Salt Lake City

Addams Family Composer Andrew Lippa on Bringing the Kooky Family Back to Life on Stage

Thanks to television, The Addams Family has an instantly recognizable theme song, but for the beloved cartoons to evolve into a Broadway musical, there needed to be more than just some "snap, snap." Enter Andrew Lippa, author and composer of the 2000 off-Broadway version of The Wild Party, and a Tony nominee for making the Addamses sing. The national tour will play Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre from November 13 through November 18 and Lippa talked with about becoming part of the gothic family and making them sing on stage.

“Going in, I had this idea that [the Addams family] were dark and brooding characters. But if you look at the original comics, Gomez and Morticia are always smiling. They look forward to blowing up things, but they’re never malicious,” Lippa said. “We wanted to find out what makes them actual people. The word we underscored was ‘family’ because it turns out they love each other just as much as we love our families.”

Each family member in the musical has a distinct personality. Lippa determined early on in the writing process what role each character would fill. “We determined Uncle Fester would be a narrator with an old-fashioned vaudeville quality. Once we did that, I realized each character should have its own musical voice,” Lippa said. “They’re all slightly disconnected, but how they come together is part of the story. Wednesday sings in a much more contemporary voice. Her song ‘Pulled’ has a nod to the All-American Rejects’ song ‘Gives You Hell.’ Gomez has a slight Errol Flynn quality, so he’s often followed around with a Spanish guitar.”

However, when it comes to choosing a favorite Addams family member to write for, Lippa remained mum on the question. “I don’t want to make anybody else feel bad…one of those characters will call me up, I guarantee it!” Lippa added with a laugh. “I loved writing for Pugsley. I think I have a lot in common with him. I was a fat little kid myself.”

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