Monday, July 27, 2009

skylight news travels across the pond

the just released august issue of the british magazine OPERA, includes this unhappy news item on page 928:

Milwaukee's Skylight Opera Theatre has been engulfed in a row following the dismissal of its popular and successful Artistic Director, Bill Theisen, who had been in the post for the last five years. The Managing Director who dismissed him, Eric Dillner, claimed that he was merging their two posts out of financial necessity, but his actions are being seen as a colossal public-relations blunder.

According to Tom Strini of the city's Journal-Sentinal, Dillner, who arrived from Shreveport Opera in Louisiana in March 2008, was practically unknown to the city's audience until he took the step. "He did not seem to grasp that Bill Theisen isn't just anyone. Theisen started acting at the Skylight as a teen and performed there intermittently while leading a busy national career as a performer. He loves the Skylight and personified its ethos. He is also a great director and fine performer. You don't just throw someone like that under the bus."

Artists are lining up behind Theisen and heaping public scorn on Dillner. As things stand, Skylight Opera Theatre now goes into its 2009-10, 50th anniversary season with no Music Director and no Artistic Director.
(hat tip k. kuchenback)


  1. Those Brits sure do know how to sum it up. Reading this breakdown from a new, fresh, untainted, unemotional source.......still makes Dillner look like a horse's arse.

  2. We're having a ROW! That sounds so much more pleasant.

  3. Row, row, row your boat...

  4. Wow, a row. And HOW! Can it stop now???

  5. Leslie FitzwaterJuly 28, 2009 at 3:40 AM

    This boil has festered long enough. Time for the board to burst it, so the healing can begin. It's gonna leave a big scar, though.

  6. A monthly british opera magazine has over 928 pages? Wow, that IS big news!

    Why is Dillner still at the Skylight? He's become irreparably toxic to artists, donors, and audiences. How can the Skylight board not see that dumping him and restoring Thiesen is the only path to saving the Skylight?

  7. Seems to me that some British magazines have their pages numbered cumulatively by volume (so that the January issue starts at page 1 and the February issue picks up where January left off in page numbering).

    And watching from Chicago, where the board of a company devoted to new musicals just pushed out a 25-year-employee for something the board should be doing (fund-raising), it seems like boards of NFP musical theater companies seem to be dong stupid things lately.


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