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Last night Mrs. K and I took our granddaughter Hanna to see Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre’s current production – the 2010 musical comedy The Addams Family, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Based on the popular Addams Family comic strip and the 1964 television program, the show offers a coming of age story about Addams daughter Wednesday, who falls in love with a “normal” young man, Lucas Bieneke. Complications arise when they decide to marry and Wednesday enlists her father Gomez to keep the banns secret from his wife Morticia, whom he has never before been secretive with. Add in mayhem from Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley, Grandma, a cadre of Addams “ancestors” and Lucas’ parents Mal and Alice, and you have a multi-faceted plotline filled with good humor and some surprisingly well-written songs. It’s a perfect Halloween themed show for the month of October!

The Addams Family (from left): Grandma (Amanda Butterbaugh), Lurch (Jeff Stockberger), Wednesday (Samantha Russell), Gomez (Eddie Curry), Morticia (Erin Cohenour), Pugsley (Simon Barnes) and Uncle Fester (Shaun Rice)

The Addams Family (from left): Grandma (Amanda Butterbaugh), Lurch (Jeff Stockberger), Wednesday (Samantha Russell), Gomez (Eddie Curry), Morticia (Erin Cohenour), Pugsley (Simon Barnes) and Uncle Fester (Shaun Rice)

Eddie Curry both directs and takes on the role of Gomez – the hot-blooded, put upon patriarch of this odd clan. He handles the part with polish and verve – easily conveying both the comic and heartening qualities of the husband/father. Curry is often lauded on this site for his comedic abilities, but we sometimes overlook his wonderful serious acting skills, not to mention a strong singing voice. His is the central character in this piece and he gives a superior performance. Also, his direction results in a crisp and well paced production.

Erin Cohenour is cast as Gomez’ sultry wife, Morticia. Tall and lithe, Ms. Cohenour is a perfect choice; she combines vocal and dancing skills with an enchanting presence, giving her creation just the right sense of dangerous allure. Her daughter Wednesday is played by Samantha Russell, a local talent making her first B&B appearance. Ms. Russell is the most pleasant surprise of the evening, as the high school senior handles all of her character’s songs and situations with top-notch professional ability. She shows great confidence and talent as she rolls through her role and I am hopeful we will see more of her on the B&B stage – in fact, I am certain we will.

Pressured by his wife Morticia (Erin Cohenour), right, Gomez (Eddie Curry), center, tries to cancel a dinner planned by his daughter, Wednesday (Samantha Russell)

Pressured by his wife Morticia (Erin Cohenour), right, Gomez (Eddie Curry), center, tries to cancel a dinner planned by his daughter, Wednesday (Samantha Russell)

It’s the crazy characters that make the Addams family so much fun. Uncle Fester – played by another B&B first-timer, Shaun Rice, Lurch – portrayed by funnyman Jeff Stockberger, Grandma – provided by long-time B&B actress, Amanda Butterbaugh, and Pugsley – as presented by young Simon Barnes, all strongly resemble their comic strip counterparts, partly due to the terrific costuming provided by Jill Kelly and remarkable makeup design by Daniel Klingler.

The ancestors of the Addams Family emerge from the family crypt in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of the musical comedy

The ancestors of the Addams Family emerge from the family crypt in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of the musical comedy “The Addams Family”.

The Beineke family, who provide the “normal” side of the equation here – are skillfully portrayed by B&B regulars John Vessels as Mal, Sarah Hund as Alice, and Blake Spellacy, who plays the love-crossed Lucas. Filling out the scenes are the Ancestors: (pictured above) Kenny Shepard, Christine Zavahos, Samuel McKanney, Amy Owens, Jennifer Ladner and Peter Scharborough.

The Beef and Boards Orchestra, directed by Terry Woods, lends a full musical and atmospheric quality to the proceedings, sounding as if there are quite a few more players than just the 5 up in the band loft.

Chef Odell Ward’s offerings on the buffet line are especially tasty (mmmm, Chicken Coq au Vin!) and the B&B staff of waiters and their helpers are always attentive and friendly – making the visit to Beef and Boards a complete pleasure.

Bottomline: Whether or not you are familiar with the antics of The Addams Family, this is a completely enjoyable theatre experience. As always, B&B has cast very talented people to present their shows and this one, in particular, is especially pleasing with it’s combination of familiar and new cast members.

The Addams Family continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through November 22nd. Show times and reservations can be obtained at http://www.beefandboards.com or by calling 317-872-9664.

  • – Photos by Julie Curry
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