Friday, July 17, 2009

is dillner qualified...for either position?

under the skylight theater's current restructuring plan, managing director eric dillner has assumed the duties of artistic director and, one would assume, at least some of the duties of company manager as well.

the skylight board seems to think he's qualified.

the skylight has an annual operating budget of $3.2 to $3.7 million producing five mainstage shows a year, five cabaret shows, and two shows in a smaller, black box studio theater - over 150 performances a season. the skylight also owns and operates the broadway theater center, home to milwaukee chamber theatre, renaissance theatreworks, present music, bel canto chorus, milwaukee children's choir, and a milwaukee law firm. the job of managing director for the skylight includes acting as landlord for the broadway theater center.

dillner's last home, the shreveport opera, has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.2 million – less than 1/3 that of the skylight. shreveport opera typically produces three shows a year, one performance each, using rented costumes and sets.

of the five shows the skylight produces each year, two to three are typically musicals -- the producers, white christmas, chicago, floyd collins.
dillner, by his own admission, knows very little about musical theatre. "i will leave this to you," two sources confirmed he said during a discussion of the company's repertoire, "i don't know much about musical theatre."

when dillner was hired as the skylight's managing director, he was not vetted as an artistic director. the search for the previous artistic director – bill theisen – was thorough and exhaustive. and yet the executive committee and board president feel confident enough with dillner's artistic ability to hand him the duties of artistic director seemingly overnight.

under normal circumstances, would dillner even be considered for the post of artistic director at the company?


  1. Not to mention, can he run the the business end of the Artistic Dept., with or without all of his old and new responsibilities? Plus the Box office for all the tenents?

  2. Apparently not. I have had a contract problem for Figaro and my agent has been trying to contact them for a month with no response. Diana would have gotten back to me the same day. Hmmmm....

  3. Eric, what have you done? Was it pure ego? Did you think you were superhuman, and, worse, did you think Kristen Godfry was at all up to the task of both box office and marketing? She can't even edit her own writing. Another day goes by, the Skylight sinks deeper into the murk.

  4. Noooooooooooo. Whew that was an easy one. Next question please.

  5. Well, it seems that Hefty is taking some of the artistic director role on for herself, as she's sending out contract withdrawal notices to people who have been outspoken regarding their "restructuring."

    Although I'd already withdrawn from the Barber chorus, I received a letter today saying that they were withdrawing my offer (which is like a double negative, but I digress...). It seems that only those who embrace Dillner and Hefty are now welcome on the Skylight stage.

  6. Oh my Lord. When will the board wake up and right this ship. Seems their plan is to wait everyone out and let this blow over. Every day that passes new info comes out.

  7. No. Clearly No.


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