"One of the major things missing was a clear story line for them, a conflict," Zaks said.

In the new version, Wednesday confides only in Gomez about wanting to marry her boyfriend and asks him not to tell her mother. The age-old situation of a secret shared by a child and only one parent still has legs, as the TV sitcom "Modern Family" continues to prove weekly.

"Originally, the most pressing thing on Morticia's mind was getting older. This is a much more significant issue," Zaks said. "It's something every parent recognizes and every child understands. It makes the show more compelling and, ironically, makes the [Addamses] more human and less strange."

Several other changes were made. Composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa agreed to cut a handful of songs and write new ones.

And one of the most in-your-face ideas of the original, a giant squid that had a strangely sensual encounter with Wednesday's prospective father-in-law, was retired. "I guess I'll have to live that one down for the rest of my life," said Brickman. "I imagine the squid is now working with 'Disney on Ice.'"

Broadway shows don't typically get redone before touring. This revision took time, money and compromise.

"It was not a placid environment," Elice said, "but a placid environment doesn't generate great theater. We were united by the fact that we weren't as successful as we wanted to be in New York. I don't think audiences were cheated by that version. I'm just glad we got a chance to make the show better."

tim.smith@baltsun.com

If you go

"The Addams Family" opens Tuesday and runs through March 18 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St. Tickets are $24.60 to $91.20. Call 410-547-7328 or go to tickemaster.com.

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