that will keep the adults chuckling. 

The strong musical numbers are bewitching, toe-tapping, and don't slow down the performances one bit. Even the intimate tango number between Gomez and Morticia will captivate any spectator.

"The Addams Family" continues for showings on July 10, 11, 12 and 13. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. in the Grace Performing Arts Center, located at 316 S. Main St., Princeton.

For tickets, visits, call 815-879-5656 or stop by the box office.

Note to readers: Goldie Rapp is a senior staff writer for the Bureau County Republican.

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