Can “The Addams Family” overcome the critics?
BY ROGER FRIEDMAN
It was a long time coming, but “The Addams Family” opened last night on Broadway. The reviews are scathing, and the question is: Can a show with millions in pre-sales overcome the critics?
“The Addams Family” took in nearly $1.4 million last week in previews. It was third at the box office behind “Wicked” and “The Lion King.” A new show, not even opened, such a hit? It’s never happened before.
You could see why at last night’s premiere. Stars Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth were met with adulatory applause from an audience that was part celebrity and part real people. Among the stars who showed: Matthew Broderick (with a bodyguard no less) plus Bob and Lynne Balaban, Nora Ephron and Nick Pileggi, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kodb, Tony Roberts, Tova Feldshuh, and “Ray” director Taylor Hackford.
The crowd loved the show, as did the “real” audience I saw it with a couple of weeks ago. But “The Addams Family” is taking a drubbing from theater critics. And they’re right. The show is a mess, from top to bottom. The songs by Andrew Lippa are so awful that one of them includes a comedy line about “Schindler’s List.” Ouch! What was Lippa thinking? The songs do nothing to drive the story along; many of them are just self contained, with terrible lyrics. A couple of them sound like Meat Loaf’s cast offs.
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“THE ADDAMS FAMILY” ON BROADWAY