Martin Vidnovic is overjoyed to return home, this time as Mal Beineke, one of three visibly normal characters in the hit musical "The Addams Family." Since leaving friends and family in Falls Church to seek his fortune in theater, the graduate of J.E.B. Stuart High School has appeared in major Broadway musicals, earned prestigious awards and nominations, and starred in his solo cabaret show presented in New York and the Barns at Wolf Trap. Now, he is plunged into the spooky world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch and the other zanies.
"I'm the drab, buttoned up outsider from Ohio, who comes with his wife, Alice, and son, Lucas, to meet the Addams family and their daughter, Wednesday," Vidnovic said. "Lucas and Wednesday have fallen in love and want to marry, but I look at the family and think there's no way Lucas can marry into it. One problem is that Wednesday's romance with a normal boy must be kept a secret from Morticia; another is that my wife and I have to deal with the family's craziness.
"I enjoy the crusty part of this role, being skeptical at first, then having a transformation along the way.
By the time in the show when I join Wednesday and Lucas to sing 'Crazier than You,' I have gone from being stuck in duty to my family to opening my heart."
|'The Addams Family'|
|Where: Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F Street NW|
|When: Through July 29|
|Info: $39 to $115; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324; kennedy-center.org|
In addition to his love of musical theater, Vidnovic's heart is filled with family pride. His daughter, actress Laura Benanti, is the recipient of awards for her roles in "Into the Woods," "Gypsy" and "Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." She is currently filming "Go On," an NBC show to debut in September. He is equally overjoyed to visit and spend time through the Kennedy Center run of "The Addams Family" with his sister in Annandale, another sister in Fairfax, a nephew in Maryland and his sister-in-law in Oakton.
"Whenever I get back to Washington, I look forward to getting together with them and lifelong friends who still live in the area," he said. "I got into this business because of my mother, who encouraged me to sing, my choir teacher, Miss Green, and my theater teacher. I want 'The Addams Family' audience to take away memories of a hysterically funny show. The laughs are earned in terms of character and the situations humans get themselves into. When they hear Uncle Fester sing a song [titled] 'Let's Not Talk About Anything Else But Love,' they'll realize that love is exactly what everyone needs. This is a show with heart."