Quality time with the family

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. ••

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