Review: ‘The Addams Family Young @ Part’ at Ovations Junior Company

Ovations Theatre’s The Addams Family Young @ Part brings a fresh and original storyline to the beloved, if unconventional, family with a penchant for all things macabre. The Ovations Junior Company delivers an energetic, fun, and family-friendly performance in a musical with an original storyline (book by Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa). The show’s title hints that this isn’t your grandma’s Addams family, though the catchy musical numbers (Music Director Arielle Bayer and choreography by Rick Westerkamp), enthusiastic performances, and humor will appeal to everyone from classic Addams family fans to the youngest audience members.

The Addams Family: Young @ Part. Photo by Traci J. Brooks of Lock & Company.

The show opens with the charismatic and charming Gomez Addams (delightfully playful as portrayed by Matthew Rubin) along with Addams family members Morticia (played with morose elegance by Genevieve Doyle), Wednesday (the epitome of the angsty teenager as portrayed by Alexis Cheng), Festor (the adorable Andrew Shea), Pugsley (portrayed as spunkily pugnacious by Delaney Single), and Grandma (played with comedic precision by Danielle Carter) educating us about what it means to be a member of their clan in “When You’re an Addams.”

The cast, with the exception of Andrew Shea as Festor Addams, Elijah Fischer as Lurch, and The Addams Family Ancestor Soloists and Ensemble, alternates each performance; I saw the opening night performance on Jan. 19. The spooky graveyard set backdrop (scenic design by James Raymond) and dark-hued costumes (design by Eleanor Dicks) hearken back to the iconic cartoon characters we older audience members will remember.  The set transitions to the gothic-chic Addams family abode, where we learn of Wednesday Addams’ quandary as she sings “Pulled” ­­–she’s found love and is about to introduce her “normal” boyfriend to her decidedly different family.

The Addams Family: Young @ Part. Photo by Traci J. Brooks of Lock & Company.

Humorous hijinks ensue as the full cast, including the ethereal Addams Family Ancestor Soloists (Kassidy Kepner, Shayna Kolter, Sienna Manatos, Emma Orsini, Kelley Russell, and Reese Schenkel) and Addams Family Ancestor Ensemble (Carol Brewer, Hannah Carter, Mark Chen, Abby Chesman, Jordan Cohen, Reina Fontanez, Audrey Perra, Iris Postovit, and Lydia Sayers) prepare for “One Normal Night,” which turns out to be anything but. Morticia, senses there’s something Gomez and Wednesday are hiding from her, while Pugsley yearns for the sister he’s always known to return to the Addams fold (despite a hilariously torturous sibling relationship); Uncle Festor moons over the idea of young love; Grandma doles out wonky words of wisdom along with her poisonous potions; and Lurch literally lurches along in the background, eliciting laughs with funny facial expressions and the occasional good-natured growl.

By the time the Beinekes arrive for dinner, the Addams are ready to put on a show – but little do they know that Wednesday’s paramour’s parents have some issues of their own, as we learn as the cast sings “Full Disclosure.” Mom Alice Beineke (played by Mia Rohan) is a rhyming ray of sunshine and plays the perfect foil to morbid Mortici,a and Beineke patriarch, Mal (portrayed by Joseph Ferguson), is the most straight-laced of the bunch. Lucas, Wednesday’s love (played by Alex Levy), is earnest in his affection and reveals he may be “Crazier Than You” as he tries to impress the Addams family and win Wednesday’s heart.

Will Wednesday and Lucas find their happily ever after? As Morticia helpfully reminds us, “Death is Right Around the Corner,” so get to the JCC and experience this lively family musical.  You’ll be glad you did.

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

The Addams Family Young @ Part played through January 21, 2018, at the at the Kreeger Auditorium at the JCC of Greater Washington, 6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville, MD 20852.

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