Performers from TV, movie, stage versions of 'Addams Family' converge on Lexington

rcopley@herald-leader.comMarch 14, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    'The Addams Family'

    What: Musical based on the cartoons by Charles Addams, presented by Broadway Live at the Opera House.

    When: 8 p.m. March 15, 2 and 8 p.m. March 16, 2 and 7 p.m. March 17

    Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.

    Tickets: $37.15-$143.15. Available at Lexington Center ticket office, (859) 233-3535; at Lexingtonoperahouse.com; or through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.

  • IF YOU GO

    Lexington Comic and Toy Convention

    When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 17

    Where: Lexington Convention Center, 430 W. Vine St.

    Tickets: $20 per day Saturday and Sunday, or both days for $30. Tickets available at the door only. Event is free for ages 10 and younger with paid adult.

    Learn more: Lexingtoncomiccon.com

    WHO'S COMING?

    For the full guest list, go to Lexingtoncomiccon.com. Highlights include:

    Jim Duggan, professional wrestler known as "Hacksaw"

    Jason David Frank, actor who played Tommy Oliver on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and spin-offs

    Mike Grell, writer/artist on comic books including Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters and Iron Man

    Jamal Igle, artist on comic books including Supergirl, Firestorm and Nightwing

    Margot Kidder, actress who played Lois Lane in Superman: The Motion Picture and sequels

    Peter Mayhew, actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars and sequels

    Felix Silla, actor who played Cousin Itt on The Addams Family and Twiki the Robot on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

    Roger Stern, writer on comic books including Superman, Captain America, The Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man

    Billy Dee Williams, actor who played Lando Calrissian in the Stars Wars franchise

If downtown feels creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky and altogether ooky this weekend, it's probably due to an Addams Family convergence.

The Lexington Comic and Toy Convention will bring two stars from the filmed versions of Gomez and Morticia's clan to the Lexington Convention Center: Felix Silla, who played Cousin Itt in the ABC series that ran from 1964 to '66, and Carel Struycken, who played the giant Lurch in the films The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993).

Both actors have had other high-profile roles. Struycken was Mr. Homn on Star Trek: The Next Generation from 1987 to 1992, and he was the giant who came to Agent Dale Cooper and declared, "It is happening, again," on Twin Peaks in 1990 and '91. Silla's roles included the Ewok Retah, who hang-glided into the Imperial base in Return of the Jedi (1983), and the robot Twiki in the NBC series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century from 1979 to '81.

But their Addams Family credentials will be brought into focus this week as the musical version of the show plays one block over at the Lexington Opera House from Friday through Sunday.

Struycken and Silla will participate in a talk-back session with members of the musical cast immediately after Friday night's performance.

"That's incredible," says Dan Olson, who plays Lurch in the touring show. "It's fun because not only was he in The Addams Family, but I believe he was one of the aliens in Men in Black. As a fellow tall actor, I am interested to talk to him about his career. It's good to see people working."

Struycken in 7 feet tall; Olson is 6-foot-6.

At the other end of the height range is 3-foot-11 Silla, who says his audition for the role of Cousin Itt consisted of him coming to the studio on a Friday, having producers look at him and say, "You're Itt." The next Monday, he was fitted with Itt's very long wig.

"How they got this idea, I don't know," Silla says. "They never really told me what to do."

Struycken's experience was a little different. The Addams Family was a pop-culture icon by the time the movies were being cast. In fact, before he was cast, he was often mistaken for Lurch by people on the street. (The role on TV was played by the late Ted Cassidy.)

"I always hated to disappoint them that no, I am not Lurch," Struycken, 64, said. "So it seemed like a good idea to be Lurch and stop disappointing them."

For Silla and Struycken, the roles have kept them busy on the convention circuit, meeting fans and signing autographs.

Silla, 76, says he was aware that new Star Wars films will be made, but he has not heard whether Ewoks will be involved.

"They had us running around so much, I don't know if I could do that now," he says of his Star Wars experience. "I was in my 40s when we filmed that movie."

With Twiki, Itt and his other characters, Silla says, the costumes did a lot of the work, and part of the effort was to avoid hamming it up.

There is no Cousin Itt in the Addams Family musical, but the cast members are excited to meet the Addams actors just the same.

"I want to see what their take on the show is," says Shaun Rice, who plays Uncle Fester and says he became a fan of The Addams Family by watching the movies and the Saturday morning cartoons.

The show, of course, comes with a signature song built in. But Rice and Olso say audiences should leave humming other tunes, too.

Rice, who played the Skipper in the first national tour of Gilligan's Island: The Musical, says composer Andrew Lippa has written songs in styles geared to each character. "There are definitely tunes that get in your head and don't go away," he said.


IF YOU GO

'The Addams Family'

What: Musical based on the cartoons by Charles Addams, presented by Broadway Live at the Opera House.

When: 8 p.m. March 15, 2 and 8 p.m. March 16, 2 and 7 p.m. March 17

Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.

Tickets: $37.15-$143.15. Available at Lexington Center ticket office, (859) 233-3535; at Lexingtonoperahouse.com; or through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.


IF YOU GO

Lexington Comic and Toy Convention

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 17

Where: Lexington Convention Center, 430 W. Vine St.

Tickets: $15 Saturday only, $10 Sunday only, $22.50 both days. Free for ages 10 and younger with paid adult. Available at the door and in advance at Lexingtoncomiccon.com.

Learn more: Lexingtoncomiccon.com.

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: Copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service