Most of us in the Seattle theatre community have been waiting anxiously to see who Seattle Shakespeare Company’s board of directors would name as the new Artistic Director. We have seen other theatres in town screw up this decision miserably in the past, most especially by perpetrating the now infamous “nationwide search for talent”. Thankfully, the Seattle Shakes board saw that George Mount is a locally grown talent that no one in the nation can match in perfectness for this job. As Phil Miller, the Board’s Chairman, said in an email to Seattle Shakes supporters:
Out of all of the criteria we had in looking for a new artistic director, George has the best balance. He's had hands-on experience in the company's main areas of programming and has deep ties to our arts community. His ability as both an artist and administrator won him a ringing endorsement from the Board.
Deep ties indeed. George knows us. And we know George. He has sweated with us in cramped backstages on the fringe, and he has whispered jokes in the woods with us in Lynnwood and Issaquah and on Mercer Island as we waited to go on in some summer production of the Wooden O. George is the opposite of a carpet bagger. He laid the frickin’ carpet.
When I mentioned to George a few months back that I was rooting for him to land this position, I added that I thought it would be unwise for me to say so publically, given the very little love lost between myself and Seattle’s upper caste of arts administrators and board members. An endorsement from me might very well have the opposite effect than intended. George nodded sagely at this, but said nothing. That’s George for ya. He’s good at nodding sagely, keeping mum.
So I am incredibly delighted to be able to come of out the closet and proclaim my deep and enthusiastic support for George, as hind-sighted as it might seem now that the deal is done. Seattle Shakes will certainly thrive under his leadership. And long long may that last.
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Confidential to George: As happy as I am for you— and I am truly delighted, as much for the entire Seattle theatre community as I am for you— I still won’t let you off the hook about developing new work. You can dance with the pumpkin-panted hack for as long as you like, but some day you need to do yourself and everyone else a favor and direct a world premiere. It’s what Will would have wanted.