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Carolee Carmello
The Addams Family


Carolee Carmello, with Terrence Mann
Two-time Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello made her Broadway debut in City of Angels in 1989. With roles in The Scarlet Pimpernel, Parade, Lestat, and Mamma Mia!, she has been a rising star ever since. Carmello now joins the kookiest and creepiest family on Broadway, The Addams Family, where she is originating the role of Alice Beineke, the mother of Wednesday Addams's wholesome boyfriend.

Nick Orlando recently spoke to Carmello about her role and the show's critical reviews.

Nick Orlando:  How was the transformation from Mamma Mia! to The Addams Family?

Carolee Carmello:  It was quick. I had one week off in between. It was fine; I was ready for something new. I was doing Mamma Mia! for a while. I did not know much about Addams. I knew some of the cast members—Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, Terry Mann, Kevin Chamberlin. They had done readings for this musical. It was very exciting for me, it was an adventure. I came on board right before the Chicago rehearsals.

NO:   When did you hear about The Addams Family coming to Broadway?

CC:  I auditioned in May 2009 and thought I was only doing a reading. When they offered me the gig, they told me about their plans for Chicago and Broadway. I had to decide about my family life, but it all worked out well.

NO:  I loved the show and am glad it is doing so well at the box office, even though it didn't have the warmest critical reception.

CC:  Thank you. I know ...

NO:  The musical is grossing over $1 million per week. Isn't it something how the audience has one opinion and the critics a completely opposite one?

CC:  Yes, it was similar to Mamma Mia!, having done that show for all these years—it wasn't critically criticized as harshly as Addams, but it made so much money and the audience loved it. I didn't see the revival of Ragtime, but the critics gave it rave reviews, but the production could not find the right audience. It is very hard to predict.

NO:  How long are you contracted for The Addams Family?

CC:  All of the principals are contracted for one year from when we first started rehearsals, so March, 2011. We will see what happens at that point.

NO:  This is a different kind of role for you, more comedic. Were you looking forward to trying something new?

CC:  I think I was. Part of what I love about this business is the variety and the ability to switch gears. When I do something serious, my gut wants to look at something a bit lighter.

NO:  How did you research your role? Did you look at the cartoons, movies, television shows?

CC:  I had seen the television shows as a kid, but I did not reexamine them. I did look at the print cartoons; I had not seen those. My character did not really exist in the cartoon per se, but it gave me some insight.

NO:  What is it like working with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth?

CC:  They are both very talented. They are smart and strong willed. Nathan and Bebe know what they want and don't want. I find that appealing and I enjoy both of them.

NO:  The entire cast is so talented.


The Addams Family
CC:  Yes, cast-wise you cannot do much better than this group. The kids are great as well.

NO:  My favorite part at this year's Tony Awards was when Nathan and Bebe presented Best Actor and Actress in a Musical. What were your thoughts?

CC:  They were both great, so charming. They actually wrote their own material and were terrific.

NO:  Did you know about them presenting ahead of time?

CC:  I found out the day before. Bebe told me. The Tony people called her and asked her to present. Bebe asked for which category and they told her Best Actor and Actress in a Musical. It was kind of a slap in the face, but Nathan and Bebe rose above that and did it. I could not believe they weren't nominated. I was disappointed with the broadcast.

NO:  After spending all of these months with The Addams Family, what do you think is the kookiest and creepiest about this family?

CC:  The most interesting thing about them is how kind and loving they are to each other. They have a very unique view of the world. Outsiders are shocked and appalled at their lifestyle. They have a universal sibling relationship—Wednesday is torturing Pugsley in one scene.

NO:  Would your parents have stopped you from dating an Addams?

CC:  My parents are pretty open minded. There are always people in your life that are questionable, but they wouldn't have objected.

NO:  What's happening with Kathie Lee Gifford's Saving Aimee? Didn't she want to have it produced in New York?

CC:  She is still working on it. Kathie wants it to move forward, as do I. She just hooked up with a new general manager and is raising money all of the time. She is also constantly rewriting. Kathie is so passionate about it and won't give up.

NO:  Are you working on anything else?

CC:  Yes, I am about to do a reading for a musical, Tuck Everlasting [Book by Claudia Shear, Music by Chris Miller, Lyrics by Nathan Tysen] in September. Casey Nicholaw is directing. It is a story about immortality. I haven't heard any of the music, but have read the script. I have wanted to work with Casey for awhile now. Terrence Mann is also doing the reading.


The Addams Family is playing at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theater (205 West 46th Street). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.theaddamsfamilymusical.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Photos: Joan Marcus


-- Nick Orlando



About the author: Nick Orlando, a top performing sales and marketing representative, has more than nine years experience in the healthcare and media industries. Within the media industry, Nick has worked for WE TV, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, WCBS-TV, Cox Radio, "Saturday Night Live," and "Live with Regis and Kelly." Drawing on his diversified experience in radio and television, which ranges from programming to production to reporting, Nick formed NICO Productions in 2006, providing news and reviewer content on various entertainment, Broadway, music, film, and television topics.

Nick was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, NY, where he completed his studies. He received his B.S. in communications and marketing from St. John's University in 2005, where he was also inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Nick considers traveling, theater, music and working out his favorite leisure activities. Nick currently devotes some of his personal time to volunteering with One Brick and God's Love We Deliver.


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