Wednesday, September 2, 2009

skylight open house draws huge crowds

by all accounts, the skylight opera theatre's open house and concert in the park was an unbridled success. proceeds from the event are estimated to be in the range of $10,000.

this from
ray jivoff:
"At 4:00 in the afternoon, [interim Artistic Director] Colin Cabot was up on a ladder outside the building cleaning the marquee. Cleaning the marquee!

The open house was not at all what I expected... tons and tons of people coming for the open house. 30 people at a time standing around [technical director] Rob Wagner in the scene shop, people in the props and costume shops... people everywhere.

The bar was packed, there was entertainment up there before the concert. There were over 500 people at the concert in the park, and then there were over 300 in the theatre afterwords to watch Norman Moses get sawed in half.

It was an amazing night."
late this afternoon i spoke with interim managing director joan lounsbury, who was basically gushing:
"Last night's event was positively brilliant in its execution, and it has the whole Milwaukee arts community talking about the power and the magic of The Skylight.

The depth of talent, both on and off the stage, the artist's and staff's ability to pull this off in the midst of building a show which opens in a few weeks, and the care taken to see that everything happened in the classiest and most 'Skylight-y' way possible, inspired and thrilled me.

I am in deep awe.

The press was there and stayed for the whole thing, right through the Cabot Theatre piece. Damien Jaques from, Tom Strini from, and David Schuyler from The Business Journal.

Christine [McGee], Sara Marie [von Hemert-Dachelet] and Heidi [Boyd] have just spent the whole morning counting cash. The sixth floor conference room looks like the back room in a casino.

I am so proud to be a part of this organization right now. There was a staggering amount of contributed talent, and hats off to THE SKYLIGHT STAFF, the best staff in the arts universe, in my view.
third coast digest's tom strini was there too, and counted over 800 in the park.

strini's assessment of the evening, however, swings from certain singers who "were not so good" (a bold statement to make about a benefit concert, especially considering the fact that we've all now heard strini himself warble a youtube tune) to suggesting eric dillner's notion that the skylight can afford to brush aside locals like leslie fitzwater, kathy pyeatt and diane lane is ridiculous, to ending with a note of anxiety about needing someone new to run the skylight "and soon."

here is lighting designer jason fassl's time-lapse of the set-up for the concert in catalano square:


  1. Hello! I was at the open house/concert last night, and it was a thrilling evening! I especially loved hearing Leslie Fitzwater sing a haunting version of "La Vie En Rose," and Linda Stephens was brilliant doing "Too Many Mornings." It was also nice to see Peggy Peterson Ryan again! I gladly put my contribution in Mr. Cabot's hat. If there is another benefit, I will be there with money in hand. Maybe The Skylight should organize a "By Request" concert, where patrons/donors would send in song titles with a donation for every request. Judging by what I heard in the crowd, Alicia Berneche could raise several thousand dollars by reprising all the songs she sang in past Skylight productions! I'm glad I ended the summer by seeing and hearing such a positive event from The Skylight. Keep up the good work!

  2. One word: WHEEEEEEEE!!!

  3. It was one incredible night of fantastic entertainment, connecting and reconnecting with theatre 'family' and loving seeing all the faces with huge smiles on them! Sure hope you felt the fact that you were totally there 'in spirit' with all of us!

  4. It was wonderful, and heartstopping. Greetings from a tour guide.

  5. Joanie Welsh DuesslerSeptember 2, 2009 at 8:18 PM

    Yay to all the lovely Skylight people who shared their time and talent in creating (what I hear was) a magical evening. I surely wish I had been there!

  6. I sat behind some a$$hole in the Cabot Theater who sat with his arms folded and a really pissed-off look on his face during Bill's standing ovation. I turned to my husband and said, "Who's that a$$hole?" I have no idea why someone was there who was so NOT in the spirit of the evening!! I was tempted to give him a spelling test to see if he was the board member who wrote that nasty email...


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