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‘The Addams Family” coming to Fort Smith

Great things never go away; they just get updated and get better and better, according to one official.

Presented by Phoenix Entertainment, the new musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” will bring one of pop culture’s favorite clans to the dramatic stage at 7:30 p.m. April 5 at the Arkansas Best Corporation Performing Arts Center, 55 S. Seventh St. The family friendly show is part of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith’s Season of Entertainment 33 schedule and will include top-quality music and comedic surprises from the “classic” TV show’s characters, he said.

“What’s exciting is, this is a brand-new production fresh off Broadway, and it’s great for people of all ages,” Jones said. “I had the opportunity to see it on Broadway, and it’s a really fun show.”

Created by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, creators for “Jersey Boys,” “The Addams Family” will feature various similarities to the TV show, “The Addams Family,” which ran from 1964-66 and starred John Astin, Carolyn Jones and Ted Cassidy, he said.

“The production is based on the same TV characters, except that Wednesday, the daughter, is now grown up,” Jones said.

Wednesday begins to cause worry for her parents, Gomez and Morticia, when she begins to fall for a boy from a well-to-do family. The brooding daughter confides her affectionate feelings for the boy to her father, hoping he won’t reveal Wednesday’s feelings to Morticia.

Joining Wednesday, Morticia and Gomez are Uncle Fester, Pugsley, Grandma and the poker-faced Lurch, Jones said.

“The characters in this production are funny,” he said.

In the musical, the Addams family hosts a dinner for Wednesday’s boyfriend and his family, but what starts out as a fairly normal gathering grows more tense by the minute.

“This production is so impressive because it is a take off of the original TV show,” Jones said. “The costumes look similar but they have been updated. The sets have been updated, too.”

Award-winning composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa (“The Wild Party”), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (“Jersey Boys”) and Olivier Award-winning director/designers Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch have joined four-time Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks to help make “The Addams Family” a critical and commercial favorite, he said.

Cast members include Jesse Sharp (Gomez), Jennifer Fogarty (Wednesday), KeLeen Snowgren (Morticia), Shaun Rice (Uncle Fester), Connor Barth (Pugsley), Ryan Jaccb Wood (Lurch), Amanda Bruton (Grandma), Blair Anderson (Alice Beineke), Mark Poppleton (Mal Beineke) and Bryan Welnicki (Lucas Beineke).

Other cast members include Jake Delaney, James Michael Avance, Lexie Dorsett, Julia Lancione, Chloe O. Davis, Maggie Pitts, Galloway Stevens, Steven Mooney and Julio Catano Yee.

“We think this is something special for the community to see,” Jones said.

The dark comedy has received acclaim from the Kansas City Star and the Dallas Morning News, among other publications. The former called the show a “first-class” event with “unexpected pleasures at almost every turn,” while the latter labeled the play as “zany” and “laugh-out-loud funny.”

Thanks to the touring production, “new generations” are discovering the “appeal” of “The Addams Family,” he said.

“It’s also good to see the fans of the original TV show have come back and liked ‘The Addams Family,’” Jones said.

The show marks the final national-touring production of UAFS’s Season of Entertainment 33 series, he said.

“We can’t wait for this,” Jones said of the production. “Really, ‘The Addams Family’ is a win-win thing all around for everyone.”