Michigan State University
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Department of Theatre
Department of Theatre


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Andrew Hungerford Alum Photo

Meet Andrew Hungerford

Major and degree earned: B.A. in Theatre, B.S. in Astrophysics
Graduation year: 2002
Current position: Producing Artistic Director, Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Hometown: Clinton Twp., MI
Now living in: Cincinnati, OH / Los Angeles, CA

Why did you choose Michigan State University?

Several factors (not necessarily in this order):
1) The ability to enter as a no-preference student and explore as many areas of interest as possible.
2) The theatre and physics buildings were (at the time) right next to each other.
3) My brother was already at MSU.
4) A great marching band.
5) A really good scholarship.

How did Michigan State University help you prepare for your career?

I had no idea what theatrical design entailed until I came to MSU, so my experience completely set my career path in motion.

In my freshman year, I assisted scenic and lighting professor Linda Janosko on a number of shows, and after that year I had Stan Jensen as my design mentor.

But beyond that, the culture of the theatre department was very hands on and multidisciplinary. With student productions in the Arena, it was like we were producing our own season of shows. My first scenic design was for a student directed production of Closer, and I had rendered an insanely intricate cubist floor treatment. I started painting it, and about half an hour in I said, “You know what. This is crazy.” And I quickly redesigned and simplified the whole thing.  That kind of lesson is invaluable for small theatre.

It was also fantastic working with such a dedicated group of peers in the theatre department. We were all supportive of each other's work in a way that set us up for success but also gave us ways to fail safely.

So at MSU I got a taste of everything: some deeply involved design work; more than my share of great acting roles; directing experience; and between Stan, Frank Rutledge, Gretel Geist, etc., fantastic mentors whose advice and teaching remains influential 15 years into my career.

It was standing in the Arena, probably hanging lights for something, that I said to myself, "I’d love to run a theatre like this someday."

And now I do. Life can be pretty amazing.

Know Theatre Logo

What was the most memorable experience at Michigan State University?

Can’t nail it down to just one, so here’s a top 3:

1) Study abroad in London.
2) All three summers that I got to do Summer Circle.
3) The one night I played Hamlet.  My senior year, I was playing Horatio in Frank’s production of Hamlet, but was also the Hamlet understudy. The day of final dress, I hadn’t been back to my dorm room all day, and went straight from class to rehearsal at Wharton. And someone said to me, “So you’re playing hamlet tonight.” And I said, “ha ha.”  And they said, “no, we left you a voicemail” (this was before cell phones were ubiquitous), “Mike is losing his voice. You’re playing Hamlet tonight.”  And so I did. I talk way faster than Mike McKeogh, so the show was 15 minutes shorter that night.

What advice do you have for today’s students?

American Theatre isn’t just NYC. There is phenomenal work happening at regional and small theatres around the country, often in cities where the cost of living is such that you might actually be able to afford a house and a life from the pay you get for your art. So at some point you will find yourself at a crossroads where you will need to ask yourself what about the work is most important to you: where the work happens, or the work itself?

And your regional show just might transfer to NYC. Best of both worlds!

But I firmly believe that it’s up to us to make work that isn’t dictated by one city on a far off coast. Make work that’s relevant to you, to your community, to the here and now.

So take advantage of your time at MSU to leap in, to fail spectacularly, to succeed whenever you can, to learn what about theatre really ignites your passion. And then follow that passion where it leads you. The destination may prove unexpected, but ultimately more satisfying that where you thought you’d end up.

Photos from your time at MSU:

 Blood Wedding at MSU (2001)

Blood Wedding at MSU (2001)

 SubUrbia at MSU (2001)

SubUrbia at MSU (2001)

Hamlet at MSU (2001)

Hamlet at MSU (2001)

Recent production photos:

 The Handmaids Tale at Know Theatre

The Handmaids Tale – Know Theatre (Photo Credit Daniel R. Winters)


Andrew Hungerford (MSU BA Theatre, BS Astrophysics, ‘02) is in his fourth year as Producing Artistic Director of Know Theatre of Cincinnati, where he has been resident scenic and lighting designer since 2007.

During his tenure as Artistic Director, Andrew has produced and designed 20 MainStage productions (including 4 world premieres), and dozens of world premiere second stage shows.  Andrew also guided NYC based Hit the Lights! Theatre Co. in the creation of The Other Rhine, an immersive theatrical experience inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft which was performed in a historic brewery in Cincinnati as part of Know’s 19th season.

Know Theatre now produces a 6-8 show MainStage Season, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, and biannual collections of serialized plays through Serials! which is livestreamed on YouTube. All told, the theatre presents over 300 performances per season.

As a director, Andrew’s credits include the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Pulp by Joseph Zettelmaier, the third professional production of The Fisherman’s Wife by Steve Yockey, and a highly theatrical version of Moby Dick adapted by Julian Rad with original arrangements of Sea Shanties by Know’s resident composer.

Know Theatre’s production of The Bengson’s Hundred Days, directed by Anne Kauffman, led that show to a further life in NYC at the Under the Radar Festival, and an upcoming production at New York Theatre Workshop.

Andrew is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, and his over 250 design credits include 6 years as resident scenic and lighting designer with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and 10 seasons as lighting designer for Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.

Regional design credits elsewhere include: 4 seasons with Portland Stage Company (Portland, ME); Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; 11 seasons with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison, NJ); The Theatre @ Boston Court (Pasadena, CA); Stanford Summer Theatre (Palo Alto, CA); Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI); and The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (Italy).

NYC credits include lighting design for These Seven Sicknesses at the Flea, and lighting & co-scenic design on Hundred Days at NYTW. International credits: the Edinburgh Fringe and the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (Italy).

As a playwright, Andrew’s work has been seen at the Cincinnati, Edinburgh and Hollywood Fringes, as well as part of Un-Scripted Theatre of San Francisco’s Act 1: Scene 2 project.

Andrew occasionally appears onstage at Fringe festivals or as an understudy at Know Theatre.

Andrew received his MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and was the 2006 recipient of the USITT Lighting Design Award sponsored by Barbizon.  His lighting design for the opera Ariodante was included in the 2007 US entry to the Prague Quadrennial. Andrew was a 2009 finalist for the TCG*NEA Career Development Grant for Designers. Other awards include assorted LCT and Acclaim awards for his work in Cincinnati Theatre, and a 2010 Wilde Award for his lighting design for K2 at Performance Network.

Andrew splits his time between Cincinnati, the road, and his (theoretical) home in Los Angeles, where he technically lives with: his wife, screenwriter & playwright Elizabeth Martin; a ridiculous tiny dog; and a rotating collection of friends and family.

Anything else you might like to add:

Learn more about Know Theatre at www.knowtheatre.com !

Go Green! Go White!


Interested in being featured in the MSU Department of Theatre Alumni Profile Series? Click here!