We sat down with Scenic Designer Drew Edward Hunter to chat about his work, his experience, and bringing The Addams Family to life at Players by the Sea!

1. Tell us about yourself and your experience with design.

I fell in love with design, color and storytelling after watching the first movie I ever saw when I was 7 years old — Walt Disney’s 1940 masterpiece, Fantasia. I have been an artist since childhood and as an adult I have worked as a designer in many different capacities. I’m currently VP Creative Design for Sally Dark Rides and have created and supervised the design and development of dark ride attractions for amusement and theme parks around the globe. Over the decades I have been a mural painter; a graphics director for a CBS affiliate station; designed several wax museums and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! attractions; mounted many exhibits of my personal art efforts; founded a Halloween consultation & design business; and written, directed, designed, scenic painted & performed in numerous community theater productions.

2. What drew you to The Addams Family?

I was almost 14 years old when The Addams Family television program premiered on ABC. I watched the very first episode and immediately fell in love with the characters. Of all the sit-coms on TV in those days, it seemed to me that Morticia and Gomez were the only married couple who really seemed to have passion for one another! Plus I wanted to move into their house. I knew it was just a set for the TV show, but I was fascinated with its theatricality and all the bizarre artifacts and weird decor. I could envision myself being very much at home there. That’s why — 52 years later in 2016 — I bought a vintage 1903 house in the Springfield historic district in Jacksonville to transform into my own Addams Family-esque residence. which I named The Drewseum. But, most significantly, I was drawn to and admired The Addams Family because all of the characters were proud to be different — happy to be themselves — and that they make no apologies to anyone for their unique and unusual lifestyle.

3. Tell us about your scenic design process.

My approach to the scenics for The Addams Family musical is to take the audience into an environment which is decidedly creepy and kooky, mysterious & spooky — a place unlike they’ve ever seen — but with a distinct style. The Addams Family I envision don’t live in a cliche’ dusty, cobwebbed haunted house. No, they enjoy living within a certain design discipline that’s both macabre and elegant which I have dubbed Nouveau Gothic.

4. What can the audience expect from your scenic design?

The scenics for the show may come as a bit of a surprise for our audiences. It is quite different from The Addams Family TV show or the movies of the 1990s. One might describe the set — particularly the living room of the Addams’ home — as a mash-up of nightmare Victorian with hints of dark Goth and the fluidity of Art Nouveau with sprinkling of Surrealism.

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

There are definitely many unusual aspects about my life & times! One of the more curious is that during my college years I portrayed Bozo the Clown every Monday through Friday on Bozo’s Big top TV show on a regional ABC affiliate station. It was great fun — a life-changing experience to be sure. Thanks to that opportunity, I learned volumes about improv performing and thinking on my feet, and that it was perfectly acceptable to make a complete and utter fool of myself — and thoroughly enjoy doing so! After all, Life is too short to take one’s self too seriously.

Check out some images of Drew’s lobby exhibit, which will be in the Grune Family Gallery for the entire run of The Addams Family!