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When the cartoonist Charles Addams put pen to paper in 1938 to draw the first member of the macabre family that would later assume his name, he couldn't have known what a chord he would strike with the American public. Addams' twisted but heartfelt sensibility eventually made its way onto television and into cinemas, where "The Addams Family" brand slowly evolved into the beloved franchise of woeful weirdos we know today.

Its latest incarnation, a Broadway musical based on Addams' original creations, comes to Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for a six-day run. There's trouble in the Addams household when daughter Wednesday falls in love with a normal boy, much to the shock and horror of her decidedly abnormal parents, Gomez and Morticia. Hilarity -- and, perhaps surprisingly, actual drama -- ensues, to music by Andrew Lippa and book by "Jersey Boys" tag-team Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman.

Tickets are $27.50 to $72.50, with more info at 847-1410 or www.sheas.org.

-- Colin Dabkowski