Arts News

Bartlett Sher Stays at Intiman

Tony-winner signs on for one more year

By Steve Wiecking May 19, 2009

Bartlett Sher at work on Broadway. (photo courtesy T. Charles Erickson)

In what many local theater fans would label a surprise move, Bartlett Sher has extended his contract as artistic director of Intiman Theatre, which he was appointed in November of 1999, despite an increasingly acclaimed Broadway career that includes a Tony for his South Pacific revival and another nomination this year for work on his praised but controversial staging of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Sher is also currently Resident Director at Lincoln Center Theater in New York, which produced both shows).

The good news, according to the press release:

"Sher will focus on helping to execute a multi-year succession plan for Intiman’s artistic leadership, including working with his successor over the next eighteen months. Full details will be announced in June 2009."

The bad news is that focusing on the future means he won’t be directing this July’s Othello, which will be run as scheduled but be replaced by director Arin Arbus’s Theatre for a New Audience staging. The press release again:

"‘Not directing Othello was a difficult decision for me to make,’ said Sher. ‘Ultimately, however, the Board and I decided that it will serve Intiman most effectively for me to focus on our succession plan while giving our audiences the chance to see this production, which is one of the best-received stagings of a Shakespeare play in the last decade. Intiman has a long history of supporting younger directors and exciting new talent like Arin Arbus, and I am glad to give her this opportunity to go ever more deeply in her investigation into the play.’"

I’m thrilled he’s hanging around to lead Intiman into its next phase—and hope its next phase includes someone on the level of Sher or his Tony-nominated (The Kentucky Cycle) predecessor, Warner Shook.

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