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Queens Chronicle

You just might click your fingers to these numbers

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:30 am

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, and, as evidenced in “The Addams Family,” the hit musical comedy now drawing large crowds to Maggie’s Little Theater in Middle Village, they’re a hell of a lot of fun to be around. The show runs through July 19, and it is well worth catching.

With a book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the show is based on now-iconic characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams. Under the attentive direction of Amanda Montoni, the current production is fast-paced and sometimes quite funny, particularly in the longer and more diverting first half.

A great opening number, “When You’re an Addams,” performed by members of the family, both living and resurrected, sets the ghoulish tone that pervades most of the evening (or afternoon). There’s an equally entertaining Act One finale that goes by the name of “Full Disclosure.” As that implies, lots of secrets are revealed, many of them outlandish.

Between the two numbers, multiple plots unfold, including a central one revolving around Gomez and Morticia Addams’ daughter, Wednesday, and her desire to marry into a “normal” family.

This leads to issues between the two sets of parents, as well as more than a touch of acrimony within each of their respective marriages.

Then there’s the case of Uncle Fester, who reveals he is in love with, of all things, the moon; and Grandmama’s potions; and Wednesday’s penchant for torturing her younger brother, Pugsley, on a rack.

The second half of the show isn’t as lively or diverting as the first, consisting primarily of more intimate scenes and just a few rather bland ballads. But this is a commentary on the show itself, rather than on the current rendering.

For a show like this to work, the entire cast must buy into the lunacy, and this one does from top to bottom.

There’s great chemistry between Thom Harmon and Virginia Harmon as Gomez Addams and his wife, Morticia, as well there should be: They’re married in real life, as well. She, in particular, captures the other-worldly essence of her character in both looks and demeanor.

Tara Mangione has a great set of pipes, which she has ample opportunity to display as Wednesday. She is nearly matched in vocal power by young Jacqueline Mikol, who, in a case of gender-blind casting, does a wonderful job as the troubled Pugsley.

As the parents of Lucas (appropriately bland Matthew Frenzel), Wednesday’s intended, Dolores Voyer and Jim Gillespie, could have stepped out of an episode of “Leave It to Beaver,” at least until their true feelings begin to emerge. Voyer has her big vocal moment in “Waiting,” in which she reveals her hidden misery.

Joe Paciullo as Fester reveals a fine singing voice in his Vaudeville-inspired numbers. Miriam P. Denu has a few juicy bits as Grandmama; and nearly walking off with the show without uttering much at all is Kevin Reilly, a scene stealer as Lurch, the family’s perennially gloomy butler, who’s caught somewhere between the living and the dead.

Kudos to the ensemble for bringing (back) to life a wide variety of Addams ancestors. Things are always most lively (ironically enough!) when they are around.

Choreographer Jonathan Mora has provided a wide range of mostly simple dance moves, which the performers executive adroitly. The orchestra, led by musical director Paul L. Johnson, is larger than many community theater productions and offers strong support throughout.

Technical director Ed Voyer has all aspects of the production under control; Alan Perkins’ turntable set design is impressive; and Amy Ellis whipped up an interesting array of costumes, complemented by Isobel Williams’ make-up design.

‘The Addams Family’
When: Sat., July 13 and Fri., July 19, 8 p.m.; and Sun., July 14 and 21, 2:30 p.m.
Where: St. Margaret Parish Hall, 66-05 79 Place, Middle Village
Tickets: $20; $18 (seniors 65 and kids under 12; (917) 579-5389,

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