'The Addams Family' Ranks No. 1 For Popularity In High School Musicals

Aug 1, 2019
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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY THEME")

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

"The Addams Family" musical made its debut on Broadway in 2010. The story of a weird, ghoulish family that loves all things death, in song and dance.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The reviews were mostly bad. The New York Times reviewer said, while watching the show, quote, "a strangled voice inside you keeps gasping help - get me out of here."

SHAPIRO: It was on Broadway for less than two years.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Has anyone ever told you, you move like a corpse?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Thank you.

CORNISH: Well, now those creepy and kooky family members have found new life on the high school stage. In the latest high school theater rankings from the Educational Theater Association, "The Addams Family" tops the list. This year it was performed all over the country. In February, it was on at Morristown High School in New Jersey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Gomez Addams) And now we summon our beloved ancestors. Why do we do this?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Because living or dead, family is still family.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Gomez Addams) Yes. And how do we do this?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) By dancing on their graves.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Gomez Addams) Yes.

SHAPIRO: Cue the worm on stage and then a big ensemble dance number - everybody dressed like ghosts.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: The actual plot tells the story of Wednesday Addams, the daughter of the family. She's grown up, fallen in love and arranged for her love interest's family to meet her rather morbid family.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY")

NATE YOUNG: (As Gomez Addams) The intoxicating smell of the graveyard. Once a year, we gather beneath our family tree to honor the great cycle of life and death.

CORNISH: This was another production at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Pa., which ran in April. Student Nate Young played Gomez Addams.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY")

YOUNG: (Singing, as Gomez Addams) When you're an Addams, you need to have a little moonlight. When you're an Addams, you need to feel a little chill.

SHAPIRO: The show has it all - lots of Halloween-y makeup, outlandish foreign accents, drama, laughs, big dance numbers.

CORNISH: Unlike The New York Times theater critic, parents of the performers loved "The Addams Family" musical productions this year, at least that's what an unscientific review of Facebook posts tell us. Could be parental pride or maybe it's just the scrappy enthusiasm of the high school stage that makes everything better.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY")

NATE YOUNG AND UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (Singing, as Gomez Addams and character) When you're an Addams...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (Singing, as character) You need to have a taste for death.

YOUNG AND UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (Singing, as Gomez Addams and character) Who cares about the world outside and what it wants from you? When you're an Addams... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.