Tuesday, July 21, 2009

rhode/stoeger quit: "sick at heart"

actors molly rhode and chase stoeger will not sign contracts for skylight's 50th anniversary season, making them the 11th and 12th artists refusing to work with current management.
Dear Mr. Dillner and Skylight Board of Directors:

As a married couple, we were excited to be issued contracts for A Day In Hollywood for the Skylight’s 50th season. We were thrilled to be included in such a special season and eager to work again with so many colleagues we respect. It is very surprising now to be sitting here together composing this letter to you. We find ourselves unable to sign our contracts. We both feel sick at heart, but we cannot bring ourselves to work for the Skylight under its current leadership.

We are newlyweds. We met while performing in the Skylight's 2004 production of Cabaret. We were proud to appear together again in The Producers right after our engagement. We even considered the Skylight as the venue for our wedding this past spring. Richard Carsey became an ordained Reverend in order to marry us. Many long-time Skylight employees were present at our ceremony. The Skylight, you see, has played a substantial role in the development of our relationship. The Skylight, until now, was much more than an employer. The Skylight was family.

We are shocked and hurt by the disrespect this management has shown its artists and other stakeholders. Financially, this is a difficult decision for us. Our primary income comes from performing, and we both turned down other prospects of work in favor of being at the Skylight next spring; however, the goodwill of the community has been taken for granted and squandered by the current management. Their decision-making thus far has inspired no confidence. This management’s sole achievement has been to push all of Skylight’s greatest supporters away. Thus, regardless of our need for the work, we simply cannot in good conscience take part in the upcoming season.

We will continue to hope that something be done to mend this deep, deep wound.

With great regret,

Molly Rhode and Chase Stoeger


  1. Thank you, Molly and Chase for making such a real sacrifice. We all continue to hope that this melt down can be reversed. Now, more than ever, the more that come forward to voice their disapproval of Hefty/Dillner's restructuring and its results, the more likely that we can get the ol Skylight back.

  2. I am so sorry, guys. I will see if I can find you something up here in Chicago for you, and you can stay with me!

  3. touche! i respect this husband and wife team as i respect the other artists who have withdrawn their contracts. YOU are honorable people. i hope, once i move back to Milwaukee, that i have the honor of making all your acquaintances!

  4. Tamara MartinsekJuly 21, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    We all know this is a huge sacrifice for you both, both professionally and emotionally - your integrity and spirits shine through as always! Bravo!

  5. Molly & Chase if you need to be fed you know you can come over anytime! Love you!!

  6. You both deserve a standing ovation! When it's your bread and butter, it's a little harder to part with. Thank you both!!!

  7. Peggy Peterson RyanJuly 21, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Molly & Chase -- blessings on your heads! One is never punished when standing for Principle. You will be rewarded an hundredfold, as will ALL those who are doing what is right and good. Love to you both. (*;*)

  8. Leslie FitzwaterJuly 21, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    Molly and Chase, thank you. Mike's statement goes for us as well. The garden is bountiful and we have a large table!

  9. AS "self-employed" Artists we ALL struggle with the next contract, the next paycheck. To have the strength of character to show both your displeasure at how other artists are being treated, and to sacrifice your own careers for the moment, is an amazing gift. There IS a great deal of integrity and FAMILY between artists and their audiences that must be solidified in order for us all to have the freedom to create! Thanks you for this sacrifice, and for being willing to be public about it!
    Create Beauty and fill the world with LOVE!

  10. As the former VP for Advancement of the MSO I have been following this with interest from my new home in Tampa through the media and Dan Schley's facebook posts. From an outsiders perspective, the mismanagment from the "leadership of the organization" of this entire situation has taken away from the true celebration of 50 years of excellece in art. Unfortunately, it seems as if the season may never regain the flavor of a celebration it deserves. The long and short of this is that there probably needs to be changes at the top and soon. For the sake of this fine institution, would someone step up in Milwaukee and lead this down the right path?


Inappropriate comments, including spam and advertising, will be removed.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.