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Secondhand Lions

13 Ways Seattle Has Changed Broadway...

You read that correctly.

By definition—in the Stephen Sondheim dictionary—a “Broadway Baby” is waiting for that one big chance to be in a show, to be on some marquee in twinkling lights. That’s great and all, but in this town we like to make our own luck. 

Despite the 3,000 miles between Seattle and New York, the Emerald City has become something of an Off-Off-Broadway staging ground for new musicals. The crossover goes back a decade to director Bartlett Sher at Intiman Theatre, who shepherded The Light in the Piazza from Mercer Street to the Great White Way. Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals turns out Tony winners (most recently, Next to Normal and Million Dollar Quartet), and since the year 2000 alone 5th Avenue Theatre has had eight productions travel from its stage to Broadway. Some were hits (Hairspray, Memphis), some misses (Scandalous, the aptly titled Kathie Lee Gifford creation). But the common refrain among Seattle directors interviewed this summer showed fervent commitment to new material. 

In 2012, 5th Avenue Theatre’s partnership with ACT—A Contemporary Theatre resulted in First Date, a charming romantic comedy about a blind date in the age of Google that opened in New York City in August. Though TV stars Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Krysta Rodriguez (Smash) got top billing, Seattle’s own Eric Ankrim—who originated the role—made his Broadway debut subbing for Levi. “You can’t pick the show that’s going to go to Broadway,” said David Armstrong, artistic director of 5th Avenue. “We’ve been very, very lucky. Our criteria is: Get involved with really talented people and support them, collaborate, advise them. Hopefully they’ll come up with a show that is really, really successful.” It also goes unsaid: Hopefully they’ll keep coming back. 

First Date composers Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner return to 5th Avenue this fall with the world premiere of Secondhand Lions (Sept 7–Oct 6), a musical comedy-drama based on the 2003 movie of the same name. The film starred Michael Caine and Robert Duvall as a pair of crotchety Texas ranch hands and brothers who take in their teenage nephew Walter (Haley Joel Osment) and placate him with old war stories. Roughly no one saw the movie—which means the family-friendly story is ripe for adaptation. Zachary and Weiner have a score planned that’s part bluegrass and Johnny Cash, part 1920s spectacle, cancan included. They consider 5th Avenue their safe place to experiment, free of crippling judgment, and Seattle a unique testing ground.

“Demographically, it feels like you get the best of a big city and also a small town,” Zachary said. “You feel like it’s representative of places like Los Angeles and New York, but you also get the feel of the Midwest. You feel like you actually have a great microcosm of the U.S., to get a sense of what people will respond to.” 

Local theatergoers have long been willing cohorts in experimentation, and this fall Balagan Theatre will bank on its niche audience—ages 35 and under—to try out a smaller, stripped-down version of Les Misérables (Sept 6–28) and Carrie the Musical (Oct 11–26), inspired by the Stephen King bloodbath. Balagan’s newly hired artistic director, Louis Hobson—himself a Seattle-bred Broadway baby—hopes to create a bridge “artistically and commercially” between here and New York City, workshopping edgier musicals and enticing “old friends,” such as Tony winner Alice Ripley, to come West
for work.

“It’s a moment for Balagan. It’s a moment for Seattle theater,” Hobson said. “My agent was just talking to a casting director who knew, ‘Oh, that’s the Carrie with Alice Ripley, isn’t it?’ People know what we’re doing out in Seattle.” —Laura Dannen


Les Misérables 
Sept 6–28, Erickson Theatre, 

Secondhand Lions 
Sept 7–Oct 6, 5th Avenue Theatre,

Carrie the Musical 
Oct 11–26, Moore Theatre,



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Haruko Nishimura in Warrior

...And ...Classical ...Music

Kronos Quartet, still innovating 40 years on, pairs with Degenerate Art Ensemble.

Let it be known, Kronos Quartet has style—a commitment to the offbeat over the ordinary that we often refer to as a Seattle character trait. And for 40 years, the locally born, San Francisco–based chamber music ensemble has found ever-new ways to pluck strings. “Since 1973, our goals have been simple,” Kronos founder and violinist David Harrington said in 2011. “Find the most wonderful music and play it as well as possible.”

That wonderful stuff includes but is not limited to: contemporary classical, minimalist, and world music; jazz, rock, and pop; Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and the chilling score of Requiem for a Dream. Once aptly described as sonic “wanderlust,” Kronos Quartet has created new music with a fury—some 800 commissions and 53 recordings, performing with everyone from poet Allen Ginsberg to David Bowie to Björk. “The same type of chamber music ensemble—two violins, a viola and a cello—for which Mozart and Beethoven wrote can also be used to comment on international politics, interpret avant-garde rock, and incorporate music from every corner of the world,” said the 2011 Polar Music Prize organizers, bestowing Sweden’s highest music honor on Kronos Quartet (the same year the foursome took home the Avery Fisher Prize).

So: What do you get the string quartet that has everything? For its 40th anniversary show at the Neptune, Harrington and John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello) have chosen to partner with an equally creative Seattle performance group, Degenerate Art Ensemble, for a concert and stage show. DAE composer Joshua Kohl, who’s been listening to Kronos since he was 12, couldn’t be more thrilled: “David Harrington is someone who’s on the hunt…for something different that he can sink his teeth into. That’s been really inspiring to me.” Kohl enticed Harrington with a clip of DAE’s recent work, Warrior, a visceral, abstract performance piece inspired in part by Joan of Arc and featuring choreographer-dancer Haruko Nishimura, backed by a string quartet and vocalists chanting, moaning, and singing into portable amplifiers. “Everything about this piece is very bright and intense and hypnotic,” said Kohl, not to mention “futuristic,” “primal,” and “raw.” Warrior won Harrington over.

“David said, ‘If you guys had been around, doing what you’re doing now 40 years ago in Seattle, I feel like we would have been collaborating together,’ ” Kohl recounted. And now that the moment’s here, “I can’t even imagine a more fun gang to make trouble with.” —LD


Kronos Quartet with Degenerate Art Ensemble 
Nov 16 at 8, Neptune Theatre,

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In rehearsal with PNB corps dancer Angelica Generosa and Tharp

Things We Learned About Twyla Tharp

Insider info from PNB’s Peter Boal

1. The celebrated choreographer was in Seattle this spring and summer as an artist in residence with Pacific Northwest Ballet—the first of its kind for PNB. 

2. Twyla Tharp and PNB artistic director Peter Boal go back—way back—to 1984, when Boal was a teenage rookie at New York City Ballet and Tharp was a guest choreographer collaborating with Jerome Robbins. “We just kind of clicked,” said Boal. 

3. Even when a prize pupil like Boal asks (repeatedly, nicely) for Tharp to come on as an artist in residence, Tharp says no. A lot. But Boal can be persuasive. “Finally she cracked one day.” 

4. Under Boal’s watch, PNB has added six dances by Tharp to its repertory, including Brief Fling and Nine Sinatra Songs, both on the all-Tharp program this fall (Sept 27–Oct 6). 

5. September’s world premiere of Waiting at the Station, featuring New Orleans R&B legend Allen Toussaint with the PNB Orchestra, brings the total of Tharp works in PNB’s rep to seven.

6. Live music can make Twyla nervous—recorded music is just so much more predictable. Wouldn’t you know it: Allen Toussaint is an improvisational musician. Hang on tight. 

7. Brief Fling was created for American Ballet Theater in 1990 but is new to PNB. “It has a Scottish lean to it. You’ll see a lot of dancers in tam-o’-shanters and kilts. The music goes back and forth from traditional Scottish to contemporary. It’s a small cast, but it feels big—about 16 dancers in total… It packs a punch. It’s technically very challenging for the dancers, particularly the principal couple. Just a lot of tricky jumps for the guy and pointe work for the woman.” 

8. The ever-popular Nine Sinatra Songs is more about social dancing. It made its PNB premiere in 2006 during Boal’s first season as artistic director. 

9. Tharp’s dance vocabulary is “steeped in technique,” said Boal, “and yet there’s a very human element to it. There’s boxing, there’s jogging, there’s aerobics…some real jazz elements and two-step elements.” 

10. At age 72, Twyla’s still a trendsetter. She actually choreographed the dancers to mime texting while en pointe. “She’s like, ‘Somebody had to do it first, so it might as well be me,’ ” said Boal. “I think we scrapped that, but it was still fun.” 

11. She’s handy with video too. “Every rehearsal is filmed, and then the editing is quite extensive. Before she even arrived in Seattle, she worked out material herself. She danced in front of the camera in her room alone. She did almost everybody’s part, so you’ll be watching the video—and I’m not sure how she does this; I think she has a GoPro [camera]—and suddenly there’s a chorus of eight Twylas coming out. Then two other Twylas will come forward. One’s the man, one’s the woman, and they’ll do a duet. The fact that we could see the whole ballet—all Twyla—was really cool.”

12. Don’t mess with Tharp. “She knows her stuff. She’s meticulous,” said Boal. “She knows her accents, her music.”

13. She’s also a weight lifter and kickboxer. Point taken. —LD


Air Twyla 
Sept 27–Oct 6, Pacific Northwest Ballet, McCaw Hall,


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Have Art, Will Travel

13 exhibits that will transport you

1. Gala Bent G. Gibson Gallery, Aug 30–Oct 5
Geometry and whimsy collide in Gala Bent’s abstract art. The Seattle painter uses gouache, watercolor, and graphite to find beauty in chaos, whether a furry half-creature is feeling Gnawed and Frayed, or we’re all lost in Contemplation in

2. Hometown Boy: Liu Xiaodong Seattle Asian Art Museum, Aug 31–June 30
Who says you can’t go home? After 30 years away from his native Jincheng, an industrial town in northern China, renowned plein air painter Liu Xiaodong returns to observe and reflect on the life he once knew. The landscape is familiar, but the people have changed.


Jennifer Beedon Snow, My Father’s Blue Phone, 2013

3. Jennifer Beedon Snow Linda Hodges Gallery, Sept 5–28 
The richly textured oil paintings of Seattle’s Jennifer Beedon Snow evoke an abandoned Pleasantville—an empty station wagon or swimming pool, a red scooter standing alone on a sidewalk. As she explores suburbia, we travel with her to distant memories.

4. Peter Waite: Space Travel Winston Wächter, Sept 10–Oct 24 
Connecticut artist Peter Waite doesn’t venture to the final frontier. Instead, he prefers to paint architectural icons—the gaping arches of the Colosseum, a cross-section of the tipsy Tower of Pisa—as an “existential tourist” who passes through the entryways to history.

Ray K. Metzker, Frankfurt, 1961

5. The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker Henry Art Gallery, Sept 21–Jan 5
A gifted American photographer out of Chicago’s Institute of Design, Ray K. Metzker spent a half century living in light and shadow, manipulating the everyday of Chicago, Philadelphia, and a host of other U.S. and European cities through composites and multiple exposures. In this career study, on loan from Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Missouri, the ordinary is extraordinary.

6. Race: Are We So Different? Pacific Science Center, Sept 28–Jan 5
Last year the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 50.4 percent of the nation’s children under the age of one are minorities. As minorities become the majority, Pacific Science Center deconstructs the notion of race—historically, scientifically, and socially—by hosting this traveling exhibit developed by the American Anthropological Association.

Sedat Pakay, 1965

7. Bearing Witness from Another Place: James Baldwin in Turkey Northwest African American Museum, Through Sept 29
In 1961, seeking “friends, rest, and peace of mind” (wrote The New Yorker), novelist James Baldwin decamped to Istanbul, where he lived on and off for a decade. This exhibition, now in its final month, shows candid photos of Baldwin taken by his friend Sedat Pakay during the writer’s self-imposed foreign exile.

8. Ross Sawyers: New Photographs Platform Gallery, Oct 17–Nov 23
Ross Sawyers’s art, per Platform, is influenced by “the experience of living in increasingly smaller spaces,” closer and closer to our neighbors as density increases and the walls close in. As suffocating as that sounds, his photographs shine with beams of light escaping through cracks in the walls, freeing our notion of personal space.

9. Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon Seattle Art Museum, Oct 17–Jan 5
This traveling exhibition of Peruvian art spans 3,000 years and multiple cultures (Mochica, Chimú, and Inca), including archaeological finds—sculptures, textiles, gilded masks—that were only recently discovered and make their first U.S. visit now. 


Franz von Stuck, Sin, c. 1908

10. Franz von Stuck Frye Art Museum, Nov 2–Feb 2
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of German symbolist painter Franz von Stuck (1863–1928), the Frye teams with Munich’s Museum Villa Stuck for a comprehensive look at the artist’s masterworks, including the allegorically rich Sin, with its nude femme fatale draped in a boa constrictor.

11. Martin Schoeller: Close Up EMP, Nov 16–Feb 16
More a journey of self-expression (and facial pores) than place, photographer Martin Schoeller takes extreme closeups of celebrities—George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie—and ordinary Joes, with his work appearing in The New Yorker and the National Portrait Gallery. Nearly 50 of these supersize portraits visit EMP, the only West Coast stop of the tour.

Martin Schoeller, Cate Blanchett, 2006

12. A World of Paper, a World of Fashion: Isabelle de Borchgrave Meets Mariano FortunyBellevue Arts Museum, Nov 21–Feb 16
With nothing but paper, Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave creates gorgeous life-size period costumes—in this case, inspired by the couture of early twentieth-century Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny—just by crumpling, pleating, and painting. BAM hosts the exhibit’s North American debut.

13. Elwha: A River Reborn Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Nov 23–Mar 9
A river finally runs through the Elwha Valley again, now that the largest dam removal project in the world is under way, and a Seattle Times duo has documented the saga and ongoing renewal of the region. Images and stories by reporter Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman are on display at the Burke.

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Death Cab for Cutie

13 Years of Barsuk Records

Plus two years when it was kind of a hobby

When Seattleites Josh Rosenfeld and Christopher Possanza founded Barsuk Records in 1998, their first two CD releases seemed like obvious choices: an album by their indie rock quartet, This Busy Monster, and the debut of their friends’ little band…Death Cab for Cutie. Not a bad way to start. 

Early on Barsuk helped define the mainstream perception of indie rock, with releases such as Nada Surf’s Let Go, the Long Winters’ When I Pretend to Fall, and Death Cab for Cutie’s fourth and seminal album Transatlanticism. It also provided a home for Seattle singer-songwriters Rocky Votolato, Jesse Sykes, and David Bazan. 

This November, Barsuk celebrates its 15th anniversary with four nights of concerts featuring current and former labelmates. It’s a fitting tribute to the Seattle institution that never gets the same attention as that other local record label. “We have this hilarious mutual joke going on with Sub Pop, because they’re 10 years ahead of us and our big anniversaries keep lining up,” said Rosenfeld. Barsuk may operate in Sub Pop’s shadow, but “not in a hypercompetitive way, and certainly not in a resentful way.”

In recent years, Barsuk has continued to stay relevant by releasing albums by the likes of Phantogram and Ra Ra Riot. “Barsuk is on the short list of labels that are thought of as cool,” said Votolato, “and kind of legitimate underground indie rock labels that all the bands and artists want to be associated with.” The label’s discography isn’t just cool or catchy; it’s smart.

Barsuk challenges its artists creatively, too. John Roderick, front man of the Long Winters, said, “Josh Rosenfeld used to say to me, ‘Why repeat the same words every chorus when you could say something different?’ That’s a unique perspective from a label owner.” Artists also rave about the label’s family feel. Mutual respect has allowed Barsuk to amass a track record of deals that benefit both the musicians and the label. 

“We’re still very idealistic, but we’ve become a lot more pragmatic over the years,” said Rosenfeld. “When it started off it was literally this hobby. Our first deals with bands were, like, hilariously lopsided. We were offering bands 80 percent of profits. To their credit, people like Death Cab at one point were, like, ‘Hey, Josh, you can’t keep doing this. You need to keep more of the money.’ ” 

Even as it grows, Barsuk remains a distinctly Seattle entity. “The Northwest is a songwriter’s scene with a strong independent—bordering on defiant—streak,” said Roderick. “The Barsuk sound isn’t aggressive or angry, but the underlying attitude has always been to do things differently, smarter, and better. The vibe at the label is the quintessence of Northwest character.” —Seth Sommerfeld


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A Tipple in Time

13 ways to enjoy a book or movie with a cocktail

Silent Reading at the Sorrento
Feel social while being entirely antisocial in this monthly meetup of bookworms, who gather in the Sorrento’s Fireside Room just to read (silently) with a Manhattan in hand. First Wed of the month,

Henry and Oscar’s Movie Lounge
From the makers of Big Picture (see below) comes this restaurant-slash-screening-room, where a dining space with plush booths comes equipped with four 70-inch screens and superb sound for watching movies, sports, and Netflix series. Ongoing,

Cheap Beer and Prose 
Cheap beer ($1 cans of PBR) doesn’t translate to cheap thrills. “It’s not a drunken silly fest, and it’s not stodgy,” says Hugo House programming director Brian McGuigan, who came up with this creative alternative to “pretentious, expensive” readings. “I think really good readings are performance art.” For this round, Sean Beaudoin, Eli Hastings, Alma Garcia (right), and Tara Atkinson liven things up. Sept 12,

Bushwick Book Club 
Instead of sitting around analyzing plot and character, this book club of Seattle musicians often meets in a bar to perform original tunes inspired by a monthly reading assignment. In September, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is on tap. Sept 20,

Local Sightings
Northwest Film Forum’s recent digital upgrade is cause for celebration—and there’s always a good party on opening night of Local Sightings, the annual showcase of regional filmmakers. Sept 27,

Bedtime Stories
Enjoy dinner, wine, and a little “pillow talk”—the unveiling of new short works by Northwest authors Charles Johnson (left), Rebecca Brown, and more—at Humanities Washington’s 15th annual gala. Oct 4,

The Tippling Point?
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, discusses his latest nonfiction release, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, at Town Hall. Preshow beers are for sale to all misfits. Oct 11,

Lit Crawl
A pub crawl for literature lovers, Lit Crawl stages a full night of author readings at bars, bookstores, art galleries, and shops on Capitol Hill. Oct 24,


Balagan Theatre hosts its own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 by flashing comic book slides on a screen and getting local actors and audience members to supply the dialogue and sound effects. POW! Costumes encouraged, and drinks, naturally, will be available. Oct 16,

Big Picture
Beneath the swank El Gaucho steak house is a cozy movie theater that serves craft cocktails to your seat and popcorn in champagne buckets. Come early for a drink in the lounge—a hodgepodge of plush couches we call “Grandma’s house chic.” Daily,

Wine and Words
A few words come to mind for this popular Northwest Bookfest event: simple, saucy, sniff, swirl, best of Northwest authors, poetry, readings, more wine please. Nov 2,

Sundance Cinemas
The former Metro in the U District has officially been Sundancized and now boasts a bar, a living room with a fireplace, bistro fare, and reserved seating. Let’s see Netflix pour cocktails. Daily,

Central Cinema
Another beloved movie theater to receive a digital upgrade (hooray!), Central Cinema is back to pairing beer and pizza with comedies and cult classics. Rowdiness is encouraged at the frequent sing-along screenings. Daily,

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Survey: You Say Goodbye...

More than 13 ways these outgoing directors left their mark on Seattle arts. As told to Brianna Lantz



Program director of Northwest Film Forum since 2006; leaves in October 

How has the organization changed under your leadership?
I moved the focus of our programming towards honoring those most at the center of the work, the directors. My efforts to bring major world filmmakers, who were being honored globally for their innovation in the craft of cinema, provided the organization with an entirely new level of recognition.

Proudest moment/accomplishment at work? 
Launching a distribution program, as we already had contacts with venues like ours throughout North America. We have since become the North American distributor for not just important local films but nearly a dozen major works of world cinema.

What’s your next project?
I’ll be focusing a lot on my creative artistic practice with my life partner, Shannon Stewart.

Any idea who will replace you?
Not yet!



Executive director of Spectrum Dance Theater since 2010; resigned this summer 

How has the organization changed under your leadership?
When I came to Spectrum, Donald Byrd was itching to present dance in nontraditional ways. My background siting large-scale visual art performance and installation, plus my knowledge of the city and connections outside of dance, even my experience putting on rock shows, enabled Spectrum to move out into the city, to present in parks and windows, warehouses and empty churches, to do shows for free as well. 

Proudest moment/accomplishment at work? 
In June 2012 Spectrum premiered Donald Byrd’s Love in a [vacant] unconsecrated church in downtown Seattle. The work itself was incredible—site-specific, cathartic, thrilling, difficult, and danced amazingly well, some nights perfectly.

What would you like to see happen to Spectrum Dance in the coming years? 
Sincerely, I would like Donald Byrd to meet a leprechaun who will lead him to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Stranger things have happened.

What’s your next project?
I’m working on a feature film with my old crony, Michael Seiwerath.

Any idea who will replace you?
Nope, no idea.



Program director of Richard Hugo House since 2011 (staff since 2003); stepping down to quarter time 

How has the organization changed under your leadership?
Too often I think arts organizations, especially in the literary world, take themselves too seriously, and that was definitely the case in my early years at Hugo House. As someone who believes in broadening the reach of literature, I prefer high fives over hoity-toity. … Fun has been my driving force in creating programs. If we don’t enjoy working on a program, why would anyone enjoy coming to it?

Proudest moment/accomplishment at work? 
[Most recently,] the day before our last Literary Series event, I received an email from our headliner, Cheryl Strayed, that she was unable to do the event because she had pneumonia. After cursing loudly in my office for several minutes, I decided to email the only author I knew who could fill Cheryl’s heels with a day’s notice: Sherman Alexie. Within minutes Sherman replied back with a simple, “Yes, I will fill in.” Then I cursed some more, but they were f-bombs of joy.

What’s your next project?
I’m working on a book-length memoir about my personal history with guns and violence, tentatively titled The Anatomy of a Gun Owner



Executive director of the UW School of Drama since 1994; retires in 2013

How has the organization changed under your leadership?
A very positive change occurred about 15 years ago when we learned to articulate our commitment to a liberal arts education for undergraduates. … We have held strong in our commitment to offering a BA degree and not a BFA. We firmly believe that in order to be a good artist/citizen you need to know about the world we live in.

Proudest moment/accomplishment at work? 
The renovation of the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse was a huge undertaking by our department.

What would you like to see happen to the UW School of Drama in the coming years? 
I spend a great deal of time fundraising, and ideally I’d like to see the person in my position being able to dedicate time to enhancing the operations.

What’s your next project?
My academic and artistic specialty is costume design. As a UW faculty member I’m expected to do professional work, and right now on my drawing board I have laid out the designs for 5th Avenue Theatre’s holiday production of Oliver! It is wonderful to put my 25 years of knowledge on historic Western dress to use. I hope I will be designing many more costumes, riding more horses, and traveling to a few of the places on my bucket list!

Any idea who will replace you?
We are conducting a national search and I am excited to see who will apply!

Survey: ...And I Say Hello

These incoming directors think big for their debut season.

q: How will you put a stamp on your first full season?

Beginning in September, I will be in public conversations monthly on key topics such as visual literacy, materiality, and education. This year is our 20th anniversary as a nonprofit educational arts institution. … Our fall fundraiser preview exhibition highlights photography by and of the people, culture, and landscape of the Northwest.

—Michelle Dunn Marsh, executive director, Photo Center NW




In this first season, we have Porgy and Bess as our opening concert featuring Kevin Deas and Janice Chandler Eteme, two of America’s greatest interpreters of this music. It will be magical.
—Jeff Tyzik, conductor, Seattle Pops





We’re working now on finding the best interviewers for each writer who will join us [including Malcolm Gladwell, Madhur Jaffrey, and George Saunders].
—Ruth E. Dickey, executive director, Seattle Arts and Lectures 





We want the community to know that we are ‘growing up’ and our move into the new 12th Avenue arts building, at the end of this season/beginning of next season, is a huge part of this development. 
—Kayti Barnett, executive director, New Century Theatre Company




My goal with everything at to have a mix of Seattle and New York talent. I think there’s a lot to be gained by mixing together artists from different areas. You never want an arts community that’s insular. I think you should always focus on hiring local actors, but part of my goal is always getting better, always raising the bar; I think part of that is injecting new energy into the market.
—Louis Hobson, artistic director, Balagan Theatre



Aidan Lang, incoming general director of Seattle Opera

In an ideal world, what would you like to see at McCaw Hall in the coming seasons?
Over the years, Seattle Opera has put on an astonishingly wide-ranging repertoire, and in so doing cultivated an audience that is up for an adventure. This is a very encouraging starting point for someone new coming in to run the company. However, there are inevitably some important works that have not yet been seen in Seattle. ... I have very catholic tastes in opera. I am both a Wagnerian and also a great lover of Baroque music. Handel, for example, is an opera composer whose time has very much come. His music demands fantastic singing, and his operas are vividly theatrical. We are probably overdue for a Janáček opera, and I am looking forward to exploring some contemporary American works. For a company whose calling card is Wagner, very large-scale works seem less of a challenge than elsewhere. But there is one that the company has yet to do and I would love to put on at some stage: Berlioz’s massive epic, The Trojans. Well, you did say “in an ideal world.”


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Published: September 2013

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