We've been hearing a lot lately about the upcoming musical version of The Addams Family, with a score by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party, john & jen, new songs for the revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys).
Well, now The Addams Family appears to be on track for a Broadway bow in April 2010, after an out-of-town tryout in Chicago from November to January.
A recent workshop of the show featured Nathan Lane as Gomez, Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, and Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, although there's no word yet on whether they'll repeat those roles on Broadway.
The buzz about the workshop was quite positive, particularly for the book and the performances. Apparently the story for the musical is not based on the movies or the TV show, but rather inspired by the original Charles Addams New Yorker cartoons. (And, no, they won't be using the famed da-da-da-dum-snap-snap hook from the TV show theme song.)
Direction and design for the show will come from the eclectic pair Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter), so we're likely in for a show that's, at the very least, interesting to look at.
My take: Well, I try to see everything, so it really doesn't matter if I say that I'm going to see it. But I think audiences will be attracted to the cast, if Lane and Neuwirth do indeed sign on for the Broadway run. The brand-recognition factor should attract a sizable crowd, but I don't get the sense that it will prove to be a critic-proof, guaranteed hit. The show will only have legs if it can generate positive word of mouth, something that, for instance, Shrek has so far been able to do, and The Addams Family as a very similar, pre-packaged, brand-driven feel to it.