Sunday, July 26, 2009

on an ordinary sunday

for my skylight family.


30 comments:

  1. Tony, I listened to Bill Werner's tape from the opening of the theatre in 1983, and I have to tell you that I am reduced to sobbing rubble. Seeing you and Norman and Ray and Mark David and Paula and Wendy and Leslie and Richard and Diane K. and John K. and Elaine and Jenny and(I know I'll pay for not mentioning you all...)made me weep because you all look so hopeful and happy and proud. And at the end, there you are applauding the audience with Mnemosyne lighting the way. The allegory on the ceiling created by David Birn is called the Triumph of Art. At that moment the circle of communication between those on stage and those in the audience and the gods of the theatre was open and flowing unimpeded in full spate. I have forgotten whose idea it was to end our skit that way, but it sure feels right and true. And I'm so proud of all of you.

    I can't say anything definite right now because things are in flux and negotiations underway and I might mess things up, but I do want to say to the Skylight family that I fervently hope we all will have a chance to put this farrago behind us very soon. It is my hope that today will be no ordinary Sunday for us.


    Thank you, Tony, for being both scribe and muse.

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  2. Konnie KuchenbachJuly 26, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    That really got me. It is one of the few pieces of music that always reduces me to tears. I wish I had been there in 1993, I would have been crying then. I am crying now with the thought that all of this might be lost. Thank you Tony and Colin and all of those working to turn this around.

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  3. I thank you, too. That is a blanket thank you to anyone who has lended their voice to this discussion. I've learned as much from my dissenters as I have from my allies. The new day to come will be informed by all those voices, and we'll get back, by hook or crook, to a moment in our city's cultural history when there can be a unified pride in creation. Thank you. Thank you.

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  4. That's an extraordinary thing to have in one's archives. Beautiful. Order, Design. Art.

    Look I made a hat...

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  5. Julie Quinlan BrameJuly 26, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    As a Skylight subscriber and an arts manager at another Milwaukee arts organization, this video brought me to tears and smiles, because it reminds us all that art always wins. Art lasts. Art has survived--and thrived--through wars, through ends of civilizations, through deaths, through the Great Depression, through storms of all kinds. And it helped me know that the Skylight we all have loved will prevail. It is horrible to have to see all the upheaval and dishonesty that is happening right now, but I have to believe that it will all be over. And the real and true art--led by all of you who have served the Skylight and its audience so well for so long--will prevail.

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  6. Look at us...look at that place...listen to the honest emotion in those voices and in those eyes. There's the trust. There's the trust that has been betrayed in all of this.

    It's because that dedication to the power of the art we create (and have created) in that building still exist that we have railed and fought so hard against a move that would imperil it all. And people wonder why we feel so strongly. Good God, look at us then, look at us now. We're older by far, wiser by over a decade, but that optimism and belief have not faded.

    Thanks, Tony, for reminding us.

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  7. after watching that - the beauty of THAT - it seems surreal now...the reality of things at SOT now. had i been a former artist or current artist at SOT, i would be numb.

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  8. Thank you Tony. What an extraordinary, and powerful reminder of what is Skylight has been. I am so proud that my sons will be at Catalano square this morning to carry on, and help voice their concern that they may be robbed of this singular nurturing environment. Blessings all.

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  9. I have no emotional attachment to the Skylight, I know a friend who is involved in this sad drama and I can't take what its doing to her and her friends. But watching this, I felt goosebumps and some kind of spiritual air - time like you get when you go over a bump on a rollercoaster. The sensation of being lifted somewhere special.

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  10. I remember feeling so honored and joyful to be part of that celebration -- standing shoulder to shoulder with so many friends and artists who were singing their guts out because we all felt so proud to be a part of the inaugural concert.....I don't know, however, if I truly understood then what a triumph moving to the new theater truly was. I don't think I truly appreciated then what it meant to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow artists in support of the Skylight.

    But believe me, I do now. Whatever ends up happening with the building, I am glad we artists are still standing shoulder to shoulder.
    And, hopefully soon, we will find cause to sing our guts out again in celebration.

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  11. Tony promised to make me cry this morning. When you deliver, you really deliver. But it is all the above comments that got me running, literally running, for the kleenex in the house. I am sitting here a sobby, snotty mess. But an uplifted snotty mess. I am so proud to call Milwaukee my artistic home. Thank you friends. Thank you, Tony.

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  12. Tony didn't promise to make me cry this morning, but he did so anyway. You cannot deny the strength, fortitude, pride, and artistry rolling off that stage. Although I've been a NYC resident for the past 19 years, I've made some friends at the Skylight and have some friends in the larger MKE arts community (shout out to the MCT family, Richard, Jonathan and Paula) and I have to say, seeing your resolve, seeing how committed you are to the art, and how committed you are to an organization to which you have given so much and which has provided you with such joy has got me thinking about moving back to become a part of my hometown arts community again.
    Who'd've thunk that a debacle like this could generate something like that? Now, THAT is the power that art has!

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  13. Thank you, Tony. My heart is bursting, just the same as that wonderful night. Seeing that should make it clear what the Skylight means, the often indescribable essence. Sadly, those who don't get it, may never. But enough of us do, and will keep working to have many more nights with the power of that opening. I feel optimistic that today will be an EXTRAordinary Sunday.

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  14. Okay, I haven't had a big full-out fat cry - nay, wailing and tearfest - about this whole situation until now.

    I am relatively new to the Skylight family -- my first show was in the 2005/06 season. Upon returning to NYC after closing, I immediately told my husband we were moving to Milwaukee and we started looking at real estate. Well, other events occurred, and although we haven't made the move (yet), I've been fortunate to return to the Skylight often - both as an actor and an audience member.

    I count myself so blessed to, in such a short time, find a place where I do indeed feel "home" and part of a family. A family like no other. I've had the honor of working with only a handful of the folks in that video - and yet I feel connected in a very distinct and palpable way to all onstage and in the audience.

    This performance is a testament to what makes Skylight so singularly rare - the passionate commitment of ALL - onstage, backstage, in the costume & prop & tech shops, in the box office, in every facet and every connection to the theatre. The care for one another. The coming together as a community because everyone believes in the importance of what they're doing and believes that what they add to it is vital and crucial to the creative process. A community where all are valued and respected, where the individual ego takes a backseat to the greater good of the whole. Where all work as a creative, thriving team. A collaborative unity.

    I am so proud to be a Skylight family member. And, like that other Jennifer Clark said, I can't wait to stand with you all soon and raise our voices in celebration.

    Thank you Tony for giving us hope in this radiant video.

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  15. An amazing time at an amazing place shared by amazing people, onstage and off. May there be another amazing time at this amazing place shared by all of these same amazing people... and many more... onstage and off... soon. Soon. Soon. Thank you, Tony. Thank you all. I am so proud to be a part of this incredible family. I love you and stand beside Leslie in sending blessings to all.

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  16. Thank you so much Tony.

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  17. I read on Jamie's blog that Skylight has been jerking its orchestra musicians around.

    Tony, have you heard from them? They are a part of the Skylight family, too. I saw some of them at Catalano on Friday.

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  18. More I think about it, the more perfect that "Sunday," is. It was written as a glorious celebration of the intersection of every day life and the creation of art in both paint and music. I think this is the Tiananmen Square moment of this conflict.

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  19. Incredibly moving and inspiring. I look at the stars of 1993 and remember the hundreds that preceded them who would fill that stage many times over. In 50 years there could've been 50 videos of that current season's artists expressing the same passion. How wonderful to have these outstanding artists of '93 representing every one of us who have ever stepped foot on the SOT stage in the old house and new. May it continue another 50+. Thx Tony!!!

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  20. Having been a Skylight singer in Claire's days and since then supplying voice students to them as singers, I have followed this all with great concern and sadness. I can only hope that a resolution can be found so that we can continue to serve the art we so cherish in the atmosphere of love and support.
    Pat Crump

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  21. wish I had been there.

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  22. [crying] There is no ordinary Sunday where there is art, music, order, passion. Thank you all! A levity...man, Richard, those are some big-ass glasses!

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  23. I'd love to have those days back!!

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  24. I apologize for the length (in 2 parts no less) of this in advance as I have never been anything but verbose much to many peoples dismay….As I sit here, wiping tears from my eyes, on a lazy Sunday morning, for a change, before heading off to another rehearsal I found myself more contemplative than usual after watching Tony’s blog video of “Sunday”. I had completely forgotten that day and those specific memories. My memory has always been a problem. But I do have many wonderful memories of the Skylight that I do remember – too many to mention in my 20 some years and since I don’t even mention my age anymore that just can’t be true…… Due to some unfortunate persons and circumstances in the theater community, I had found myself on the outside looking in in recent years with the skylight and wondered if I was even a part of it anymore. Was I ostracized? Too old? Not good enough? Who knows. It is a fickle mistress – the theater! But I was a part of her then. There I am (40 pounds heavier), and a bit younger standing next to the wondrously talented Ray, and with Diane on Piano, whom I loved so dearly for helping me get my very first “gig” at the skylight amidst my disastrous audition and my new found theatrical naiveté’. The first of so many wonderful gigs!! It became something I relied on for so long. Getting to possibly work with that so damned talented Becky one more time and hopefully not get into any trouble this time… I was a part of the very last show in the old skylight with now Tony award winning Shuler… And I was part of the opening 2 shows in the new space where my parents proclaimed “Jimmy we love you but just don’t want to see anything at the skylight anymore.” They did and they loved every minute.. as did I! I love the theater. I also love the people. And as I cried today for the Skylight I once knew where I played a nerd biker slave in a show with the most amazing performer Diane L. I was in awe (still am) Such beauty and warmth and caring, and yet little ole me, was allowed to be a part of this magic. I remembered thinking, Life could not be better than this moment. So many wonderful people and so many wonderful times. It is why I was (finally) moving towards giving up my day job and trying to make that leap, albeit at an older age, maybe too old. But based on recent theatrical successes and highs and getting that feeling again, try I must, I felt.

    I was very heartened recently when I received an email from Bill T. a few weeks ago asking me to be a part of the 50th season! Hey maybe someone just dropped out or maybe they were looking at old shows and bringing some of us old timers back or??? Well. I didn’t care, I was going back. I was happy. The very next day the news happened. I was in shock. I had no idea having been on the outs that they were in such dire straits. I guess I should have figured that everyone was hurting with the bad economy…. I loved Bill and Diana and others. I had worked with them for years. Even before Skylight, Bill directed me in a little known show so many years ago at Broadway Baby (another so sad demise in recent past!!) Diana and I had worked on one of my most favorite memories at Broadway Baby in an extremely long run of a show that went on the road and well let’s just say created some of the more memorable moments of that theatrical experience. I loved her for so long. Another one of the dearest persons I have come to know in my long “career”. This was absolutely horrifying but I also knew, having 60% of all architects, nationwide and most of my colleague’s unemployed, that this happens. Sad as it is.

    So I sat in the shadows watching and reading. Not feeling truly a part of it anymore, and thereby not feeling my opinion mattered. I was always hopeful but being such a realist was not counting on anything. So I found a new show to be a part of and moved on for myself at least. Still following each and every step that many of my past theater friends were living.(CONTINUED)

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  25. (CONTINUED) Jamie and his profound passions whom I admire for being able to speak up hell be damned!! I wish I had that chutzpah without fear. Or through Tony who I worked with so many, many years ago and told me that he just couldn’t cry on stage. How far he has come having lived the dream so many of us just dream about… And yet coming home to champion what he loved so dear. Richard and others who I have admired for so many years.. I kept having hope and wondered why so many were tearing down this last institution of theatrical wonderment and joy for so many…I did not know many of the current players and problems. I just wanted the memory to be there. I was selfish. There is so little opportunity for those of us in Milwaukee anymore. My hopes really began to tear into shreds as I saw Colin appear. I mean he is Skylight! I have known him for so long whether he remembers me specifically or not. I know there have been so many artists over the years. I was at his house so many times. Being an architect, we talked at great lengths about the new theater possibility. It was a dream of his and we lived it through him. Then if became reality!! There is a reason why the Theater is named for him… and it is not just money. Who else can speak the volumes so eloquently? I still remember vividly working with who was Paula Dewey at the time, and being just in awe of her dedication and her shear talent!

    I learned so much from the performers and talented crew I have seen and met and was so grateful for each and every show I did for the Skylight or one of the many names variations they have concocted… It always remained the same. As I work as a Technical director for local High Schools and perform around the area in local community theater productions I always recount my experiences from the Old Skylight. The lessons of humility, trust, professionalism, excitement...Every individual no matter how small matters!! It only happens because of all of us cast and crews alike – together!! There were very few Divas there. If they arrived on the scene you just knew they would not be back. There was no place for them in great theater!! The friendships, and so, so many wonderful memories!!! As we age, that is all we have left. The aches and pains that weren’t there before when we danced across a stage all belie our hopes of eternal youth – Even if the steps weren’t always there right away much to Pam’s frustration. She still persevered. Making everything perfect - always… But wonderful memories they all were. I would hate to see that all go away for future generations. I have no idea how or even if this wonderful institution can be saved. As each day passes it seems less likely. Unfortunately, as I age I become more cynical and I have seen this happen before and not with happy results. I so hope that this time the Phoenix can rise as so many have stated. I love walking into the building. Seeing all the smiling faces, like that of talented Stage manager Jennifer who for so many years showed me there is also so much joy to be found out of the limelight. Everyone always had a kind word…The smells and the spaces just fill my senses with the memories of past joys. One can only look into the jewelers and ever changing restaurants etc on Cathedral Square to bring back the earliest memories… But maybe as was so eloquently said before (with my apologies to Dolly)… That’s all I have. And all I’m taking with me. And I will always love you. Skylight. May you forever wave somehow. If not for me personally, then for many, many others to come!!

    Best of luck to all championing her spirit!! I was there that Sunday and many, many others, before. Maybe I will be there at one in the future. We can all dream can’t we?? To all.. My Love and BREAK – A- LEG forever.

    James A. Skiba

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  26. SKIBA!!!! Boy, are you one classy dude! I miss you, my friend.
    Alicia B.

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  27. Unfortunately, I was not there for this beautiful event. But, I have to say that I am hopeful by what Mr. Cabot has to say. Not too hopeful, but hopeful.

    The list is long, but THANK YOU to Mr. Cabot, Tony, Jonathan and all others that are fighting for the Skylight we love.

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  28. Mr. Skiba!!!!! You have made us laugh and cry and I remember you and your smile (especially that) and your graciousness and it is SO GOOD to read your words. Thank you for the compliments and the joy and the sheer elegance of your tribute.

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  29. I felt so much emotion watching this with my Mom. She is so sad about all this, and so am I. Someone please save the Skylight ("God save the people"). <3 Thankyou Tony for all you do.

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  30. Danielle Hermon WoodJuly 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    So beautiful. Tony, thank you for posting this. You are all such wonderful, beautiful people. To the Skylight family members I have worked with, I am truly blessed to know you. I hope to meet the rest of you sometime soon. You are all in my heart and prayers.
    Love,
    Danielle

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