Blake Hammond watched re-runs of the black-and-white television comedy series, “The Addams Family,” growing up.
The series is based on the comic strips of the same name about an odd, spooky family that has become a part of pop culture. They’ve spawned not only a television series, but films, video games and most recently, a Broadway musical.
Hammond portrays the kooky, bald Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family: The Musical,” which stops Tuesday at Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium.
“I’ve always loved the show and this family because there is something quite magical about them,” said Hammond, calling from a tour stop in Seattle. “I guarantee you everyone could probably identify with the Addams because no family is completely normal.”
The musical is based on the original comic strips but also introduces a new storyline.
In the show, Wednesday Addams is a teenage girl who brings her boyfriend and his folks home to meet her unusual family.
She always wished her family would be normal, but she soon discovers that they aren’t strange after all.
“The Addams Family” debuted on Broadway in 2010, ran for almost two years and garnered two Tony Award nominations. The national tour is a revised version of the New York production, including some new songs, dances and fresh orchestrations.
Hammond said audiences are enjoying the show and its theme.
“It’s about family and figuring out what’s normal to each other,” said Hammond. “And I believe every family knows something about that.”
When he took on the role of Uncle Fester, Hammond said he studied the original comics to find his character.
“Uncle Fester has very little conflict and is very childlike, so I try to do him like a 14-year-old boy in a 50-year-old man’s body,” said Hammond. “One thing I love about him is that he chooses love above everything else and allows people to be who they are.”
For the last 14 months, Hammond has been on the national tour of “The Addams Family,” which finishes its first stint at the end of the year.
“People have really embraced our show and this family because they probably see part of themselves in this musical,” Hammond said.