The Addams Family faces New York critics
Nearly three months after the end of its Chicago run, The Addams Family finally met the press in New York when it officially opened at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre last night. As compiled by our pals at New York's StageGrade, the reviews are not good. Taken together, they provide a snapshot for those of us wondering how much the Nathan Lane-Bebe Neuwirth vehicle's evolved since its Oriental Theatre run (here's my December review) and the late recruitment of show doctor Jerry Zaks. It sounds like the answer is: not enough. (Or, I can't believe they kept the fucking squid.)
Many reviewers seem to be laying the troubles at the feet of composer Andrew Lippa or original directors and designers Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott, though the Times's Ben Brantley, in one of the harshest writeups, says, "What’s more surprising (given Mr. Brickman and Mr. Elice’s solid collaboration on Jersey Boys) is the ragbag nature of the script, which seems to be shaped by an assortment of mismatched approaches." Oh, Ben. If only you'd seen Turn of the Century, you might not be so surprised. StageGrade judges the Trib's Chris Jones to have the second-most positive assessment, behind contrarian John Simon's unmitigated rave. My counterpart at Time Out New York, David Cote, liked it better than most. (I'll admit I seriously looked at winging into New York last weekend to re-review Addams and Million Dollar Quartet, which opens there Sunday, but couldn't work it out what with all the Chicago theater that needed my attention.) It'll be interesting now to see how the show fares in the Tony Award nominations, to be announced May 4. As a number of Addams stories have noted, the big-budget show is the only family-friendly new musical on Broadway this season—and this season, the press doesn't have a voice in the Tonys.