Monday, July 20, 2009

theisen quits: skylight "future is bleak"

bill theisen, former artistic director of the skylight opera theatre, whose position was eliminated on june 16th resulting in much of the recent uproar, had originally agreed to return to the company to direct four of the five shows he had been scheduled for prior to his firing.

theisen has changed his mind.

theisen joins the growing list of artists turning down their contracts for next season:
Dear Eric, Suzanne, the Skylight Board of Directors and the Skylight Board of Advocates,

I am writing today to resign from my directing duties for the Skylight 50th anniversary season productions of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, PLAID TIDINGS, THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT WITH COLIN AND PAULA CABOT and THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO.

My agreement with Eric and the Skylight was to return to direct these shows as I originally conceived them and with the casts that have been in place for months. With the firing of two BARBER cast members last week the agreement I signed has been broken and I am not able to return to the Skylight under these conditions.

Not being a part of this anniversary season that so many of us have worked on for more than a year breaks my heart, but I am sad to say that the Skylight that I know and love is just a memory after the events of the past five weeks and I fear the future of the company is bleak.

Bill Theisen


  1. Holy freakin' crap! I hear the sound of flushing. the 50th just went down the drain.

  2. As difficult as this is for all of us who have loved the Skylight for so long, I think this is sending an important and necessary message. So proud of Richard and Bill and all the artists who are taking a stand.

  3. Arvide AbernathyJuly 20, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    Dillner: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over, what the fuck are we supposed to now, huh, what are we gonna do?

    Hefty: Maybe we can build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh, how about we try that.

    an homage to Aliens (1986) with nods to Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser

  4. Well now, looks like Dilly's to do list just got a bit much to do!

  5. first of all, GREAT homage to "Aliens"! one of my all-time favorite lines from any movie.

    secondly, i salute Theisen. he is a man of honor.

    thirdly, i feel for the Skylight. i can sum up this entire debacle with two words - "fucked up".

  6. by the way, who were the cast members that were fired? is this separate from the 5 who were initially let go?

  7. I just realized that I hadn't looked at the back of the to-do list. There were a few more items on the other side.

    8) Reread those scripts of the one-man shows.
    9) Find conducting baton.
    10) Really work hard at finishing that PR book.
    11) Ask Suzanne if she know any directors.
    12) See if I can find a partner to play the front end of Herman the Horse. I've got the back end covered.

  8. 50th season sounds like it will be a one-person show, since directors and casts are being fired or quitting apace. I am still hoping that someone with authority, a cool head and a warm heart will prevail. Please.

  9. Dawna Ellis (Gregory)July 20, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    Bully for you, Bill!

  10. Tamara MartinsekJuly 20, 2009 at 7:38 PM

    Bravo Bill for reamining true to yourself, for always being amazingly professional and for staying above the fray while continuing to support what you feel is right- my respet has grown 100 fold - and it was pretty high to begin with!

  11. "I guess we won't be going home now." -Newt

    and I WAS going to go see Marriage of Figaro...

  12. season ticket holderJuly 20, 2009 at 8:40 PM

    Don't you think ticket holders, especially season ticket buyers, have a right to know that these are no longer the shows that they were originally sold? different director, different cast. At what point do they get to say, "we want our money back"?

  13. Season Ticket Holder, you can call the box office and ask for a refund. Several people I know have already done so, and they are giving them.

    In fact, several very long-time subscribers in my family have cancelled their subscriptions as a result of today's news.


  14. And today's answer from the Skylight is:

    Godfrey, when asked if Dillner had a plan to replace the missing elements on short notice ("Barber of Seville" is scheduled to open Sept. 18), said: "It's rough, but there are always people ready to pick it up and run with it. I guess the answer is, 'The show must go on.' "

  15. Dang, Jamie ...... that is just so sad. SO sad.

  16. "...but there are always people ready to pick it up and run with it."

    Not if there is a boycott.

    Artists should boycott this theatre in solidarity with those who have foregone their long-time careers. Nationwide.


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