By John Lyle Belden
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, 9301 Michigan Road in northwest Indianapolis, hosts “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy,” through Nov. 22.
High schooler Samantha Russell more than holds her own in her excellent portrayal of Wednesday Addams next to seasoned pros including Erin Cohenour (Morticia), Eddie Curry (Gomez), Amanda Butterbaugh (Grandma), Jeff Stockberger (Lurch) and Shaun Rice as Uncle Fester, the role he played on national tour.
The story — with Wednesday falling in love with a “normal” boy and trust issues developing between her parents — shows a family that, despite their oddities, are good-natured people we can somewhat identify with. The songs are fun and the comic hijinks entertaining. Though the subplot of Fester’s love affair with the Moon (yes, the actual heavenly body) is a little distracting, it still fits into the odd family culture the Addamses have been famous for, for generations.
The cast also includes Simon Barnes as Pugsley Addams, Blake Spallacy as Wednesday’s beau, and John Vessels and Sarah Hund as his parents. Thing is uncredited, which is unfair as he is quite “hand”some. (No Cousin Itt in this production — maybe in a sequel? — which I’m guessing was a relief to the costume crew.) Also, Jennifer Ladner, Samuel McKanney, Amy Owens, Peter Scharbrough, Kenny Shepard and Christine Zavakos appear as ghostly ancestors — trapped by Fester on this side of the grave until they help Wednesday fulfill her destiny — to help give the show more of an old-time big-dance-number musical feel.
Full disclosure: Your family will enjoy spending time with this family. Get info and tickets at 317-82-9664 or beefandboards.com.