Intiman's New Theater Festival Risks It All

The nearly shuttered theater bounces back with a fresh lineup of local talent.

Resurrected thanks to a fundraising campaign, Intiman Theatre enters its 40th year this month—but considering the many revisions to the theater’s leadership and mission, it may feel more like the first. Led by new artistic director Andrew Russell, Intiman has amassed a repertory company of stellar local actors, directors and crew to bring you one memorable (and cost-effective) summer festival. But prepare yourself: This isn’t just breezy summertime fare. The subject matter concerns abstract arguments and mixed-up heroes tackling real-life problems, so plan to hit a neighborhood bar or café afterward for debriefing with friends.

Seattle luminary Allison Narver (who previously brought an unforgettable production of Eurydice to ACT) directs Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Amidst the bravado swordplay and lustful soliloquies, Narver’s version highlights the contemporary relevance of the play’s portrayal of a place plagued by constant and deep-seated violence.

Andrew Russell directs Henrik Ibsen’s tragic Hedda Gabler, about a gal who can’t seem to get a break, featuring Marya Sea Kaminski (a Seattle mag Spotlight award winner who stunned audiences in Electra) in the titular role, and, in an innovative twist, choreography and movement direction by former Pacific Northwest Ballet star Olivier Wevers.

Valerie Curtis-Newton, head of the directing program at the University of Washington’s School of Drama, directs Dirty Story, by John Patrick Shanley, which promises to offend everyone—on purpose. The play is an allegorical and darkly comic mining of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, told via the interactions of a sadomasochist couple (parental guidance advised).

Coming out of left field, The Stranger’s Dan Savage takes a break from his regularly scheduled MTV show to dust off his theater chops and present his own original play, Miracle!, described as “Helen Keller meets Seattle’s 1990s drag scene.”

7/11–8/26. Times vary. $30 per play. Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St.; 800.745.3000; complete schedule at