Seattle's Intiman Theatre reveals the details of the summer festival that will resurrect the company. Four shows will play July 11-Aug. 26; the roster includes Shakespeare, Ibsen and a work staged and scripted by Dan Savage.
After a year on hiatus, the reconstituted Intiman Theatre is revealing the details of the summer festival that will resurrect the company.
According to artistic director Andrew Russell, the bill will include the previously announced Shakespeare work “Romeo and Juliet” and Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” plus “Miracle!,” a gender-bending parody inspired by “The Miracle Worker,” the William Gibson play about the young Helen Keller.
It will be scripted and staged by Dan Savage, columnist and editorial director of The Stranger weekly newspaper.
The fourth attraction: “Dirty Story,” a relationship comedy by John Patrick Shanley (“Doubt”).
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The shows will run in repertory, with one or more playing each day. Previews start July 5; the festival runs July 11-Aug. 26.
This is an unusual and somewhat risky venture in several respects.
From more than 1,000 donors, the debt-strapped Intiman has raised a budget for all four plays of about $1 million — a fraction of what the 40-year-old theater has spent on recent seasons.
Individual tickets are $30. But Intiman is extending free admission to three plays to its 2011 subscribers as payback for the abrupt financial meltdown of last season, after just one show. The theater could not afford cash refunds for subscribers. Free admission to “Dirty Story” will not be offered because of limited seating in the studio theater.
In an artistic shift, Russell has assembled a repertory cast of 17 Seattle actors. Each one will appear in at least two shows.
Most regional theaters now hire actors on a freelance, show-by-show basis. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is a rare exception.
“This is exciting, because they’ll be working together for four months,” says Russell. “And everyone will be in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ “
Three of the shows will be staged at Intiman Playhouse in Seattle Center. One (“Dirty Story”) will inaugurate Intiman’s adjacent rehearsal space as a smaller “black box” venue.
Russell admits the logistics are “a big puzzle,” and a challenge for a pared-down five-member administrative staff.
A recent addition is managing director Keri Kellerman, previously a development director for On the Boards and director of advancement for the UW World Series program.
Her fundraising experience will come in handy: If the Intiman fest is a hit with critics and patrons, the company must still pay down a big debt being renegotiated, which includes six-figure back rent to Seattle Center.
Intiman can no longer maintain the Intiman Playhouse year-round, so it must work out a future summer residency with the next anchor tenants.
Seattle Center is issuing a request for proposals from other institutions interested in managing the building.
In his first job heading a theater, Russell — formerly Intiman’s associate director — knows he has much to prove.
But he is upbeat about the prospects and looking ahead to 2013.
“My feeling is (Intiman) shouldn’t be alive right now, so let’s try new things,” he declares. “We just want to make good theater.”
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org