‘Addams Family’ a creepy, kooky crowd-pleaser


Something spooktacular is brewing at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, but only for a limited time. The latest production by the American Southwest Theatre Company and the New Mexico State University Theatre Arts department, “The Addams Family,” a musical comedy, has reconnected us to one of our collective guilty pleasures. Yes, that’s right, the creepy, kooky, all-American family, based on Charles Addams’ beloved cartoons, have brought their special brand of spooky to the stage in a spirited song and dance fest.

These are not usually the kinds of words one associates with The Addams Family, but the 2010 Broadway hit – which ran for 722 performances and earned two Tony nominations, including best original score – is a finger-snapping sensation. Expertly directed by Lisa Hermanson, with musical direction of an occasionally cacophonous pit orchestra by Peyton Womble, the cast of young performers ably step into the well-worn shoes of the iconic characters with an enthusiasm that is infectious.

In the original, if somewhat familiar story, the popular characters find themselves facing a new challenge. Wednesday is all grown up and ready for love. Unfortunately, the love she’s found is with “so normal, he’s from Ohio,” letter-jacket-wearing Lucas Beneke. To make matters worse, Wednesday has decided to bring the two families together for one unforgettable evening. The result is almost disastrous, and therein lies the tale.

In the key roles of Gomez and Morticia Addams, Mario Montiel and Mattie Ruminer are delightful in their romantically entwined roles as patriarch and matriarch of a rowdy, unconventional family. Eva Cullen as Wednesday Addams, and Delaney Dwyer as Lucas Beneke make the most of their central love story, with a cuteness factor that literally makes young Pugsly Addams, played with mopey verve by Julian Castro, retch. Benjamin Ramsey and Greta Greenblatt hit all the right notes as the frightfully normal Ohio parental figures whose world is turned upside down.

Standouts of this production are not unexpected. Carlos Huereca as the rhapsodic lunatic Uncle Fester, who darts around the stage with a vitality and delivery that rivals most depictions of the character, is a crowd pleaser. Making the most of smaller parts with memorable moments are Emma Kenney as Grandma Addams, and Camren Vugteveen as the shambling dogsbody, Lurch. The final ingredients – physical comedy, combined with a smart, dead-on script, and delightful dance numbers – make for an enjoyably energetic evening.

A simple, yet effective set by Aaron Krohn, and uncommonly glitzy costumes by Heather Striebel, round out the eerie composition. The only thing missing from this production are the puppets which, apparently, gave an added texture to the Broadway version and are, thus, a disappointing omission. Even so, as the opening night’s multi-generational crowd will attest, there is something for everybody and laughs aplenty. You might even find yourself humming a few of the toe-tapping tunes long after the fact.

‘The Addams Family’ has its final weekend run April 26 – 28, 2024, at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts on the New Mexico State University campus. More information is available online at

Addams Family, musical comedy, review