Several theater and entertainment blogs and websites are reporting that actress Brooke Shields will be assuming the role of Morticia Addams in the Broadway production of The Addams Family early this summer.
Shields steps into the footsteps of Bebe Neuwirth, one of only four remaining original cast members still with the musical. Six original cast members made their final performance on 6 March, 2011. Neuwirth is holding out until the end of June.
It isn’t just Neuwirth’s pumps that Shields must fill, although those may be the tightest fit from a musical standpoint. Neuwirth’s musical prowess is well-established. Shields’ musical chops are somewhat less developed, in spite of taking over singing roles in several popular musicals ranging from Grease to Chicago.
Inevitably, Shields will face comparisons with other Morticias, including two of the most recognizable faces, that of legendary actress Angelica Houston and the iconic Carolyn Jones. Houston portrayed Morticia in the film version of The Addams Family opposite Raul Julia’s Gomez. Jones set the tone and style for all subsequent Morticias when she brought the character to life for television audiences from 1964-1966.
The original Morticia, of course, was a cartoon character created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The Addams family appeared in numerous single panel cartoons published in The New Yorker beginning in 1938.