A DASH OF HISTORY
Andrew Russell is a director, producer, and writer based in Seattle with a focus on creating productions celebrating outsiders and those on the fringe. He is the Producing Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre. Portrait by LaRae Lobdell
Andrew is the Producing Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre and directs extensively in Seattle, NYC, and regionally. With a focus on directing stage productions celebrating outsiders and those on the fringe, he conceived and directed Stu for Silverton, a new musical about America’s first transgender mayor heralded as “groundbreaking” and the “best of 2013” by The Seattle Times. Stu for Silverton has been developed further, under Andrew’s direction, at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis. In 2014, Andrew directed both parts of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels In America, earning a CityArts Artist of the Year Award for his work on the production.
In Seattle Andrew has also directed with ACT ‐ A Contemporary Theatre, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Seattle Men’s Chorus, Cornish College of the Arts, among others.
As a theatre director in NYC Andrew has directed for The Public Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Subjective Theatre Company, Gallery Players, Downtown Urban Theater Festival, Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, Columbia University, New York University, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and has served as an assistant director on and off Broadway.
With a love for new work that stretches the expectation of traditional theatre, Andrew has had a working relationship with playwright Jerome A. Parker for almost a decade. Andrew has had the pleasure of directing in production or workshop his plays Ballad of Sad Young Men (Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, NYC), Bliss: A Soldier's Tale (The Public Theatre, NYC), and Strange Fellowe (Fais Do Do Jazz Club, Los Angeles).
Andrew served as Tony Kushner’s assistant for over three years, during which he produced and directed Courage in Concert at The Public Theatre (featuring Meryl Streep, Daniel Craig, Mike Nichols, Kevin Kline, Maggie Gyllenhaal), an 80th Birthday Celebration for Maurice Sendak (featuring James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Christine Quinn) as well as numerous projects, special events, and readings.
In 2015 Andrew directed a revival of the one-woman Diana Vreeland show Full Gallop starring Mercedes Ruehl at The Old Globe, and in 2016 he will direct a revival of the musical Violet for ArtsWest in Seattle, WA.
Andrew holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
In 2015 Intiman Theatre premiered a new play, "John Baxter is a Switch Hitter," by Andrew and co-author Ana Brown about the 2008 gay softball world series held in Seattle when a team accused another team of having too many “straight” players. A comic, modern-day witch-hunt inspired by an outlandishly true Seattle story, John Baxter is a Switch Hitter is a big American play about progress, inclusion and exclusion, and what happens when the majority wants “in.”
Also in 2015, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre presented a workshop presentation of The Fourth Estate, a new musical Andrew has written with composer and lyricist Richard Gray that unpacks government secrets, questions American history, and celebrates the power of the press by bringing onto the same stage Dorothy Kilgallen, Jack Ruby, Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden. Also with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, Andrew is writing a musical with composer Richard Andriessen inspired by the sordid life of Linda Hazzard.
Andrew was named Intiman Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director in 2011, and in partnership with the board of trustees created and launched a new theatre festival and operating model for the theatre. Since 2012 the socially progressive theatre has produced an annual multi-month festival devoted to telling stories “relevant to our time and as diverse as the community in which we live” performed with a repertory company of actors.
Under Andrew’s leadership, Intiman Theatre has commissioned and produced new work that celebrates diversity onstage through its Startup Stagings program (Miracle! by Dan Savage, Stu for Silverton by Breedlove and Peter Duchan, John Baxter is a Switch Hitter by Andrew and Ana Brown), and has produced classic socially progressive productions such as Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, Angels in America by Tony Kushner, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! by Dario Fo, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, and Dirty Story by John Patrick Shanley.
Andrew supervises an annual staff of eight and a seasonal company of 100+ to serve the Seattle community through leveraging the power of empathy inherent in live theatre for the public good. In 2014 a groundbreaking partnership with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center generated more than $17,000 in audience support for Fred Hutch's vital HIV vaccine research, and in 2015 Intiman Theatre launched its Emerging Artist Program which will provide training, professional development, and career placement for almost 30 actors, directors, and assistant directors from underrepresented populations within the industry.
Andrew was the Associate Producer at Intiman Theatre from 2009-2011, and in NYC from 2006-2009 he was a Creative Consultant with Universal Pictures, Marc Platt, and David Stone and responsible for searching the Universal catalogue for projects with theatrical stage potential, as well as the “First Mondays” producer with Naked Angels.
Andrew has established a working relationship with Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, and has done many workshops and lectures on the power of storytelling and the usefulness of theatre skills within the workplace for the company. He’s also done corporate training, consulting, or lecturing for companies such as Juniper Networks, International Special Events Society, and Microsoft.