Bartlett Sher speaks during an event at the International Peace Institute in 2017.
March 27, 1959|
San Francisco, California, United States
|Residence||Manhattan, New York City|
|Spouse(s)||Kristin Flanders (2 children)|
Bartlett B. Sher (born March 27, 1959) is an American theatre director. He received both the 2008 Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for his direction of the Broadway revival of South Pacific. The New York Times has described him as "one of the most original and exciting directors, not only in the American theater but also in the international world of opera". Sher has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning in 2008.
Sher was born in San Francisco, California, USA, the son of Aird (Stewart) and Joseph Sher. He had six siblings, including a twin brother. He was raised Catholic (during his teenage years, he found out that his Lithuanian-born father was Jewish). Sher attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory and later the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He returned to St. Ignatius to teach English and run the theatre program. During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games he was influenced by the arts programs associated with the Games, particularly by the work of Polish director Tadeusz Kantor.
Sher served as associate artistic director at Hartford Stage (Hartford, Connecticut) and company director at the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, Minnesota) where he worked with Garland Wright, who was a mentor as was Robert Woodruff. Sher has directed, taught and led workshops across the country and internationally. He was artistic director at Intiman Theatre in Seattle and in 2008 was named resident director at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City.
Intiman Playhouse, Seattle
Sher served as Artistic Director at Intiman Playhouse in Seattle from 2000–2010. During 2010 Sher handed over this job to his successor, Kate Whoriskey. (The Intiman cancelled its 2011 season due to financial problems). His productions at Intiman have included:
- Nickel and Dimed, a world premiere by Joan Holden based on the book by Barbara Ehrenreich;
- Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul (British housewife becomes fascinated with Afghanistan);
- Ingmar Bergman's Nora; (adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House)
- G. B. Shaw's Arms and the Man;
- Shakespeare's Cymbeline and Titus Andronicus;
- Carlo Goldoni's Servant of Two Masters.
- Works by Craig Lucas:
- The Dying Gaul (a funny and tragic story of a grieving Hollywood scriptwriter)
- The Singing Forest (world premiere) — (neurotics and therapists sparring)
- Prayer for My Enemy (dysfunctional family, friendship, war in Iraq)
- The Light in the Piazza, book by Craig Lucas (chance meeting in Florence leads to romance)
Other theatre and opera
- Mourning Becomes Electra for Seattle Opera;
- At the Theatre for a New Audience ("TFANA", New York) he directed productions of:
- 2000 — Waste by Harley Granville Barker (American premiere and 2000 OBIE for Best Play),
- 2002 — Cymbeline by Shakespeare
- 2003 — Dom Juan by Molière
- 2004 — Pericles, Prince of Tyre by Shakespeare
- He directed Cymbeline, Don Juan and Pericles at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
- In 2006 Sher directed Gioachino Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center.
- In 2009 Sher directed the opera Tales of Hoffman at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (opening December 3, 2009).
- In 2010 Sher directed a musical production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, based on the 1988 film by Pedro Almodóvar. The show opened November 4, 2010 on Broadway in a Lincoln Center Theater production. The musical was criticized by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as being distracted, gimmicky and overdesigned.
- In March 2011, Le Comte Ory by Rossini opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in a production directed by Sher. The reviewer for The New York Times called the production "lively, colorful and inventive."
- In June 2011, Sher's production of the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys was presented at the English National Opera. The American debut took place October, 2013, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Met commissioned the production.
- The previously announced revival of Funny Girl that Sher was expected to direct with a Broadway opening in February 2012 has been postponed.
- In December, 2012 Golden Boy by Clifford Odets as directed by Sher opened in New York to a positive review in The New York Times. This production was staged at the Belasco Theatre, the same spot where Golden Boy was first presented on Broadway, 75 years earlier. The production received eight Tony award nominations, including Sher's fifth for directing. Sher had directed Odets' Awake and Sing in 2006. The production ran from December 2012 into January 2013 for 53 performances.
- In 2014 Sher directed a musical production of the novel The Bridges of Madison County. The production ran for 100 performances from February to May, 2014.
- Sher directed a Broadway revival of The King and I, which opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center on April 16, 2015, with Kelli O'Hara as Anna Leonowens, Ken Watanabe as The King of Siam and Ruthie Anne Miles as Lady Tiang. He received a 2015 Tony Award Nomination for Best Direction of a Musical, and the production received Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (O'Hara), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Miles) and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Catherine Zuber).
- Sher directed a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Danny Burstein as Tevye and Jessica Hecht as Golde, which opened at the Broadway Theatre on December 17, 2015 and played its final performance December 31, 2016.
- Sher directed the world premiere of J.T. Roger's play Oslo which opened at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater in July 2016. The production transferred to the Vivian Beaumont Theater for an open run in April 2017.
Sher lives in Manhattan with his wife Kristin Flanders (a Yale trained actress) and two daughters. His father, an insurance broker whom he described to The New York Times as a "brilliant businessman, very charismatic", was also a serial philanderer who had a second family with another woman. Sher's childhood was marked by a drawn-out divorce.
His mother soon met a Chinese-American man, Doug Chung, who moved in, helped rear the family and brought them much needed stability. Sher's experiences with interracial blended families informed his directing of South Pacific.
Awards and nominations
- Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play — 2006 nomination (Awake and Sing!), 2009 nomination (Joe Turner's Come and Gone), 2013 nomination (Golden Boy), and 2017 nomination (Oslo)
- Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical — 2005 nomination (The Light in the Piazza), 2008 winner (South Pacific), 2015 nomination (The King and I), and 2018 nomination (My Fair Lady)
- "Meet the Nominees: And the Winner Is..." The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards. 2008. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- Bartlett Sher (September 2005). "The Essential Bartlett Sher". American Theatre Magazine (transcript). Interviewed by Steven Drukman. Archived from the original on 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- "College of the Holy Cross – Holy Cross Magazine". Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Alex Witchel, The Stages of Bart Sher, The New York Times, February 24, 2008.
- Korbelik, Jeff."The Bond of Brothers:As Close as You Would Expect Twins to Be" JournalStar.com (Lincoln), February 20, 2010
- Drukman, Steven."The Essential Bartlett Sher" Archived 2008-06-08 at the Wayback Machine. TheatreCommunicationsGroup.com, September 2005, accessed August 23, 2011
- "Bartlett Sher's production of South Pacific remains younger than springtime". The Australian. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Gussow, Mel."Garland Wright obituary" The New York Times (requires registration), July 26, 1998.
- Berson, Misha.Bartlett Sher, Tony Award-winning director, to leave Intiman" SeattleTimes.com, May 19, 2009
- "Intiman release" IntimanTheatre.org, accessed August 23, 2011
- Healy, Patrick."Seattle Theater Takes No-Frills Approach to Filling a Top Job"The New York Times, August 16, 2009.
- "Radio interview" NPR.org, December 3, 2001
- "Script summary" StagePlays.com, accessed August 23, 2011[dead link]
- Isherwood, Charles."Modern Neurotics Mingling With the Ghosts of Vienna"The New York Times, January 29, 2005
- Huffman, Kelly."Review:'Prayer for My Enemy'" TheaterMania.com, August 10, 2007
- Simonson, Robert. "Tony-Winning Light in the Piazza Extends at Lincoln Center Until Jan. 1" Archived 2012-10-22 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, June 9, 2005
- "Electra production" SeattleOpera.org, accessed August 23, 2011
- Bartlett Sher interview about Electra and New York City Opera SeattleOpera.org, accessed August 23, 2011
- "Production history" TFANA.org, accessed August 23, 2011 Archived September 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Schweitzer, Vivien."Swan Song of Offenbach, the Outsider"The New York Times, November 25, 2009
- Brantley, Ben."Here's Your Valium, What's Your Hurry?"The New York Times, November 5, 2010, pg C1
- Tommasini, Anthony."With Rossini’s Mix of This and That, the Met Finds an Excuse for a Romp"The New York Times, March 25, 2011
- Gans, Andrew."Los Angeles and Broadway Engagements of 'Funny Girl' Postponed" Archived 2011-11-04 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, November 3, 2011
- Isherwood, Charles "The Sweet Science vs. the Stradivarius", The New York Times, December 6, 2012
- New York Theatre "Golden Boy Reviews are Mostly Raves..."
- League, The Broadway. "Fiddler on the Roof – Broadway Musical – 2015 Revival - IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- Theater, Lincoln Center. "Oslo (Newhouse) - Lincoln Center Theater". Lincoln Center Theater. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- League, The Broadway. "Oslo – Broadway Play – Original - IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 27 April 2018.