Thursday, October 25, 2018
By ERIC MCCREA
Halloween is almost here and Youngstown State University Theater is celebrating in classic fashion with “The Addams Family” musical.
The altogether ooky family of television sitcom fame finds itself at a crossroads when a mature Wednesday Addams, played by Angelique Tanner, announces that she has a boyfriend named Lucas (Adam Domincik.) What’s more, his parents are visiting (from Ohio!), and they want to meet the Addams. Both families encounter a bit of culture shock and fall victim to some spooky mayhem.
Director Matthew Mazuroski did an impressive job with a very talented cast, but the script leaves a lot to be desired. The music is generally too upbeat for this beloved macabre family, and the story pulls characters such as Morticia and Wednesday away from their delightfully dark appeal.
An imperfect script didn’t stop this production from being impressive, with a striking set, great lighting and a flawless orchestra. A substantial ensemble of dead Addams ancestors donned fantastic costumes designed by Katherine Garlick and scene changes done by the ensemble were noticeably smooth.
The choreography by Amy Wright was energetic and sharp, making the production look very professional in the opening number “When You’re an Addams.”
The cast made easy work of harmonies and made musical director Maria Fenty Denison proud in show-stopping numbers such as “Full Disclosure” and “Move Toward the Darkness.”
Leading the cast was Ben Mowrer as Gomez, with a subdued fatherly charm. He had a solid voice, and he did well carrying the comedic tone of the show. He showed off his array of talents with the song “Happy/Sad.”
Jessica Hirsh was undeniably brilliant as Morticia, despite the faults in the writing. She was especially funny during her song “Just Around the Corner.”
Hirsh had a great deadpan, which is essential to Morticia’s style of humor.
Nathan Wagner played Uncle Fester with a sweet charisma that came through in his song “The Moon and Me.” He stays out of the main story for the most part, but the character adds a ton of magnetism to the show.
AnnMarie Lowerre was a crowd favorite as the oddball Grandma. She definitely had the most impressive makeup and wig, and she imbued the character with a distinct style.
Aislinn Lowry shined as Pugsley, and she made the entire show more fun. Her solo “What if” was heartfelt and touching, and her antics were the most enjoyable.
Tanner and Dominick were a cute couple with a bit of a twist. Their song “Crazier than You” was one of the best in the show.
Makenzie Moorman was a standout as Alice Beineke. Her song “Waiting” felt like an odd fit in this show, but she performed it spectacularly.
Also noteworthy were DJ Davis as Mal Beineke, Max Stoddard as Lurch and Daniel Navabi as the Conquistador Ancestor.
“The Addams Family” can be seen at YSU’s Ford Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call 330-941-3105 or go to ysu.tix.com.