Monday, August 25, 2008

Jerry Manning Promoted to Acting Artistic Director

SEATTLE, WA - Seattle Repertory Theatre announced today that Jerry Manning will take the helm as Acting Artistic Director at Seattle Rep. Manning has been with Seattle Rep for over eight years where he has served as Casting Director while juggling multiple assignments in producing the work on all three of the company's stages. Manning directed Thom Pain (based on nothing) leading off the Leo K. Theatre season in 2006 and will direct Boom this year. Before joining Seattle Rep in 2000, Manning served as Artistic Associate at the New York Theatre Workshop. While Manning will be assuming the position of Acting Artistic Director, Braden Abraham will assume responsibilities as Manning's principal associate in addition to those that he currently holds as Literary Manger.

The theatre is currently evaluating its organizational model to determine the appropriate artistic and business management structure for the future. That process will be completed before beginning a search for a new artistic director. Current Artistic Director, David Esbjornson, had announced earlier this spring that he would not be renewing his contract. "David has contributed significantly to the growth and strength of our artistic productions and to the caliber of the work we present to our audiences," says Board President Jane Zalutsky. "As we begin this leadership transition, we are confident that Manning will support Seattle Rep's artistic vision with his characteristic passion and diligence and his considerable experience as a theatre practitioner. With his strong ties to the community, we are assured that Jerry will lead this organization through an exciting season, which will further secure Seattle Rep's position in the forefront of Seattle's theatre community."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Intimate Exchanges - ACT

Intimate Exchanges
A Contemporary Theatre
August 15-September 14, 2008
Tickets and Information

ACT’s Intimate Exchanges is an immense undertaking, though at first glance it may not seem so. The play opens chronicling the desires and frustrations of six 20th century middle-class English characters: Toby and Celia (a headmaster of a private school and his wife), Lionel and Sylvie (the school’s caretaker and Celia’s house help), and Miles Coombs and Irene Pridworthy (school board members).

However, the play is not as simple as the surface it presents: a witty and ridiculous comedy about English society becomes rather a free-fall into fate and free-will, as director Kurt Beattie would have it. The play has only one opening scene; but as writer Alan Ayckbourn constructs it, there are two second scenes, two paths to be taken depending on what choice the characters make. From each of those second scenes two more could occur—and so on, for a total of four possible endings. (The full script splits enough to give out sixteen endings, but ACT keeps the choices limited—wisely so, for both the actors’ sanity and the length of the run.)

(R. Hamilton Wright as Lionel and Marianne Owen as Irene; photo credit Chris Bennion)

Even more impressive perhaps than the structure is the acting, given that all six characters are played by only two actors: the admirable Seattle favorites Marianne Owen and R. Hamilton Wright. Their stage chemistry is undeniable, and the comedy of the show relies partly on their ability to play off each other. The rest of the hilarity of the show stems from Owen and Wright’s neverending energy, quick changes and crystal-cut character switches. Owen begins the show as the emotionally frustrated and slightly inept housewife Celia, in conversation with Wright’s charismatically awkward Lionel. Midway through the scene Celia leaves and not but 30 seconds later Sylvie enters—different look, different accent, wildly different mannerisms, and of course, a different relationship to Lionel. Wright opens the second scene as Toby, Celia’s husband, a world-weary alcoholic on the other end of the spectrum from the dreamer Lionel. The switching and flopping of characters becomes even funnier and more amazing in the second act, where the last two characters are introduced, and Owen and Wright never stop moving among six different characters, each as different as can be, and each as clearly drawn and perfected as the previous one. (Owen’s first turn as “the officious Irene Pridworthy” garnered literally non-stop laughter and full applause.) There are innumerable points throughout the play when it is hard to believe that these actually are only two actors, and that knowledge adds to the enjoyment of watching these stage veterans creating what can only be described as a roller-coaster of English comedy.

Another aspect that must be mentioned is the technical side of the show. For a play that is really four wholly different plays, the set, lights, costumes and most especially the crew must be ready for any of the options that could present itself. Thomas Lynch’s set is simple but varied: a large black backdrop with doors and windows able to open (we saw three that did; there were many more that surely are used on other nights), and a grassy stage in front. Added to that, brought in and out by stage hands, elevators and fly lines, are set pieces such as a garden shed and bushes, tables and chairs, a tent ceiling and drapery, and—one of the funniest moments of the play—a whole yard full of gravestones that all pop up out of the ground simultaneously. Marcia Dixcy Jory’s costumes are quietly impressive, in that they all must have been quick to change out of, and yet look entirely normal, suited to each character. And a kudos must be given to the stage hands and dressers (some of whom were given a bow at the end of the show, a rarity), who were working non-stop behind the scenes to help keep the show running cleanly.

Given the strange and open structure, it is difficult to review the actual play itself. As a story only on its own, the version we saw the other night lacked some satisfaction and finesse toward the end. As one possible cog in the machine of human choices and decisions, however, it becomes much more interesting and rewarding; you begin to imagine what else might have happened instead, if Celia had just chosen something else, or if Lionel had not done one thing. This, of course, is the cleverness of ACT’s choice in staging this play: not only to showcase two incredible actors and a passel of talented crew, but to keep audiences wondering and returning to the theater for another side of the story, another version of the chaos of human life.

(Review by Lia Morgan)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekly Update - 8/22/2008

Seattle Shakespeare
Henry IV >October 23 - November 16, 2008
The Servant of Two Masters >January 8 - February 1, 2009
The Turn of the Screw >January 13 - 28, 2009
The Merchant of Venice >March 12 - April 5, 2009
The Tempest >June 4 - 28, 2009

Seattle Children's Theater
Bluenose >October 17 - December 14, 2008
The Wizard of Oz >November 21, 2008 - January 17, 2009
Tomas and the Library Lady >January 9 - March 1, 2009
Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire >January 30 - March 7, 2009
The Tale of Two Cities >March 20 - April 12, 2009
Goodnight Moon >April 10 - June 14, 2009
I Was a Rat! >May 1 - June 14, 2009

Intiman Theater
The Little Dog Laughed >August 20 - September 13, 2008
All the King's Men >October 3 - November 8, 2008
Black Nativity >November 29 - December 27, 2008

Seattle Repertory Theatre
The Night Watcher >September 25 - October 26, 2008
The Three Musketeers >October 2 - November 15, 2008
Boom >November 13 - December 14, 2008
You Can't Take It With You >November 28, 2008 - January 3, 2009
Waiting for Godot >January 15 - February 14, 2009
Rollick >February 5 - March 28, 2009
The Seafarer >February 26 - March 28, 2009
Betrayal >March 26 - April 26, 2009
Wishful Drinking >April 2 - May 3, 2009

ACT Theater
Intimate Exchanges >August 15 - September 14, 2008
Eurydice >September 5 - October 5, 2008
Becky's New Car >October 17 - November 16, 2008

Seattle Opera
Aida >August 2 - 23, 2008
Elektra >October 18 - November 1, 2008
Pearl Fishers >January 10 - 24, 2009
Bluebeard's Castle & Erwartung >February 21 - March 7, 2009
Marriage of Figaro >May 2 - 16, 2009

A Chorus Line >August 5 - 10, 2008
The Phantom of the Opera >September 10 - October 4, 2008
Spring Awakening >October 14 - 19, 2008
The Color Purple >December 16 - 28, 2008

The 5th Avenue Theatre
Shrek The Musical >August 14 - September 21, 2008
The Drowsy Chaperone >October 28 - November 16, 2008
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers >December 3 - 28, 2008 - on sale Sep. 19
Memphis >January 27 - February 15, 2008, 2009 - on sale Sep. 19
Hello, Dolly! >March 8 - 29, 2009 - on sale Jan. 9
Sunday in the Park With George >April 21 - May 10, 2009 - on sale Jan. 9
Grease >May 12 - 30, 2009 - on sale Feb. 6


Dimitrou's Jazz Alley
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Brett Dean McGibbon's Different Fish Bookstore

The Little Dog Laughed - INTIMAN

The Little Dog Laughed
August 15 – September 13, 2008
Tickets and Information

Christa Scott-Reed as Diane and Neal Bledsoe as Mitchell. Photo by Chris Bennion 2009

“Quick. You have ten seconds to name the most prominent openly gay leading man within the Hollywood studio system. If you have any doubts, leading man means star/romantic lead of blockbuster movies. Okay, ready, get set, go! (Tick, tick, tick. Silence.)”

This quote is taken from Artistic Director Craig Lucas’ reflection page at the beginning of the program for The Little Dog Laughed playing now at Intiman and I can think of no better question to preface this play. The story is simple in its insanity. Mitchell Greene (Neal Bledsoe) is the newest up and coming Hollywood star under the guidance of his agent Diane (Christa Scott-Reed). However, when he hires Alex (Quinlan Corbett), a ‘rent boy’ and accidentally falls for him, his “occasional problem with homosexuality” becomes a life-consuming dilemma for him and Diane. Meanwhile, Alex’s ‘girlfriend,’ Ellen (Megan Hill), has problems of her own with life and the pursuit of a lost childhood at the age of 24.

Seems simple enough, right? Now add in the facts that The Little Dog Laughed (2007 Tony Award for Best Play Nominee) is written by Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, The Band Wagon, Devil May Care, To Wong Foo, etc) and directed by Fracaswell Hyman (Intiman’s To Kill a Mockingbird, The Famous Jett Jackson, Little Bill, Malcolm X, etc). Getting the idea?

Megan Hill as Ellen and Quinlan Corbett as Alex. Photo by Chris Bennion 2009

The Little Dog Laughed rocks; plain and simple. Its fast pace, its witty dialogue, its natural and believable language and the talent portraying it all come together to blow the audience away. It is very difficult to pick out one or another element that exceeds the rest. However, standing out for sure is Christa Scott-Reed as Diane. Her potency, control and grace on stage are truly awesome. Together with Neal Bledsoe, Quinlan Corbett and Megan Hill, the cast is an unstoppable force of comedic timing, grand power and brilliant clarity.

Hyman’s direction brings the house down. I can’t express enough how truly and undeniably hilarious this play is in Hyman’s and the cast’s hands. However, though the audience will laugh through every minute of this piece, they’ll be left with a cold spot in their stomach for the beautifully human pain that comes through in every moment of this play.

I also cannot go without commending Matthew Smucker (scenic design) on yet another radiant set. The turntable, such a difficult element to implement well, is used perfectly and the set comes together, without obstructing a moment of the action, to illuminate the action and dialogue.

Altogether, I highly recommend this piece. If there’s a show in town to see, it’s this one.

Review by Nigel Andrews

Thursday, August 21, 2008


SEATTLE— Intiman Theatre Board President Susan J. Leavitt and Artistic Director Bartlett Sher announce that Brian Colburn has been selected as Intiman’s new Managing Director, following a national search. Colburn was the unanimous choice of the Intiman Search Committee, chaired by Trustee Cynthia Huffman and vice chaired by past Trustee Joel Bodansky, and his selection was approved by the full Board of Directors. He will assume his new position later this year.

“Brian brings a proven track record of excellent management skills, strong leadership internally and within his community, strategic financial planning and successful fundraising,” says Leavitt. “He also shares our belief that theaters are mission-based, and his connection to Intiman’s mission—a combination of great art, community engagement and civic participation—was immediately evident to all of us.”

Colburn comes to Intiman from the Pasadena Playhouse, where he has served as Managing Director since 2004. He has been affiliated with the Playhouse since 1997, advancing to the top management position through several internal promotions. During his tenure, Colburn has helped to establish Pasadena Playhouse as a leader in the Los Angeles theater community, in partnership with Artistic Director Sheldon Epps. He also steered the company to greater visibility and increased support from its audiences, donors and the philanthropic community.

“Brian seemed to be a potentially ideal partner from our very first conversation,” says Sher. “He is passionate about theater, and about community, and he is dedicated to fostering the kinds of circumstances that allow for the creation of great art and great storytelling. He’s an insightful manager and fundraiser, and a very considered and thoughtful person—and he’s got a great sense of humor. I value all of these qualities, and I’m looking forward to working with him to take Intiman on its next steps into the future.”

Colburn was selected after a national search led by Greg Kandel of Management Consultants for the Arts. He succeeds Laura Penn , who is now Executive Director of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Since March, Intiman has been under the leadership of Interim Managing Director Kevin Maifeld.

“We conducted an intensive national search to find the right person for Intiman,” said Huffman of the seven-month search process, which was vetted by an 11-member Search Committee and 9-member Advisory Committee. “We are thrilled with Brian’s appointment.”

As Managing Director, Colburn is responsible for Intiman’s institutional and financial affairs, and for guiding its strategic planning efforts through community relations, education and audience development. Intiman’s annual budget is $5.7 million and it currently has 9,500 subscribers.

“When the Intiman opportunity presented itself,” says Colburn, “I instantly recognized a very special American theatre with a tremendous sense of community among its artists and supporters. Intiman has always been an innovative institution, and it has accomplished so much in the last decade under the leadership of Bart Sher . Its challenge, as presented to me by its Board and staff leaders, is to not sit back and enjoy recent successes, but to keep moving forward and to propel all of its artistry and creativity into the future. This is a challenge that moved me at this stage of my career, and I very much look forward to adding my efforts to the cause of supporting Intiman."

Intiman Theatre, founded in 1972, received the 2006 Regional Theatre Tony Award. It produces classics and new plays, created by artists who make their home in Seattle and nationally recognized artists, all of whom are dedicated to engaging our community in conversation and to having an impact on our culture locally and nationally. World premieres include The Light in the Piazza by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel; Prayer for My Enemy and Singing Forest, both by Craig Lucas; Native Son, Kent Gash’s adaptation of the novel by Richard Wright; Nickel and Dimed, Joan Holden’s adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s nonfiction bestseller; and Robert Schenkkan’s The Kentucky Cycle, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Intiman serves multigenerational audiences through its commitment to community engagement and civic dialogue, and reaches more than 10,000 students annually through the statewide arts education program Living History, for which it has been honored with the Golden Apple Award, and special programs presented through the American Cycle series of classic stories and community programs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eurydice Comes to Seattle - Sarah Ruhl Rules Again

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Allison Narver

September 5 - October 5, 2008

Seattle, WA – August 12, 2008 – Cross the River of Forgetting on a one-way cruise to the Underworld in ACT – A Contemporary Theatre’s production of Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, a fantastic, highly original contemporary retelling of a classic story from one of the most distinct theatrical voices of a new generation of writers.

Sarah Ruhl is the most exciting young playwright to emerge from the American theatre in more than a decade. Her funny, poetic mind moves through Eurydice like a benediction,” said ACT Artistic Director Kurt Beattie. “The great myth finds a new expressiveness in her heartbreaking interpretation, which is as beautifully momentary as the wind, and as eternal as anyone can imagine.”

In Eurydice, written in 2000 and inspired by the death of her father in 1994, Ruhl flips the classical myth of Orpheus to focus not on his descent to the underworld to rescue his young bride from death, but on Eurydice’s experience of her death and the journey taken. Reunited with her father in Hades, Ruhl’s Eurydice is confronted with the surprising and excruciating choice of leaving her father again to re-join her new husband. The play inventively expands on the themes of the myth to embrace not only the powerful force of romantic love, but also the deep bond shared between father and daughter. Ruhl’s playfulness and her characteristic light touch in the face of almost unbearable loss catapults the play into a gorgeous, surreal realm of wonder and enchantment.

At the age of 34, the gifted Ruhl has already been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (in 2005 for The Clean House, produced last season at ACT), and in 2006 she was awarded a half-million dollar MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant to write more plays.

Continuing the synergy of playwright and director ACT began last year with The Clean House, Allison Narver will once again step into the director seat to direct Eurydice. Performed in the round, an all local cast will be featured in this production, including Renata Friedman [Vincent in Brixton, The K of D, The Importance of Being Earnest Off-Broadway] in the title role, Trick Danneker [The Sweetest Swing in Baseball at ArtsWest, American Buffalo at Theater Schmeater] as Orpheus and Mark Chamberlin [A Christmas Carol, Stuff Happens] as Eurydice’s father.

Additional presentations in conjunction with Eurydice include Project Orpheus by Seattle Dance Project (September 13-October 4, 8:00 p.m.) produced by The Central Heating Lab at ACT, as well as pre- and post-show discussions.



SEATTLEIntiman Theater will host an afternoon of free training in gospel performance led by Pastor Patrinell Wright, founder of the Total Experience Gospel Choir, on Saturday, August 23 from 12-5 pm in the Intiman Studio. The Black Nativity Gospel Workshop, now in its 6th season, is offered annually in connection with Intiman’s holiday production of Black Nativity. Pastor Wright has performed in the show and created each season’s musical direction and arrangements since its first production in 1998.

Part theater, part concert and part church service, Black Nativity is a holiday classic and Seattle tradition. The first act retells the Christmas story through the words of the great American poet, Langston Hughes; the second act transforms Intiman’s stage into a joyous “nondenominational church that unites artists and audiences of different faiths, ages, backgrounds and beliefs through the heart-stirring power of song, story and dance.

The Gospel Workshop is open to aspiring performers who are interested in becoming part of the Black Nativity Choir, and enthusiasts who simply love to sing.

For more information or to reserve a spot, participants should call 206.269.1901 ext. 355 or email Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

On Thursday, August 21 and Friday, August 22 from 6-9 pm, Intiman’s casting department will hold open auditions for the 2008 production of Black Nativity, which will run November 29-December 27. Director Jacqueline Moscou, Pastor Wright and choreographer Kabby Mitchell III will see non-Equity choir members (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) and dancers. Prospective choir members should be able to sing traditional gospel music; dancers should be accomplished in contemporary dance.

Auditions must be booked in advance. To reserve a spot or for additional information, interested singers and dancers should call 206.269.1901 ext. 342 or email

Intiman Theatre gratefully acknowledges The Boeing Company for its sponsorship of the Black Nativity Gospel Workshop and other special events around this season’s production.

Thursday, August 07, 2008



Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center Hosts 12th Annual Youth Summer Musical Program; Snow White & The 7: Each One Teach One.

Performances: Aug 14 – 17, 2008

Location: The Moore Theatre, Downtown Seattle

Seattle WA, -- Seventy-Four kids, ages 8-19, from the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (LHPAC) Summer Musical Program have spent the past six weeks on a theatrical journey of acting, song, dance and discovery. And for two more weeks they’ll continue learning about the African continent as they fine-tune their talents and get ready to help Snow White find her way from Seattle to Africa . By August 14th all 74 kids will be prepped and ready to present the musical Snow White & The 7: Each One Teach One at the historic Moore Theatre for 6 spectacular matinee & evening performances.

Unlike the Disney character, this 14-year old Snow White (Taylor Brown, Beacon Hill ) is following the drum beat on a journey to find her African roots. She’s getting help from “The 7” (the 7 principles of Kwanzaa) and her 14-year old Prince (Jordan Bolden, Renton ) among others. Not even her wicked stepmother (Chelsea Muskelly, Kent ) can stand in her way when the heart-pounding original music starts to play and the kid’s feet start stompin’.

For 90% of these kids, LHPAC Summer Musical Program is their first (and possibly only) exposure to the arts. LHPAC is dedicated to uncovering and supporting tomorrow’s talent while creating a home for artistic growth and development. Over 50% of these kids have participated in previous years and enthusiastically return to continue their arts education. Some participants travel across the country to join this affordable and partially-subsidized city youth program. Each day from 9 am to 5 pm , for eight solid weeks, LHPAC plays host, while daily programs teach, nurture and offer kids an experience that will last a lifetime. The Summer Musical program is one of the oldest summer youth theatre programs in the city and thousands of parents, families and community supporters anticipate this annual event.

Inspired by the re-telling of Snow White by Marilyn Joshua Shearer, Snow White and the 7; Each One Teach One, is set in both America and Africa . The story follows the journey of discovery experienced by young people who are strengthened by their re-connection to the African culture and African-American traditions. As Snow White discovers her roots, her self-confidence and capability to share this rich culture is enhanced by her seven trusty companions.

Snow White & The 7: Each One Teach One is an original piece written and directed by Isiah Anderson, Jr. Anderson is the Teen Development Leader and Director of Youth Productions at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. The original music was written by singer and songwriter Michelle Lang who borrows from her R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Gospel roots, and introduces traditional African genres. Professional dancer Tyrone Crosby has spent countless hours choreographing moves that incorporate a blend of styles. African native Lora Lue Chiorah-Dye contributes to the choreography’s authenticity by integrating traditional African dance into the show. The fantastical sets and costumes are by Kevin Krist and Deborah Sorensen respectively.

Snow White & The 7: Each One Teach One is appropriate for all ages. Presented in partnership with the Seattle Theatre Group, operators of the historic Moore Theatre, performances will be held at the 2nd Avenue and Lenora location in Downtown Seattle. Shows run Aug. 14 & 15 ( 1pm & 7 pm ) Aug. 16 ( 7 pm ) and Aug. 17 ( 3 pm ). Ticket prices range from $4 to $12. For Group Sales information call Naho Shioya; 206-386-1177. Tickets are available through The Moore Theatre Box or by calling (206) 292-ARTS. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Moore Theatre Box Office before the performance.