Out actor Brian Justin Crum plays Wednesday’s fiancé.
by Donalevan Maines
Brian Justin Crum was just a toddler when Christina Ricci played Wednesday as a somber tween in the 1993 movie Addams Family Values. Paul Rudnick’s spirited script concluded with Wednesday vowing that if she ever marries, she will scare her husband to death. (This was after she set fire to a summer camp while portraying Pocahontas in its Thanksgiving musical.)
Now 24, Crum plays grown-up Wednesday’s fiancé in the national tour of the hit Broadway musical The Addams Family. As fresh-faced Lucas Beineke, he gamely introduces his straight-arrow Midwestern parents to his future in-laws, the famously creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky Addams family (snap, snap).
Readers of a certain age will remember that description from the theme song to the classic 1960s TV series starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones as characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams. When people came to see ’em, they really were a screa-um, and that’s the situation in the musical that hits the Hobby Center for one week only, January 10–15, as a presentation of Gexa Energy Broadway.
Crum was introduced to Gomez and Morticia by watching the late Raul Julia and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston as the passionate couple in Addams Family Values on Netflix.
“Are you unhappy, darling?” asked Gomez.
“Oh yes, yes! Completely,” she replied.
Crum grew up in San Diego, appearing in community theater when he was six, then turning professional at 15 in a production of Fiddler on the Roof.
At 18, the out actor moved to New York City with a job waiting for him in Broadway’s Wicked. On the Great White Way, he also played Danny and Teen Angel in Grease, and he was filling in as Gabe and Henry in Next to Normal when the musical won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. “The stage manager announced it at rehearsal that day, then we had a big party that night,” he says.
Crum considers a highlight of his career was his television debut as a child pornographer on Law & Order: SVU in the episode “Possessed.”
A national tour as Doody in Grease brought Crum to Houston two years ago, and he crossed the country in a tour of Altar Boyz. “I was Mark, the sensitive one, who the audience assumes is gay,” he recalls.
“Our whole show is about being different and that it’s okay to be different,” he says. “It opens its heart to anyone who doesn’t fit the mold.”
Crum proudly describes how The Addams Family participates in an initiative called No Snap Judgments. Information about the campaign at nosnapjudgments.org explains, “The ultimate goal of the No Snap Judgments program is to promote acceptance of others through an understanding that, while each of us is different, what brings us together is what we have in common, and these commonalities far outweigh anything that should keep us apart.”
Camp Broadway and The Addams Family are working to bring No Snap Judgments to classrooms with digital learning modules. “Program content encourages critical thinking, self-analysis, and understanding in the context of helping students meet and exceed Common Core learning standards,” the website states.
Tickets for The Addams Family start at $30 and can be purchased by calling (800) 982-ARTS or visiting BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com/Houston or TheHobbyCenter.org.
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.