They're creepy and they're kooky, and they're headed to Broadway. "The Addams Family," a new large-scale tuner based on the cartoons of Charles Addams, aims to hit the Rialto in the 2009 -10 season.
Composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa ("The Wild Party") is writing the songs, while Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice ("Jersey Boys") provide the book.
Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, the Improbable Theater founders who created the gleefully macabre "Shockheaded Peter," will direct and design.
Produced by Chicago-based Elephant Eye Theatrical, the musical will be capitalized at more than $10 million, according to Elephant Eye producer Stuart Oken.
Addams' cartoons -- about a ghoulish family whose members include father Gomez, mother Morticia, uncle Fester and daughter Wednesday -- appeared for more than 50 years in the New Yorker. The cartoons inspired several TV series, including the 1960s live-action sitcom and a couple of animated skeins, along with two features.
The tuner will be based solely on the cartoons, not on the big- or small-screen incarnations. It hasn't yet been determined whether the creatives will be granted permission to include the familiar TV theme song.
Elephant Eye was granted the rights to develop the tuner by the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. The cartoonist died in 1988.
"This property has great potential," Oken said. "It's an iconic title. We have both the advantage and the responsibility of having these characters that people all think they know."
The creative team recently met for 12 days in Gotham to hammer out the initial outline, and Oken hopes to have a reading of a first draft by March or April 2008. "Addams" will preem out of town before heading to Gotham.
Elephant Eye, formed in late 2005 by Disney Theatrical alum Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Prods. to develop new tuners for Broadway, has more than "Addams" on its development slate.
Company is attached to "Saved," the new musical based on the 2004 indie film due to preem Off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons at the end of next season, with Celia Keenan-Bolger starring. Also on the company's plate is "The Boys Are Coming Home," a WWII-set adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" by scribe Rebecca Gilman and composer Leslie Arden, set to bow at the Goodman Theater in Chi in spring 2008.
Additional projects in development are a Bruce Lee biotuner and "Beauty Sleeping," a project from writer-helmer Tina Landau and composer Jeanine Tesori based on Landau's play "Beauty."