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ARTS & CULTURE
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This family puts the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’

A visit with ‘The Addams Family’ may not say ‘holidays’ to you, but go with it!

by tamirra stewartPublished: December 01, 2012

Take a bow, you freaks.
This is the family I grew up in: When my dad came back from business trips, instead of fat pencils with local tourist attractions printed on them, he brought me plastic shrunken heads as souvenirs. On family vacations, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not would take the place of Disneyland, and instead of Lonely Planet travel guides, we would buy the books featuring tours of local haunted houses – the radical ones where poltergeists eat dogs and throw knives or something.
   
It’s no surprise then that “The Addams Family” reruns were required watching at our house. My father also made sure our Sunday comics reading included old strips of “The Addams Family” to supplement our, let’s face it, less extraordinary adventures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
   
My dad would have loved making “The Addams Family Musical” the alternative to another squeaky-clean viewing of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
   
So, because of this, I am deeply indebted to the creative staff of “The Addams Family,” an expectedly offbeat musical that includes the talents of “Jersey Boys” alums Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, as well as choreographer Sergio Trujillo. The story revolves around teenage daughter Wednesday Addams and her family’s approval and acceptance of her “normal” boyfriend and his family. The über-close relationship between her parents, Gomez and Morticia, serves as a hurdle for Wednesday, and she makes her father promise not to spill the beans to his precious wife, something unheard of for him.
   
This poses the question: What constitutes a “normal” family? All the elements exist – the strange uncle, annoying younger brother, overprotective father and a common situation involving a teenage daughter. Yes, her mom lops the blooms off the roses and puts the stems in water. However, what’s wonderful about the Addams clan is that they don’t realize that they’re considered odd. The word “dysfunctional” isn’t even in the script.
   
For this reason, this musical provides a quirky look at the charming, even innocent role models of the people who constitute our ties that bind. I wonder if Gomez brought his kids fat pencils and personalized license plate key chains when he returned from his business trips? scfta.org

ALSO, CHECK OUT:

‘Ameryka’
South Coast Repertory
Dec. 6 – 10
After the recent election, we’re all too familiar with partisanship. The Critical Mass Performance Group demonstrates how divergent opinions can blend, through connections between the U.S. and Poland from the Revolutionary War to post 9-11. scr.org

‘A Song for Christmas’
Encore Dinner Theatre
Dec. 7 – 30
In this holiday story, a pianist achieves long-sought success, but to do so he had to leave behind his family and true love, Julie. Will Anthony discover what serves as a priority and what is simply
(holiday) window dressing? encoredinnertheatre.com