Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle and Culture
Douglas Sills is neither creepy nor kooky. In fact, he’s downright charming and refreshingly friendly. The seasoned actor called me recently from his hotel room in Washington DC, where the touring production of “The Addams Family” was playing. Douglas, who portrays a dashing Gomez Addams with a pencil-thin moustache, will soon arrive at the Fox Theatre for Atlanta’s run of the Broadway comedy. Our interview went a little something like this:
Shannon: How did you get interested in acting?
Douglas: I went to a Jewish summer camp with my brother and sisters. They were older and popular and they did the talent show. And so I did it. I recognized pretty quickly that was some facility there for me, and I just kept enjoying it.
Shannon: What do you think about being on tour?
Douglas: Touring is a very rough life. To be pulled away from your family and friends, your home, everything you know, and to start living on the road out of two suitcases and the hardship of traveling every week is really brutal. It’s a difficult life to adjust to.
Shannon: You do what you gotta do sometimes.
Douglas: You do. And this was fun. I’m glad I chose to do it. It’s turned out to be much more fun and pleasurable than I expected.
Shannon: What do you like most about playing Gomez?
Douglas: The laughter from the cast and the audience. The comedy really lands. I’ve come to really appreciate the joy of that. It’s easy to overlook and say it’s just a joke. It’s a really energizing experience for everybody. Also, the cast has been great to work with. I really enjoy traveling with them and learning from them and seeing how often we can set the bar high for each other and meet that challenge.
Shannon: What would you say is most challenging aspect of the role?
Douglas: Energy. He’s a very energetic person and it’s a demanding role, particularly on the weekends where we do five shows in 48 hours. And timing. The timing for comedy is an incredibly precise thing. The slightest distraction or lack of concentration on anyone’s part on stage can really mess up a laugh. So the precision has been challenging.
Shannon: Can you tell me a little about the show?
Douglas: Wednesday finds a boy that she’s in love with and he’s coming to dinner with his family for the first time. She comes to Gomez privately and says she’s going to marry this guy and she doesn’t want Gomez to tell Morticia—at least for the day. She wants to see if the two families get along. Gomez and Morticia have never kept a secret from each other. That’s the new element in the tour. The tour has been written pretty significantly—like forty or fifty percent.
Shannon: Speaking of couples, are you seeing anyone?
Douglas: I have a partner of 18 years. His name is Todd.
Shannon: How did you meet?
Douglas: We met in a touring production of “The Secret Garden.”
Shannon: So he’s an actor, too?
Douglas: He was an actor. He’s still a performer. He’s a concert artist now. But we played the Fox together back when we met.
Shannon: What was it like to date during the tour?
Douglas: We were sexing. We weren’t dating. We were having what would be referred to as a “showmance.” It was great fun.
Shannon: If you were in a gay play and you could cast your romantic interest, who would it be?
Douglas: I would probably cast your local Mitchell Anderson. I think he is just the dreamiest thing. Who else would I cast besides the gorgeous Mitchell Anderson? Maybe Hugh Jackman. Or it would probably be Denis Leary or Jerry Seinfeld—somebody really funny.
Shannon: I guess it would be a comedy then.
Douglas: It probably would. Let me think of one more really hunky guy. Come on, Shannon, who am I forgetting? Somebody dark and little hairy.
Shannon: Gerard Butler?
Douglas: Eh, nothing is really going on there for me.
Shannon: Oh, well, I can’t help you then.
Douglas: I will think about it by the end of the interview.
Shannon: Do you have any obviously gay traits?
Douglas: [Laughs] What does that mean?
Shannon: You know. Do you love Madonna or Cher? That kind of stuff.
Douglas: Oh … well, I like musicals. I wouldn’t say I was a musical queen. I don’t know a lot about musicals. I know more about plays. Oh, I like Patti Lapone.
Shannon: I suppose that’s “gay” enough.
Shannon: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Douglas: Domino’s pizza and pornography. But only together. You have to consume them together.
Shannon: What do you like to do in your spare time with Todd?
Douglas: Domino’s pizza and pornography. No, I’m kidding. We like to go out to eat. We like to look at art. And we like to travel.
Shannon: Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
Douglas: I just took my vacation to Hawaii. That was pretty incredible. I have this other trip formulating in my head to India and Thailand. I’m an animal freak. I love watching animals in a wild setting, and there’s a baby elephant sanctuary in Thailand I want to visit.
Shannon: What do you find most sexy about a man?
Douglas: Do you know the whirls on a chest…the chest hair…where they go in a whirl like a circle? That’s really sexy to me. The light of a quick mind behind the eyes and a beautiful smile.
Shannon: Did you think of another male celebrity?
Douglas: Oh, another hunk would be … oh god there’s so many hunks. I guess I would say Chris Evans.
Shannon: He’s good. He’s on my screensaver.
Douglas: Yeah, he’s pretty dreamy.
The Addams Family
Where: Fox Theatre
When: August 14-19