james valcq, composer of the spitfire grill and zombies from the beyond, has become the latest skylight artist to jump from the sinking skylight ship.
To the Skylight administration and board,
It is with deep regret that I write this letter of resignation. Although I recently signed a contract to serve as musical director of your upcoming production of “Plaid Tidings”, I signed it knowing that Bill Theisen would be the stage director. Since this is no longer the case, I must withdraw my services from the production. My apologies to the talented cast members I so looked forward to working with.
I must also decline my agreement to create with Leslie Fitzwater a Skylight Cabaret show, a verbal agreement we made with musician and well-known insubordinate Jamie Johns. Leslie and I were planning to celebrate our collective 75 - seventy-five! - years of Skylight experience in a loving tribute. I don't know how we can do that now.
Within the last 24 hours, treasured friends and colleagues have written to the Skylight clear-headed and clear-eyed letters of resignation. This one is different. This one is emotional. You see, my perspective is different from any of my countless Skylight family members. Others (Ellie Quint, for example) got there before I did. Others (Norman Moses, for one) arrived shortly after me, but have done more shows. As for me, I first appeared at the Skylight as a boy all of 7 years old. I've continued there as an adolescent, a young adult, and a middle-aged man. That sort of sounds like home, doesn't it? Perhaps one always views one's childhood home from a child's perspective. A safe place, a place where you learn. A place where you grow. A place you can trust. A place that expects, and gets, the best you have to offer. A place where you form life-long relationships that support and nurture.
The Skylight I've spent so much of my life in was exactly such a place. And also, a place of intense creativity. A unique place where music and theatre of all shapes and sizes thrived. A place where (if you'll pardon a pretentious-sounding word from an unpretentious man) art was made. By eliminating the artistic leadership of the organization, the Skylight has, in effect, eliminated its very reason for existence.
I grew up at the Skylight. I always thought in my heart that I'd grow old at the Skylight. Sadly, this is not to be. Especially sad that such appalling events are happening on the eve of the Skylight's 50th anniversary. I would like to celebrate 50 years of my home. Let's get some hall somewhere, and all of us who love the Skylight gather and share the old stories. Sing the old songs. Do the old Clair Richardson 'step-kick'. Remember what it was all for. What it was all about. Remember our home. It's not on Jefferson Street anymore. It's not on North Broadway anymore. Perhaps we'll find a new one. The old one will always be the center of my creativity, my soul, my life. The old one doesn't exist anymore.