Monday, July 20, 2009

berneche quits: "every trust...broken"

skylight regular alicia berneche, scheduled to perform the role of susanna in the upcoming skylight opera theatre production of the marriage of figaro, is the latest in a steady drip, drip, drip...
Dear Mr. Dillner, and members of The Skylight Board of Directors,

I am extremely saddened to write this, but I feel compelled to leave the 50th anniversary production of The Marriage of Figaro. I was extremely honored to be asked by Bill Theisen to play Susanna in such an auspicious year, and was so excited to play a part in the history of a company I have loved and cherished for eleven years now. With all that has transpired in the past two months, I cannot in good conscience perform with this company.

I have witnessed many companies undergo change. Some of the changes have benefited me, many of them left me without work, but never have I felt the need to take a stand against what had transpired. However, never before have I felt that every principle that defined that company had been abandoned, that every standard had been lowered, and every trust had been broken. I mourn the company that I have known as the Skylight, and will miss walking into the rehearsals that fed my soul.

Speaking of soul, that is the reason so many of us came to the Skylight. I never sang there to make money. More often than not, I broke even singing the shows there. I came to the Skylight to find my authentic voice, to produce carefully wrought, exciting work with colleagues I trusted and cherished. We will go our separate ways now and will flourish, but we will not have the same trusting, safe atmosphere we created at Skylight. The fact that money has brought all of this about is telling--money cannot dictate art.

My sincerest hope is that something positive can come of this.

Thank you for eleven wonderful years and seven exciting productions,

Alicia Berneche

1998 Richard Wargo's Chekhov Trilogy
1999 Ballymore
2000 H.M.S. Pinafore
2001 Lucia di Lammermoor
2005 The Mikado
2007 Tartuffe
2008 La Bohème


  1. Please remember this is how Susan Hefty's business experience is described online: "With a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, Ms. Hefty spent her professional life as a designer of commercial interiors."

  2. Tamara MartinsekJuly 20, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    Thank you Alicia for such a beautiful and heartfelt statement - the board needs to know that the community is not speaking against these choices because of egos, opportuniies to personally benefit, or out of any personal vendetta - but simply because we refuse to lose the beautiful artistic home we have come to love whether we are performers, administrators,ticket buyers, donors or technical artisans -

  3. Okay, now they have no artistic director (they fired him) and no music director (they fired him, too). They don't have anyone to direct the mainstage shows (Bill, Richard and Pam quit) and performers are either being fired (Bryce and Jon) or are quitting out of protest (Alicia, etc). No shows are left in the black box (Gary, Paula and Colin are all out). The cabaret artists are dropping like flies (someone should tell Johnson Bank). The Grease Sing-a-long and Summer Cabarets in Catalano Square have been cancelled. What's left??? Oh yes, Herman the Horse! Halleluia!

  4. At this rate, they were right to fire Diana. They really don't need a company manager any more.

  5. As far as I can see, Tony is the Edward R. Murrow of the day with the cry for decency, and Tom Strini is right there with him! All of you who have resigned contracts out of principle and fearlessly stood for what is right and honest about a place we have all loved for so long are heros. It's not easy to cancel a contract when most other gigs are filled at this point. Now that you're all free, why not start your own company? You'd have a whole list of subscribers coming to see you. Paula suggested the name "The Artists Formerly Known as Skylight". Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?


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