The Addams Family, a new musical based on the bizarre and beloved family of characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams, will make its Philadelphia premiere March 19-24 at the Academy of Music.
The Addams family is a satirical, spooky group; an eccentric, wealthy clan that delights in the macabre and is unaware that people find family members frightening. As named by Addams, the family characters include Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama, Wednesday, Pugsley, Pubert and Thing.
KeLeen Snowgren takes the role of Morticia in this production. Born in Minnesota and raised in Texas, Snowgren says she became interested in performing after watching her twin sister do some acting in school.
“I started performing in elementary and middle school, and all the way through high school, eventually studying at the University of Oklahoma in musical theater,” Snowgren says. “I loved it from the beginning and still love it today.”
She says she moved to New York City a few months after graduating from college and began getting roles almost immediately.
“It wasn’t just luck because I knew exactly what New York auditions would be like, my training was that good. My first role was in The Will Rogers Follies, a show I knew nothing about but one my roommate said I should try out for because I would be perfect.”
Snowgren took her roommate’s advice, went to the audition and was hired right away onto her first national tour. Over the years, her other touring credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot, Hairspray, and The Producers. Some of her regional credits include Cabaret and Beauty and the Beast.
Always appearing in supporting roles, Snowgren is very happy to be taking the lead this time. Though this show is enchanting audiences, it is not like the TV show from the 1960s that most people might expect to see.
Since its inception, in The New Yorker as individual characters, the Addams family has been adapted to other media, from television to video games. The muscial opened in March 2010 on Broadway.
In this original story, Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family — a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. On a fateful night, the family hosts a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” suitor and his parents.
Snowgren says playing Morticia is fun and familiar.
“She’s a mother who struggles to maintain a happy household. She wants to be the best mother, best wife and the best hostess to everyone who comes to her home, which is her focus. She’s a character I’m familiar with and I feel very comfortable playing her,” she said. “Actually, I liked her the best of all the characters.”
Snowgren says she’s enjoyed all her roles and looks forward to playing many more.
“How can you ever get tired of people standing up on their feet when your show is finished and applauding the work that you did?” she said. “Nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat that.”
For times and ticket information, call 215-893-1999. ••