Meanwhile, in Seattle David Esbjornson is leaving the Seattle Rep, while Bartlett Sher, (AD of the Intiman Theatre for the past nine years,) has signed for one more year, but seems as if he is destined for other places.
In the Seattle Weekly, John Longenbaugh, talks about some of the differences in the two AD's and the two theatre companies:
The difference, it seems to me, is that while Sher has been a director in Seattle, Esbjornson has worked mightily to be a Seattle director. He's shown this partly through his openness to working with local actors—an effort that builds an indigenous theatrical community, and, as a side benefit, is more economical than hiring and housing out-of-town talent. In artistic terms, Sher's most-lauded work in the last few years has been not here but in New York, while Esbjornson has primarily stayed in town, doing the unglamorous work required of an administrator. And though audiences haven't always agreed, I've been impressed with the Rep's choice of challenging and unconventional material, whereas Sher's seasons have often relied on a backbone of regional tried-and-trues. This season alone, two of Intiman's five shows—The Diary of Anne Frank and The Little Dog Laughed—are on the 2008 list of 10 most-performed productions by regional theaters. As a result, it's easy to feel that while Sher's been leaving us for a while, Esbjornson has just given up on us.