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Intiman’s Festival Moves Forward

Barring a natural disaster or space-time catastrophe, the show will go on at the Intiman Theatre this summer.

“Unless there’s an earthquake or an unforeseen tornado or snowstorm,” Intiman artistic director Andrew Russell says, “I don’t see anything that
will get in our way of producing this summer.”

The theatre, in dire straits since canceling the bulk of its 2011 season due to financial mismanagement, was shocked back to life when 1,000 donors
pledged more than $1 million by the theatre’s own self-imposed early February deadline. That was the easy part. Now Russell must make good on his
promise to use that cash on a summer festival—four plays done in repertory with an all-local company of 12 actors.

“The last two weeks since we announced have been a new kind of exhaustion,” Russell says. “It’s like getting to the peak of the mountain and then
looking ahead and realizing there are 14 more mountains to climb.”

With two months until first rehearsal, Russell has a Herculean task before him. That task is made more difficult by the four-plays-at-once festival
format that won him the directorship; it’s a marked departure from the 40-year-old playhouse’s previous one-at-a-time regional theatre model.
“The logistics facing us are broad, from getting our design team in order to solidifying the repertory company of actors to the nitty-gritty of setting
ticket prices,” he says. “And then there is the realization that, while we are rebuilding the theatre, we are also starting a new theatre model within that.
That comes with a significant amount of work, but also great opportunity.”

The festival’s opening has yet to be determined, but when it comes, it will bring performances of Romeo and Juliet, Hedda Gabbler, a yet-to-benamed American classic and a new play by Dan Savage that revolves around a “wayward drag queen who finds her voice.” The theatre has a head start on filling the seats, since 2011 subscribers who were snubbed by the canceled season will receive much of the festival’s ticket inventory at no cost. Russell is interested in seeing new faces, too.

“The mystery is how we move forward past 2012,” he says. “We are going to learn a lot this year.”

See more in Theatre
See more in the March 2012 issue   →