Home #Hwoodtimes The Addams Family Musical Equals Family Fun in Thousand Oaks

The Addams Family Musical Equals Family Fun in Thousand Oaks

At the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, Teri Hatcher leads a talented cast in a surprising storyline where fathers and daughters are heartfelt but still dangerous.

By John Lavitt

Thousand Oaks, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10-16-2022

If you are looking for a Halloween escapade for the whole family that is fun without being too scary, The Addams Family at the Bank of the Arts Performing Center in Thousand Oaks is a wise choice. With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music & lyrics by Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family musical underscores the fun and wackiness of the most inventive and lasting creations of master cartoonist Charles Addams. Well-directed by Kirsten Chandler with choreography by Darby Epperson, the good-hearted production is perfect Halloween fare for adults and kids.

Starring Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives” and “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”), who led a national tour of Cabaret as Sally Bowles in 1999, the show certainly has a touch of star power. As Morticia Addams, Teri Hatcher gives a consistent, enjoyable performance from beginning to end. At the core of her presence, she truly communicates how Morticia Addams is the grand dame of the family and the one member most in charge of the proceedings. Hatcher is the centerpiece of the show.

However, the true acting prowess and the best voices belong to Edward Staudenmayer as Gomez Addams and Janelle Villas as Wednesday Addams. With an impressive array of musical credits, Staudenmayer’s voice has a remarkable range of emotional veracity. Indeed, he takes Gomez Addams to another level by showing the dashing man’s vulnerabilities and insecurities. Caught between his wife and his daughter, Gomez is torn apart upon the realization that sometimes being a father and being a husband means being in terrible conflict.

Edward Staudenmayer, Janelle Villas and Teri Hatcher star in the 5-Star Theatricals production of “THE ADDAMS FAMILY,” playing at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks

The generator of this conflict is the dastardly Wednesday Addams, who has gone and done a horrible thing to her parents: She has fallen in love with an everyday boy from a normal family. As Wednesday, Janelle Villas is the discovery of this production. With humor and pathos, anger, and a touch of vengeance, Villas gives a strong performance that drives the plot forward while providing a point of emotional identification. Overall, she is a young actor to watch, with a lovely voice and haunting presence.

The rest of the cast is also excellent, with the standouts being Leander Lewis as a Pugsley Addams who relishes being tortured. Moreover, Aaron LaPlante is eminently watchable as a lumbering, mainly mute Lurch with a weight that slows down the rapid-fire production when the audience needs to breathe. As Alice Beineke, the young man’s mother, Trisha Rapier has moments that expertly balance fun and desperation. Ultimately, she is a woman fighting against the chains of repression.

Janelle Villas and Leander Lewis star in the 5-Star Theatricals production of “THE ADDAMS FAMILY” at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center

Although Andrew Metzger is amusing as Uncle Fester when he’s with the whole family, his campy interludes with the Addams Ancestors are a bit overdone. After a while, when another interlude happens, it becomes unwelcome as a breaking of the storyline for no real reason. Overall, the set-up of the Addams Ancestors, in the beginning, fails to pay off, and they become a cross between a mute Greek chorus and additional set dressing. In several big stage pieces, the special effects simply did not work. When pulling off such a production, swinging-for-the-fences attempts at special effects should be replaced with a focus on specifics and precision.

However, none of these minor faults detract from the truth that The Addams Family musical will be a fun night out for the whole family. It is rare to find theatre fare that satisfies the hunger for entertainment of both a seven-year-old little boy and his grandmother. In this performance at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, all family members will be entertained as Teri Hatcher takes center stage.

Photos by Jeff Ditto