Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Stage

Review: ‘Addams Family’ cast, choreography, costumes worth seeing at Richey Suncoast

NEW PORT RICHEY — DO. NOT. MISS. THIS. SHOW.

I’m talking about The Addams Family, the musical comedy based on the Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, several television series and two feature films, but with updated cultural references for current audiences, as well as some favorite oldies. If you enjoy musical theater and/or big laughs, you will love this show.

It’s playing weekends through May 27 at Richey Suncoast Theatre with a superb cast, terrific choreography, a knockout set, fine little orchestra, fantastic costumes and makeup, great lighting and sound, and the excellent direction Suncoast regulars have come to expect from executive director Marie Skelton.

This show is a winner from start to finish, with several scenes so much fun they could be a show all on their own. Take the ones where newcomer Jeannine Hinkel’s Grandma Frump offers her Full Disclosure during a family dinner, and dinner guest Alice Beineke (a delightful Jess Glass) reveals her true self at the end of Act 1. What gems.

Despite a sizable cast of 23 executing fancy dance steps and several scene changes, there is nary a discernible pause nor glitch during the two and a half hour show. Any blackouts are intentional and part of the action.

The Addams Family, of course, is the weird family living on two prime acres in the middle of New York City that they inherited from an uncle who was awarded the plot in 1750 from a grateful Queen Isabella of Spain. His name? Alphonso the Enormous — get it?

A delightful David Daly plays Gomez, the wealthy patriarch who is completely under the control of the bewitching Morticia, played cool and cruel by Suzanne Meck. Meck has the original Morticia’s moves down pat — imperiously crossed arms, slinky moves, sideways glances that could kill, and thin, fire engine red lips that curl with disdain at the very thought of empathy, kindness or tenderness. The two are a perfect match, exchanging one-liners with machine-gun precision and dancing a challenging, sexy tango, Flamenco, quasi-bullfight in the penultimate number. Kudos to resident choreographer Melissa Smith for this and many other production numbers.

Newcomer Jonathan Foster is a treasure as the bald, short, wisecracking Uncle Fester, who strums his ukulele and falls madly, hilariously in love halfway through the show. Foster inhabits Uncle Fester, always in character, silently assessing conversations of other characters with small nods and hand gestures that add to what other players are doing without upstaging them. This is a valuable skill worth noting and appreciating.

Bri Fawley is wonderful as a deadpanning Wednesday, the Addams daughter who falls in love with good-looking, seemingly normal Lucas Beineke (Cody Hunter Farkas). His apparently normal family may be shocked … shocked at the Addams family’s attitudes and values. Or not.

J.W. Stephens plays little brother Pugsley with spunk and sneer, savoring the torture big sister Wednesday doles out and plotting to keep her at home so she can keep torturing him. Roger Kleemichen makes a fine Lurch, the solemn-faced butler who may be, as Gomez surmises about other relatives, "alive, dead or undecided." And newcomer Derek Henson is the aces as Mal Beineke, an apparently uptight corporate type hiding a latent hippie.

Each of the 12 "Ancestors" emerge from the graveyard once a year for a reunion, but won’t be allowed to go back in until Wednesday’s romance comes to a satisfactory conclusion. They do a grand job, dragging themselves zombie-style around the stage, then perking up for high-energy, precision dance numbers right on cue.

Romona Fletcher and Jeannine Hinkel’s costumes and the uncredited makeup artists deserve highest praises for creating outfits and faces that enhance the characters and the show. Music director Michele Paula Rose’s seven-piece orchestra does a grand job of keeping up the tempo, especially considering that Ms. Rose stepped in during the final week of rehearsal after two previous music directors had to drop out due to work conflicts. Lisa Dolcey and Brooke Gonzalez deserve special recognition for stepping into the breach as rehearsal vocal coaches to keep the show on schedule in the absence of a designated music director.

One final fun note is Miles Worssell as Cousin Itt, the little fellow who wanders around under a 360-degree cover of ankle-length hair, his green John Lennon-style glasses apparently giving him no more sight than a bat under klieg lights.

Comments
Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra wraps up its final masterworks concert of the season with a masterfully complex Johannes Brahms piano concerto and Ludwig van Beethoven’s warmly accessible Symphony No. 6, commonly known as the "Pastoral."Friday’s sold-o...
Published: 05/19/18
Florida Orchestra to offer violin lessons for at-risk Tampa youth

Florida Orchestra to offer violin lessons for at-risk Tampa youth

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra will begin tutoring at-risk children free of charge, thanks to a Hillsborough County grant.The $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. pays for six weeks of violin instruction at select recreatio...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Orchestra performs last masterworks of the season, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6

Orchestra performs last masterworks of the season, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6

GRAND MASTERS: BEETHOVEN AND BRAHMSIt’s last call for the Florida Orchestra’s masterworks season. And why not close out the 50th season with two passionate cannon blasts, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, better known as th...
Published: 05/16/18
Review: ‘Addams Family’ cast, choreography, costumes worth seeing at Richey Suncoast

Review: ‘Addams Family’ cast, choreography, costumes worth seeing at Richey Suncoast

NEW PORT RICHEY — DO. NOT. MISS. THIS. SHOW.I’m talking about The Addams Family, the musical comedy based on the Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, several television series and two feature films, but with updated cultural references for current au...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/15/18

Review: ‘Calendar Girls’ stage show needs a touch-up

Oh, how I wish this could be a glowing review of the dramedy Calendar Girls, playing weekends through May 20 at Stage West Community Playhouse.The show about longtime friends semi-baring their bosoms to make a calendar to raise money to buy a sofa fo...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/14/18
13-year-old singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer talks 'America's Got Talent' and more

13-year-old singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer talks 'America's Got Talent' and more

TAMPA — You wouldn’t guess it from her exuberance and stage presence, qualities that helped her win last year’s America’s Got Talent, but Darci Lynne Farmer was once shy and withdrawn. "It was hard," the 13-year-old singing v...
Published: 05/10/18
Freefall’s adaptation of ‘The Machine Stops,’ a story from 1909, just might foretell the future

Freefall’s adaptation of ‘The Machine Stops,’ a story from 1909, just might foretell the future

ST. PETERSBURGImagine a world in which people live underground because the air is too polluted to breathe; humans communicate through a vast "Machine" that connects anyone in the world through undersea cables but exacts a price in lost intimacy.Of co...
Published: 05/09/18
What’s on stage this week: Darci Lynne Farmer, Florida Orchestra does Michael Jackson

What’s on stage this week: Darci Lynne Farmer, Florida Orchestra does Michael Jackson

AGT WINNER: DARCI LYNNE FARMERBy the time Darci Lynne Farmer took the America’s Got Talent stage with her puppet, Petunia, the young ventriloquist had already won entertainer of the year honors at American Kids in Branson, Mo., and an International M...
Published: 05/09/18

Stage West announces 2018-19 season, ticket prices

SPRING HILL — A 15-year-old comedy by comedian/banjo player Steve Martin that is new to this area is one of eight shows announced for the 2018-19 season at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.It’s The Underpants, an adaptation of the 1910 G...
Published: 05/07/18
Updated: 05/08/18

Richey Suncoast announces changes, 2018-19 seasons

NEW PORT RICHEY — Richey Suncoast Theatre has announced major changes for the 2018-19 season at its Grand Boulevard venue, as well as the return of a four-show season geared toward mature audiences in an intimate Black Box Theatre setting.The most ob...
Published: 05/07/18