Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Phoenix

The Addams Family
Scottsdale Community Players
Review by Gil Benbrook

Also see Gil's recent reviews of Zombie Prom, Barbecue, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Gaslight and Sister Act

The Cast
Photo by Laura Durant
It may not have garnered much critical acclaim on Broadway when it premiered in 2010 but The Addams Family has proven to be a hit musical in regional theaters; there have been at least three productions in town in the past year and there are others coming up this season. The kooky Addams Family characters first appeared in 1938 in Charles Addams' series of cartoons for The New Yorker magazine and were brought to life in the beloved 1960s TV show and the series of films that started in the 1990s. The stage musical is very funny with a huge amount of charm. With a superb cast, impressive direction, and rich creative aspects, it's receiving an incredibly solid production from Scottsdale Community Players.

The musical focuses on one day in the life of the members of the Addams family, as parents Gomez and Morticia must come to terms that their teenage daughter Wednesday is in love. Lucas, the boy she has fallen for, is from a "normal" family, something the Addams family members are the furthest from. To make matters worse, the couple have secretly gotten engaged and, with Lucas' parents, are on their way to the Addams' home for dinner where they plan to announce their plans. Wednesday tells her father about the engagement because she feels she needs his help get her mother used to the idea, but she also swears him to keep it a secret. That secret, the first time he's kept something from his wife, causes ongoing confusion along with trust issues between Gomez and Morticia. On top of this, Wednesday has asked all of her family to pretend to be normal to make a good impression on Lucas' parents, which is something the rest of the Addams clan (crazy Uncle Fester, jealous brother Pugsley, wacky Grandma, and silent butler Lurch) find extremely difficult to achieve.

Even though the central plot is one you've probably seen before, with two very different families being forced to come together, and it's not much more involved than an expanded episode of one of the TV series, bookwriters Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice incorporated some fun twists along with a large amount of hilarious lines and comic moments. Andrew Lippa's score has funny lyrics on par with the witty dialogue in the script and his music has many catchy hooks.

Under Meribeth Reeves' solid direction, the entire cast shines. Matthew Harris and Alice Liners-Johnson are wonderful as Gomez and Morticia, respectively. They both have impeccable comic timing that ensures every one of their humorous lines gets big laughs, and they have rich singing voices that excel on their numerous songs. Harris does a lovely job depicting the father who realizes his daughter has grown up and Liners-Johnson is wonderful as the jealous wife who starts to realize she's not as young as she used to be.

As Wednesday and Lucas, Samantha Zell and Charlie Hall shine as these teenagers in love whom you root to see succeed. Their singing voices are strong and their duet, "Crazier than You," is infused with an abundance of energy. Abraham Newsom and Becca Courtney are hilarious as Fester and Grandma, and Jack Walton and Rachel Balko are very good as Lucas' parents. Matthew Engel is endearing as Pugsley, and Joshua Hengst is appropriately droll as Lurch.

Reeves incorporates some fun original touches that add nice moments and she manages to incorporate the ensemble, who play the Addams' ancestors, into the show in humorous ways. DeAnn Mauro's choreography is fun and varied, and the music direction by Michael Samuel delivers rich notes from the cast. The set by Peter Bish and Chase Budden is fairly static but works well on the large Stagebrush Theatre stage to depict the large Addams home and the various other locations outside the house that come into play in the plot. Heather Riddle's costumes perfectly depict the iconic characters, including some excellent ones for the ancestors. Dale Nakagawa's lighting is gorgeous and the sound design by Bish is clear and bright. Micki Harp's props are fun and comical. Holly Payne's make-up designs are very impressive.

The Addams Family is a fast-paced musical with a never-ending string of jokes. Scottsdale Community Players production has sharp direction, lovely creative elements, and a wonderful cast who beautifully depict these lovable, gothic and ghoulish characters while also managing to elicit non-stop laughs and a lot of charm.

Scottsdale Community Players' The Addams Family runs through October 30, 2022, at Greasepaint Youth Theatre, 7020 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale AZ. For information and tickets, call 480-949-7529 or visit

Directed by Meribeth Reeves
Musical Director: Michael Samuel
Choreographer: DeAnn Mauro
Set Designer: Peter Bish and Chase Budden
Lighting Designer: Dale Nakagawa
Costume Design: Heather Riddle
Sound Designer: Peter Bish
Props Designer: Micki Harp
Makeup Designer: Holly Payne
Stage Manager: Jordan Cline

Gomez Addams: Matthew Harris
Morticia Addams: Alice Liners-Johnson
Uncle Fester: Abraham Newsom
Grandma: Becca Courtney
Wednesday Addams: Samantha Zell
Lucas Beineke: Charlie Hall
Mal Beineke: Jack Walton
Alice Beineke: Rachel Balko
Pugsley: Matthew Engel
Lurch: Joshua Hengst
Cousin It: Juniper Newsum
Ensemble: Connor Smith, Josh Ransford, Colleen Rose, Andru Moeller, James Nesbitt, Melissa Engel, Juniper Newsum, Katelyn Sullivan, Christina Clodt, Lynn Golden, Ava Seidensticker, Dani Tople, Abby Caplan, Randi Jill, Abby Golden, Isabel Wallace, Olvier Pool