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Thursday, October 21, 2010

13 Days of Halloween - The Addams Family... Sings?


I love Charles Addams' comics. I've discussed them once before, here. He was doing things that paved the road for future comics like The Far Side. His humor was a little twisted, a little macabre and always surprising and ingenious. His comics were the basis for the Addams Family TV show that aired in the 60s and a feature film released in the 90s. Almost every one of the sight gags or jokes in the movie were taken directly from his comics. The picture above is how the Addams Family appeared in his cartoons.

As a child, I would hurry home from school to catch the television episodes. Not caring that they were in black and white, all I knew was that the show's humor resonated with me and I connected with their strange sensibilities. I was always a different, weird kid (Big surprise there, right?) so it was nice to see a family of people that I could relate to. (Yeah, that's right, I related to the Addams Family... paging Dr. Freud!) And I'm still a fan. I've collected all the TV shows and the film on DVD and have watched them more times than I can count. I've collected most of Addams' comics in book form as well. For the longest time, I had the TV show's theme song as my ringtone, and I might just admit that I have a secret desire to name my first daughter Wednesday. I feel like the Addams Family is a distant third branch on my family tree, and I always feel at home when I pop in the DVD or crack open a book. It really is like visiting old friends.

Just recently, I have received some disconcerting news that the Addams Family has been turned into a... brace yourselves... a Broadway musical. Hmm. Uh. Yeah. Not sure how I feel about that. I cannot imagine the Addams Family singing, unless it was the Mamushka, of course. The musical stars two very talented, funny people: Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia. For the most part, I just can't seem to wrap my sensibilities around musicals. Perhaps I would like this one? But I just can't envision Uncle Fester or Wednesday breaking into Broadway song. Singing showtunes seems a little too cheery for this dreary little family. You can check out the website for the musical here. What do you think? Do you enjoy musicals or do you find them cheesy and a bit hard to take (like I do)? Leave me a comment and let me know. In the meantime, I'm going to go fire up the DVD player and visit my old friends. They're creepy and their kooky, mysterious and spooky...

14 comments:

chandy said...

I LOVE musicals. LOVE them! (I'm kinda shocked that you don't love them as well! You like music, Disney, fantasy, art... what's the deal? ;)

Lane and Neuwirth are fabulous too... I really think she's an excellent choice for Morticia. And the Addams family just seems silly enough to work in musical form.

D.L. White said...

I think it's the actual style of songs/singing/music that is used in musicals that turns me off. It just doesn't click with me. I do like Phantom of the Opera, though... go figure...

Anonymous said...

I'm picturing a very high level of camp for this proposed musical. Very high. I'm with you on the musicals for the most part. I've liked a few. It seems like they're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole with this project. What's next? NPR - the Musical! Your 9th Grade Science Textbook - The Musical! Health Care Reform - The Musical! We take all comers here at the Musical Factory!

D.L. White said...

LOL @ "NPR - the Musical"!

Kristi said...

I, personally, am not a big fan of Halloween, or of Tim Burton, or of Harry Potter, or of the Addams family. (I do like Disneyland--and it sounds like they go all out for the "holidays.")

And, I am a huge fan of musicals. Huge. Fan. So, when artists take a non-musical story (that I probably don't care anything about) and transform it into a musical spectacular, I'm often times exposed to something (a story) that I wouldn't have been interested in previously.

Musicals are often "happy"--and I dig happy, though I know that style isn't for everyone.

Maybe someday they'll make Harry Potter into a musical, and then maybe I'll actually take some interest in it. :)

I had no idea you loved Halloween so much! This is a really interesting blog series to read through--yea for blogging!

Laura said...

I loved The Munsters. I thought the black and white added to the "spooky" nature of the show... Grandpa being a vampire and all. :)

I enjoy musicals but I imagine it must feel like this for non-musical lovers.

"But I don't want any of that! I'd rather... I'd rather... just... sing..."

Laura said...

I should clarify that while I enjoy musicals I LOVE opera/operetta where the entire story is conveyed via song, my favorite being Les Miserables. My first time seeing Les Miz was on broadway in 1988. I was instantly in love.

Also, maybe a little insight as to why you don't care for musicals but enjoy opera is tied to the effort of an operatic composer to set a certain tone for the story which is usually darker than a traditional American musical which can, to use your word, tend to be a bit "campy". In live action movies it can look forced for actors to stop everything and "... just... sing..." but it's easier to accept in cartoon (ie Disney). I mean, if we are already going along with talking mice, why can't they sing too?

D.L. White said...

@Kristi - Thanks for reading along, even though it sounds like this stuff isn't what floats your boat (and that's okay). Tim Burton is definitely not for everyone, and even though I love his artistic style, it's definitely a love-hate relationship because I frequently find myself annoyed by his flaws in plot or inconsistent storylines, or, in his later films, his heavy-handed anti-marriage and anti-Christianity messages.

Have you seen "Big Fish"? It's the movie I recommend to non-Burton fans. It's unlike any of his other stuff, and made me cry like a baby. It's about a grown man looking back on his relationship with his father (it's also about the art of storytelling and how we communicate through our stories).

I think my previous Halloween posts were better than these (so far) because they were more about my memories of the holiday as a kid, and funny costume tips and such. I used up all my good stuff the first time I did this, so this time around has been more challenging.

Oh - and in regards to the Harry Potter musical... it's not a musical, but believe it or not, there is a sub-genre of music called Wizard Rock. Honest. Check out Harry and the Potters.

D.L. White said...

@Laura - "Stop that! Stop that! They'll be no breaking into song here!" ROTFL! I can't tell you how much your link made me laugh. That particular scene has always made me giggle. I never thought about it before, but maybe that's why I find it so funny - because I don't like musicals.

And that is perplexing that the singing in Disney films doesn't bug me. I guess it's like you say - we're already watching an animation of a talking mouse or whatever - it's not much of a leap to let them sing and dance too.

chandy said...

So you're not into any musicals? Not even like Mary Poppins or the Sound of Music? Or is it just the more Broadway-type musicals you don't care for?

(Now I'm humming "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria")

Jessie said...

It's awesome when the comments are just as great as the post!

I love musicals. I took an entire semester at ASU on American Musical theater. Big Fan.

But, there are some things which should not be musicals, and I think The Addams Family is probably one of them. I wonder if it will turn out like "Wicked"? I didn't see "Wicked", and after trying to read the book I doubt I ever will.

All that said, Lane and Neuwirth in a musical together? I really like her.

D.L. White said...

@Chandra - I don't care for Broadway musicals per se, but they're all just hit or miss with me.

@Jes - You took a whole semester class on musicals!?!? Yeah, pretty sure that would have been torture for me. ;-)

Maybe all you musical-lovers could recommend one to me, and help win me over?

Laurie B said...

Have you ever seen Sweeny Todd? Graphic!

D.L. White said...

@Laurie - Yes, I saw the Tim Burton version of "Sweeny Todd". I really did NOT like it. There was only one song I liked, but overall didn't like the music, and didn't like the story as a whole.