Andrew Russell is the man who stepped into some murky waters at Intiman during their massive reorganization into a Summer Festival 5 years ago. Now their Producing Artistic Director, he recently took some time to catch us up on the ongoing season, as well as a slew of other activities he’s involved in.
How and why were this season’s shows chosen?
How: through collaboration between Valerie Curtis-Newton, Jennifer Zeyl, and myself. We engaged Valerie as the co-curator of this summer’s festival because we trust her a lot and we want to vary who it is that makes top-level decisions for us at the curatorial level of the organization.
Why: our model allows us to deep-dive into a particular topic or relationship. In 2014 we had The Angels Project and examined Angels In America and its impact on culture through a variety of events and initiatives. In 2015 we explored what it means to be an outsider through a variety of productions including classic plays and new works. In 2016 we are celebrating nearly 20 black female writers through mainstage productions, training programs, workshops, and more.
Which shows are you directing personally?
I am not directing any shows this year. It has been a pleasure to support Justin Emeka and Valerie and the many other artists that are making our 2016 Festival a success. I will most likely direct a show in 2017 and look forward to it.
Why no musicals in the mix the past few seasons? And is Stu For Silverton moving forward?
Musicals are expensive! I hope very much to do a musical in the future but I fear that there isn’t one–at least not right now–scheduled for 2017. Perhaps in 2018. There may be a play with music that we are developing, but we shall see. Stu For Silverton is moving forward–we workshopped it further at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theater Latte Da, and National Alliance for Musical Theatre and are aiming for a big workshop in 2017 in advance of what we hope will be a production in the future.
What projects do you personally have coming up outside Intiman?
I am excited about a show I’m directing/producing with Jerome A. Parker at On The Boards in December. It is a play with music called HOUSE OF DINAH that blends Jean Genet with Paris Is Burning through the music of Dinah Washington. In fact we are casting right now so if this idea seems remotely of interest let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am writing a musical with Richard Gray that features Edward Snowden, Jack Ruby, Laura Poitras, and Dorothy Kilgallen–it is about secrets in America, the press, whistleblowers, and uses a rather unconventional storytelling structure to do so. We developed this musical as part of The 5th Avenue Theatre writers group and I hope very much that there is a production in the next year or two.
Also with The 5th Avenue I am writing a musical with Richard Andriessen (Major Scales) about the life of Linda Hazzard and it also features Ivar Haglund.
And what does the leisure time Andrew like?
I am blessed to love what I do and love the people I get to do it with…and I am very midwestern so the idea of working hard and celebrating that hard work is fulfilling to me.
That being said, I do a lot of pilates and shuffling around in my slippers listening to EDM because I am an old man on the inside and bike a lot and love all the new forms one can consume cannabis (shout out to Ganja Goddess here) and I also cannot put down Lindy West’s new book Shrill (get it from Elliott Bay Books here) and often I scheme with the brilliant people in this city like C. Davida Ingram and Jennifer Zeyl and Amelia Bonow and Valerie Curtis-Newton and so many more.
Favorite Seattle neighborhood?
I am spending more and more time in Columbia City, although I live in Capitol Hill.
I’m trying to not eat at Island Soul every week.
Anywhere that SIFF has a movie I will go…even Bellevue.
I will spend Fourth of July with my entirely family in Hancock, Wisconsin (population 531) at our lake cottage. It isn’t fancy but it will be a dream come true because I will fish on a boat with my grandmother…or at least sit there and drink coffee while she fishes.
Stick Fly, the first show of Intiman’s festival, runs through June 19 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Tickets on sale for only $20!
For further info on the rest of the festival go to intiman.org