Thursday, July 9, 2009

about that skylight press release...

some quick thoughts on that skylight press release. first, the board is fairly begging bill theisen to return. and yet there's this (my emphasis):
At a full meeting of the Board of Directors last night, it was resolved to establish communications with Bill Theisen regarding the role of Artistic Director at The Skylight.
in other words, under what conditions? has the board suddenly found an artistic director's salary lying around? or is that to be negotiated?
The Board would like to accept and embrace the many offers it has received for benefit performances, assistance in fundraising, and donations. Anyone interested in helping The Skylight can e-mail the board at
from what i can gather, there have been two such offers. generous, yes. would this community do it? certainly. especially if the offers were matched by the board. would this community call eric dillner to offer their help? highly doubtful.

then, the kicker:
The board continues to support Eric Dillner and the entire staff of The Skylight who have filled in and carried on during this time. They deserve the respect and appreciation of all.
skylight staff? yup. absolutely. wherever they stand, this has got to have been a tough time. but to suggest that eric dillner deserves anyone's respect at this point is beyond laughable.


  1. Thank you, Tony. Eric has neither my support nor respect. I love the Skylight and Lydia and I would be happy to do a Skylight benefit cabaret, but I'd sure like a call from Eric to at least know he actually GOT my phone calls. I've called everyday since this whole thing happened and not 1 call back. Supposedly they listened to them all, according to the press release, but I doubt it.

  2. I notice it only mentions Bill and the 50th seaason--nothing beyond. And I'm still looking out for my dear friend Jamie Johns, who got booted for standing up to what he saw as a grave injustice. Does he get invited back? (Not that he'd work with Dillner anyway.) They screwed more than just one person.

  3. How many artists would be willing to boycott to get Dillner out of there?

  4. I would say it's time to take the gloves off. I have no power, but as Becky has suggested, the artists surely do.

  5. I don't want to make Bill work with a cast for the Figaro that he didn't handpick, so I will not boycott for his sake, but what about Jamie and Diana, not to mention the box office staff, which, when I worked for one at Interlochen Arts Academy, I found was truly the face for the audience and the smoother of many tempers, what of their fates? The company needs their expertise so desperately it is ridiculous. Let's do benefits to get their jobs back, huh? My hat is in the ring.

  6. Does anyone think Bill will accept this? I hope not. And then what will the board do?

  7. Will Eric keep his part time personal Assistant? Will the overstaff Development Dept all stay. What about the large Prodution Staff? Hate to see anyone cut. What about a 10% pay cut across the board? If Bill comes back (can he work under and with those who wanted him out) the Skylight will have it's vision back but what about the admin. side of the dept. and the box office?

  8. Wait, Dillner has an assistant? A PAID assistant?!?! He's eliminating artistic staff and blaming a lack of money while he pays an assistant?!!

  9. Sometimes when you spend a lot of money on something, like a bottle of expensive wine, you pretend that you like it, and it was worth the money, even if it turns out to be crap. We don't like to think that we have been fooled.
    Maybe someone should look into how much Dilner is being paid. Maybe the board doesn't want to admit that it has been fooled.

  10. Chris, I guess you need an assistant if you're going to do everyone's jobs.

    I've only weighed in occasionally on FB, but have had interesting discussions in the community in circles where you might not even guess that Skylight supporters abound. To a person, they feel disrespected and are astounded at the lack of understanding & communication by the organization.

    I believe that Skylight has not hired any outside PR counsel - it shows every single time they do - or don't - communicate. And remember folks, PR is developing, maintaining and growing relationships with all your stakeholders - not just the media. The only person they are looking to repair a relationship with at this point is Bill (at least that's what the release says). Oh, and by the way, donors are appreciated. Too simplistic a message, and almost completely disregards artists, subscribers, patrons, friends, fans.

    I would suggest a town hall meeting - the past six weeks can't be wiped away, even if Bill comes back. They've allowed too much damage to be done with too many relationships. A transparent, open and honest forum would at least show that the organization is ready to embrace, engage, LISTEN TO, and hopefully even mobilize its community in helping solve problems.

    I'm proud to be a member of the Skylight family and though I haven't been on its stage in a while, I still feel like I am. That's amazing. I'm proud to see how my friends have rallied to her defense (isn't every inanimate object female?). Something special is happening here in our community, and we should appreciate the opportunity that this situation affords in opening discussions that never would have taken place otherwise. Even when we no longer have a whipping post around which to rally.

    Thanks, Tony, for continuing to ask important questions - arts, politics and more.

  11. someone here mentioned the power of the artists. true. boycott. have every actor walk. very simple. or not very simple. you have to get EVERY actor to drop everything. not sure if that can be done not knowing the degree of loyalty the actors have toward the Skylight.

  12. Salaries for employees of non-profits making more than 50k are of public records I believe.

  13. That's true. Salaries over $50K must be reported on a non-profit's annual 990. This information is avaiable as a matter of public record. provides this information free of charge for potential donors "to make informed decisions".


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