The Addams Family: Bebe Neuwirth Inspired by Carolyn Jones

Bebe NeuwirthThough the upcoming $16.5 million Broadway musical version of The Addams Family isn’t really based on the classic 1960s TV series, it’s the reason that Bebe Neuwirth is playing Morticia.

From New York Magazine:

“Marshall Brickman called me up to say he’d written this musical, The Addams Family, and I just about screamed because I loved Carolyn Jones. Her Morticia [on the mid-sixties ABC sitcom] was really an archetypal character. As a child, I wanted to embody her qualities.”

Wry, stoic, and smarter than her hot-blooded mate (John Astin’s Gomez), TV’s Morticia was a dark prefeminist outlier in a TV landscape known more for the va-va-voom vacuity of Ginger, Mary Ann, and Jeannie. “She wasn’t even part of that competition,” says Neuwirth. “She was doing her own thing. Who knows what that inner life of hers was, but she was hip. You know, I think Rhea Perlman’s character on Cheers once referred to me as Morticia.”

There is a certain Shelley Duvall–playing–Olive Oyl inevitability to Neuwirth;s latest role. “From the very top of the show, the audience sees Bebe and they go, ‘That’s Morticia,'” notes composer Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party). “It’s like that feeling you get watching Barry Bonds at the plate; this fantastic moment where it looks like it’s going to be great … and then it is great. And boy is that satisfying.

What do you think? Would you like to see Neuwirth play Morticia on stage? How about a movie version of the musical?

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