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Hollywood’s Pantages is an ideal getaway for a day

From left: Patrick D. Kennedy (Pugsley), Pippa Pearthree (Grandma), Sara Gettelfinger (Morticia), Douglas Sills (Gomez), Tom Corbeil (Lurch), Cortney Wolfson (Wednesday), and Blake Hammond (Uncle Fester) in The Addams Family PHOTO: JEREMY DANIEL

For a tank-and-half (maybe two if you do a lot of driving while there) of fuel and 10-15 hours, a whole other world of nightlife and entertainment awaits you in Hollywood. Why not make a turn-around trip and take in a show and a pub night in Hollywood this weekend?

Now through June 17, The Addams Family, which just left San Diego, is playing at the lavish venue. Visiting the Pantages alone can almost make up for any mediocre production. However, according to our Tom Andrew, Addams Family is above mediocre – but only barely.  Following Andrew’s  review is a eats-and-drinks suggestion available within walking distance that serves highly acclaimed food and beverages all night long.

Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family PHOTO: JEREMY DANIEL

The Addams Family: Oh, what a conundrum!

The job of the critic is not always an easy one.

Honestly, above all, a key element is in the job description, or it should be. That being said, The Addams Family now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, has a lot going for it, but has just as much playing against it.

Award-winning composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), and award-winning playwrights Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise (Jersey Boys) have taken Charles Addams quirky comic strip characters and given them songs and dances and created a story of how The Addams daughter has fallen in love with someone normal. This team alone should have been enough to make this show fly, so why doesn’t it?

It’s a simple plot to be sure, but honestly, not enough to withstand a two act musical.

The Addams Family, just in case you’ve lived under a rock for the last 50 years, is about Gomez Addams and his wife Morticia. They live with their 7-foot tall butler Lurch, Uncle Fester, their daughter Wednesday, son Pugsly, Cousin Itt, Thing and Grandmama.

They love death, despair, torture, the tango and being unhappy. They thrive on it and it makes their lives worth living.

The musical takes these characters and, much like the television show of the ‘60s and the recent films starring Raul Julia and Angelica Houston, and brings them to life.

Wednesday (Cortney Woldson) has fallen in love with Lucas (Brian Justin Crum). She knows her parents played by Douglas Sills and Sara Gettelfinger won’t agree on their union, so she and Lucas decide to have their parents meet for dinner at the Addams mansion to show that love conquers all.

This is the basic plotline. What the show has going for it is the amazingly gifted cast. They excel both in acting, dancing and vocal abilities. It’s a pleasure to hear the company belt out many of the numbers because their harmonies sound so good.

Particular standouts are Gaelen Gilliland who plays Lucas’ mother, Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester (it’s like seeing Jackie Coogan alive again, incredible) and Sills as Gomez.

Sills leans more toward the Raul Julia version of the role, playing with both the audience and cast members during the show. He is vocally commanding and seems to be having a genuinely good time.

Crums’ Lucas and Tom Corbeil as Lurch (both are San Diegans) are also quite good, but aren’t given enough to do to show off their considerable talents.

The harmonies and orchestrations, the sets, the costumes, the lighting and the choreography are also good, fun in fact. So why doesn’t it work?

It is the direction that suffers here. These characters are well-known. When you ask Morticia to sing, it should be done deadpan and monotone, yet Gettelfinger exposes her smile all too often. Something Morticia would never do. She also plays Morticia with horrible posture. Morticia should seemingly glide across the floor; she doesn’t.

Woldson has a wonderful voice and is a decent actress but her Wednesday suffers from the same problems as Gettelfingers’ Morticia; she’s not dark enough. She has a song early in the show about how she has fallen in love and what that is doing to her normally dark disposition, yet we see her smiling long before that; we shouldn’t.

The first act does move swiftly along, with only one clunker of a song (a duet between the mothers on not keeping secrets), and ends with a wonderful ensemble number entitled Full Disclosure that allows Gilliland to just about steal the show.

The problem is the show has nowhere to go after that and it’s here that the show suffers the most.

What is important to mention is that Wednesday night’s audience thoroughly enjoyed the show. They were into it from the overture, which, of course, was the traditional Addams Family theme, complete with finger snaps.

All-in-all, the show was enjoyable, even with the few snoozer songs, and character blunders along the way; definitely not Tony Award material, but fun.

A fine pub find—just around the corner

What better complements an L.A. day trip’s evening before or after taking in a show at Hollywood’s historic Pantages Theatre more than a meal with friends and family at a uniquely Angeleno, freshly California-nouveau establishment – especially when it’s literally a block from the venue?

Enter Wood & Vine. I mean literally: enter the gastropub named “Wood & Vine” at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. San Diego LGBT Weekly has identified this spot as the best singular choice for quick eats and modern drinks in terms of quality, taste, ambiance, price and convenience within the context of a day trip to see a show, such as Addams Family (see review above), at the Pantages.

Here is what others have said about Wood and Vine:

Wood & Vine is a casual gastropub with a backyard patio, [which] falls somewhere in between the velvet-rope and dive-bar scenes. And that’s exactly what Scott Kay, an owner, had in mind when he opened the spot in February, 2011. “There’s no formal dining, and there’s no need to see or be seen,” he said.

Dishes are mostly shared plates and sides with an extensive charcuterie and cheese selection. Many items are made in-house, including the lavender syrup used in cocktails and the smoked jalapeño ketchup. The wine list is made up of 50 bottles, almost all from California.

The New York Times – Travel Page

In Hollywood, outdoor bars affiliated with big, glittering hotels are abundant; but Wood & Vine is glitzy all on its own, flaunting an excellent back patio for Big Hollywood Talks. You may sip California wines or beers, or prefer an artisan cocktail of the past — an Old-Fashioned perhaps — muddled and garnished with local produce from LA’s farmers markets.

The Huffington Post

Rising above them all is the fried chicken and waffles at Hollywood’s Wood & Vine. The fluffy rounds are flecked with vanilla bean; the chicken—crisp, moist, and full of herby flavor—is the ultimate accompaniment to sweet maple and sage butter and chunks of caramelized butternut squash. Even as Roscoe’s beckons from around the corner, we’re hailing a new chicken and waffle leader.

Los Angeles Magazine

Wood & Vine: 6280 Hollywood Boulevard, (323) 334-3360, woodandvine.com

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=25329

Posted by on Jun 8, 2012. Filed under Online Only, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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