Wednesday, July 22, 2009

rasmussen quits: "disturbed & disheartened"

the bleeding continues: rick rasmussen, one of the country's most respected set and costume designers and a staple on the milwaukee theatre scene, is tearing up his contract from the skylight opera theatre, making him the 21st artist to pull out of the company's 50th anniversary season.
Dear Mr. Dillner and the Skylight Board of Directors:

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am writing this letter to resign my position as Scenic Designer for the Skylight Theatre’s production of A Day In Hollywood, A Night In The Ukraine. I have been associated with the Skylight Opera Theatre almost continuously, ever since I designed Sets and costumes for Dames At Sea in 1992.

Over these intervening 17 years I have felt blessed and honored to be asked to work on so very many incredible productions. I have been made to feel that I was part of the Skylight Family and I have been very proud of that association with other admirable artists and theater professionals.

I have always found everyone in the organization to be honest and up front in their dealings with the artists. I now find myself watching the current administration destroying that sense of family and honest dealing with its firing of Bill Theisen and the dismissal of many colleagues and their concerns. The disrespect and mishandling of trusted Artists and other hard-working colleagues is without precedence and I cannot work for an organization that will allow and support this disrespect.

These are people who have helped make the Skylight such a wonderful arts organization. Sadly the way their input and pleas for fairness have been ignored leaves me disturbed and disheartened.

I hope that, as time goes by, I can re-associate myself with the Skylight under proper management and better circumstances. For now, I must stand with my colleagues in speaking out about this outrageous behavior manifested by certain members of the board and the administration of the theater toward its artists and staff.

Rick Rasmussen


  1. Wow. That quote gave me goosebumps. Very well stated.

  2. *continues to shake his head*

  3. Finally, a resignation letter that doesn't feel like it's aimed directly at the work that my friends and I are trying to put on stage for you all, well said! I've always enjoyed the time I've gotten to spend working with you Rick, whether it be at Parkside, The Fireside, or The Skylight, and hopefully the chance will come up again in the future. Best of luck!


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