While it’s often said that movie sequels are destined to suck when compared to the originals, there are two shining exceptions to this rule: The Godfather Part II and Addams Family Values. With its viciously funny, volcanically bitchy screenplay by legendary gay playwright Paul Rudnick, Addams Family Values tricked the family-friendly holiday audiences of 1993 into witnessing one of the most undiluted expressions of campy gay sensibility ever released by a major studio. It also boasts the definitive Thanksgiving pageant scene of all time.
So naturally, when deciding on a film to conclude her 2015 slate, midnight movie maven Peaches Christ looked at the Saturday before Thanksgiving and knew there was only one choice for what to program: The movie where a chubby boy dressed as a turkey dances around onstage singing, “Eat me!” For her Addams Family Values pre-show spectacular, titled “Addams Apple Family Values”, Peaches has assembled one of her most star-studded casts of the year—including not one but two RuPaul’s Drag Race season champions.
In the part of Morticia Addams (played in the film by Anjelica Huston), that immortal icon of ghoulish gothic glamor, Peaches cast the one and only Sharon Needles. In the delicious role of deranged gold-digging nanny femme fatale Debbie Jellinksy—unforgettably originated by Joan Cusack—Peaches has cast Debbie aficionado Jinkx Monsoon. And in an amusing bit of age-blind casting, Peaches herself will be stepping into Christina Ricci’s black Mary Janes as Wednesday Addams.
It all goes down at the Castro Theatre on November 21, with shows at both 3pm. and 8pm. Tickets are on sale now (and going quickly) at PeachesChrist.com. Below, we chat with Sharon, Jinkx, and Peaches about their inspirations for the show.
Peaches, how did you decide on Addams Family Values? What makes this movie special? Peaches Christ: I remember seeing this movie when it first came out and thinking it was perfect! I had high hopes for the first Addams Family film and kinda left the theatre dissatisfied, so with the sequel I was a bit skeptical. But the script for Addams Family Values is so completely hilarious and outrageous; it was exactly the movie I’d always hoped the first one would be.
Could you talk a little about casting Sharon and Jinkx in the iconic roles of Morticia and Debbie? <PC>: Well, when I first heard Jinkx’s song “What About Debbie?” I thought that it was really time to do an Addams Family Values show, but knew that Sharon would have to play Morticia and Jinkx would need to be Debbie. I guess that’s what I knew first. It was maybe moments later that it occurred to me that Heklina was the best drag queen appearance-wise to play Uncle Fester.
Was it a challenge talking her into that? <PC>: She was definitely reluctant at first but the more we talked about it, the more she agreed it would be hilarious. In all fairness, Heklina is one of the funniest comedic queens I know. She’ll be perfect.
How did you end up playing Wednesday? <PC>: I just figured it works well because I’m so small and dainty. Oh, and because she is my TOTAL FAVORITE. I’ve always loved the character of Wednesday, but Christina Ricci doing Paul Rudnick’s brilliant dialogue is perfection.
What are your earliest recollections of watching Addams Family Values? Jinkx Monsoon: I’ve watched this movie countless times throughout my life. I’ve always been obsessed with the Addams Family, mainly Morticia, but I can’t remember when I first saw this movie. I remember being young enough that I didn’t get all the innuendoes, but old enough to think, “That Debbie is one bad-ass bitch!”
Sharon Needles: I grew up on the Addams Family, Groovie Goolies, The Munsters, and Scooby Doo! Even as a kid, I was attracted to the dark side. Skeletor was my first crush!
Sharon, what led to you taking the role of Morticia for this production? <SN>: MUST BE DAMNED. Let’s be clear, I don’t take roles that are offered by Peaches, I am assigned them. And that’s just the way I like it. I know of no queen that, as a child, didn’t put on a black witch wig and wiggle across her bedroom floor. This role is an exciting challenge for me because Morticia is soft, mothering, and self-aware. Maybe Heklina should have been considered…
How influential would you say the character of Morticia Addams has been on the character of Sharon Needles? <SN>: Visually, a lot. Her wit, most certainly! But she is far stronger, more patient, and sweeter than I could ever be.
How do you feel about playing Peaches’ mother, since she’s playing Wednesday? <SN>: I better buy some major platforms because this is going to be some serious visual comedy. And I already feel like her mother. She’s always asking to borrow money!
Jinkx, you have a special affinity (and a song) for Debbie. What is it about her that you enjoy so much? JM: I just have a fascination with female villains, especially those that use their feminine wiles to get what they want. I’ve always found that beautiful and empowering and evil…which makes for a good character!
Are you personally more of a Ballerina Barbie or a Malibu Barbie? <JM>: Ballerina Barbie, all the way. Screw Malibu.
This is your third show with Peaches this year alone. Have you learned anything about her you think might surprise her fans? <JM>: Well, I can tell you, when she finds a good bakery or cupcake shop, she will never stop talking about it. While we were in Provincetown this summer, she discovered ScottCakes, and I literally had to hear about them everyday. Peaches has become an adopted drag mom to me. She inspires me so much in setting goals and going for them. She is intelligent, creative, and an amazing friend. I will do as many shows as she asks me to do until one day I behead her and inherit her power. That’s what daughters do with their moms, right?
Did you attend summer camp growing up, and if so, do you relate to this movie’s depiction of it? <PC>: I didn’t at all. I spent all of my summers growing up at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. I always wondered if I was missing out on summer camp.
<JM>: I never did, but if I had, I would have totally been Wednesday in that scenario. Let’s face it, I’m not outdoorsy.
<SN>: Summer camp?! No, no, no! Unless you consider me the camper and the crick the counselor. I was a loner, Dottie! A rebel!
What lessons do you think young audiences today could learn from this movie? <PC>: I think the message of weirdo families sticking together and supporting each other is a really great lesson. I also think the lesson of underdogs winning is quite strong. The Thanksgiving Pageant scene is the ultimate revenge and I really believe in hijacking situations like that where assholes are in control. Just take over! Rebel!
<JM>: When I try to explain it to others as the queer cult film that I see it as, I always lead with the fact that these movies were made at a time when rebelling against societal norms was all the rage. To see the way the Addams Family deals with the conformity and mediocrity that they are surrounded by…it just gives hope to queer misfits everywhere!
Finally, what part of this show are you most excited about? <PC>: The Thanksgiving Pageant scene, of course!
<SN>: Well, NOT THE TANGO! I have two left tentacles! I’m most excited about collaborating and ad-libbing with Jinkx and Peaches, two comedic geniuses that I’m lucky enough to call family…even though Jinkx is a no-good, selfish scene-stealer.
<JM>: Well, I just love working with the crew that Peaches Christ assembles and leads. Everyone involved in these productions always gives it their all, and it’s amazing to be supported by that kind of a crew. I can’t wait to work with Peaches again, and this is my first time doing a scripted show with my sister Sharon Needles, so that’s enough to be excited about. Add to that that I get to try to kill Heklina multiple times, and I am absolutely thrilled.
Peaches Christ Productions Proudly Presents
ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES
with a deliriously creepy and kooky pre-screening parody spectacular
Addams Apple Family Values
and CHAKA KORN