‘The Addams Family’ visits DPAC this week

 By Lincoln Pennington
Times-News correspondent

DURHAM — When most people think about “The Addams Family,” the snappy theme song comes to mind, along with the dark, quirky characters. In 2010, though, the lovable family found a new home on Broadway.

This week, theatergoers will have the opportunity to see the first touring production of “The Addams Family” at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).

This musical production of the hit television and film series is based on the Addams Family comic strips, which were first published in “The New Yorker.” With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Libba, the musical follows the same “kooky” characters and introduces new ones with a slight twist.

Cortney Wolfson, who plays Wednesday Addams, took time out of her busy schedule during a stop in Hartford, Conn., last Thursday to share her perspective on the show. In the musical, Wednesday is now a young woman and is engaged to a “normal” boy.

Wolfson said everyone, whether they have seen the series or not, can “relate to the characters’ quirkiness” and their “everyday problems.”

On Broadway, she was the understudy for Wednesday Addams when the show starred Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. About being on stage with Nathan Lane, she simply said it was “amazing,” noting that being on stage with him during the song “Happy/Sad” was an incredible experience.

Comparing the Broadway and touring productions, Wolfson said, “they are very different productions. The big conflict between Gomez and Morticia is more relevant (in the touring production).” The central problem, which was added to the touring production, is that Gomez is trying to keep Wednesday’s engagement hidden from his wife, Morticia. In addition, the music audiences can expect to hear now is actually not the same as what is on the original cast recording.

According to Wolfson, the show is very contemporary and has a lot of Spanish and Flamenco influences. She described Wednesday’s song “Pulled” as “every musical theater girl’s dream,” saying that it just “sticks in your head.”

When asked about the cast’s character development, Wolfson responded by saying “family is an interesting dynamic,” elaborating “the cast is a family both onstage and offstage.” For her personally, she focused on Wednesday’s “struggle between little girl and grown-up.” DPAC patrons may remember Wolfson from “Legally Blonde” in which she played Serena when it came to DPAC in 2009.

In “The Addams Family,” though, Wolfson said she plays a character exactly the opposite of the sorority girl. In fact, she laughed that she had to learn how to maintain a “stone face” for her new role. “The show is for everyone, no matter the age,” Wolfson said. “It makes a great date night.”

National touring production of “The Addams Family” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 through March 1, 2012; 8 p.m. March 2, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 3 and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. March 4, Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), The American Tobacco District, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets start at $11 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (919) 680-2787.

 Lincoln Pennington is a senior at The Elon School and a Teens & Twenties writer.

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