The Addams Family musical began its run at the Hippodrome last night, and Charles Addams must be spinning and dancing and singing in his grave. Addams, who created the characters in New Yorker cartoons that date back to the late-1930s, might have objected to some of the production's slicker elements—the svelte and handsome Gomez, for instance, bears little resemblance to Addams' chubbier, creepier original—but he'd likely be impressed by the playfully gothic sets, macabre humor (courtesy of co-writer Marshall Brickman, who's well-known for his work on Woody Allen films), memorable music, and tight choreography. Blake Hammond (Uncle Fester) nearly steals the show with a comically brilliant "The Moon and Me" in Act Two, and Douglas Sills (Gomez) pulls out all the stops on two numbers, "Happy/Sad" and "Not Today." The standing ovation received by the entire cast was well-deserved.
And let's not forget that the quintessential Gomez walks among us. Jon Astin, who played the part on the classic TV series, lives in Baltimore and turns 83 at the end of this month.