‘The Addams Family’ Musical Was Panned. Then It Became a Hit.

‘The Addams Family’ Musical Was Panned. Then It Became a Hit.

LIPPA It’s a very public forum, writing a Broadway musical. If you’re going to play in the big leagues, as it were, you have to learn how to tune out the voices that you don’t necessarily want to listen to.

HOFFMAN Nothing really prepared us for the unleashing of absolute cruelty and vitriol when the New York press got wind of it.

PRICE One of the most enlightening moments of my producing career was the day after opening night in New York, where Stuart Oken and Roy Furman laid out the disastrous New York Times review that we all read the night before. That team started that ad meeting reading the terrible first paragraph, and then the terrible first paragraph of the “Mamma Mia!” review and of the “Les Miz” review and of the “Wicked” review and of the “Cats” review — all these hit shows. It was very encouraging, because we were like, “You’re right, it’s not over.”

HOFFMAN It only really affects you as a performer if the audiences are affected. There were a couple of nights where you felt from the audience, “Well, I kind of like it, but I’m not supposed to.” I mean, people are very, very affected by reviews. They shouldn’t be, but unfortunately they are.

ELICE I was in the elevator in my building with some neighbors who live on a lower floor. The woman said, “Well, we just came from ‘The Addams Family.’ What a disaster.” Fortunately for me, the elevator opened and they got out. The next morning, under my door was a note: “Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed. When we got out of the elevator, my husband said, ‘You idiot. He wrote it.’ So I just want you to know I’m really sorry for being so rude. But we would like our money back.” My husband, who was a wonderful actor and a great human being, said, “I want you to write her a check right now.”

OKEN Even though the show ran 20 months and recouped a big chunk of its money on Broadway, it was hard. It was a hard experience.

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