Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

quote of the day

"A bit of dithering might have been in order before we went into Iraq in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

For a representative of the Bush administration to accuse someone of taking too much time is missing the point. We have much more to fear in this town from hasty than from slow government action."

– conservative columnist george will
will was remarking on former vice president dick cheney's criticism that barack obama is "dithering" on a decision whether or not to send more u.s. troops to afghanistan.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

japanese cheesheads

when wisconsin is friends with japan.

katsunori kusakabe & tomoki takahashi of harmony japan, inc.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

so much for those angry town halls

remember those health care town halls over the summer? all those angry people shouting down senators and congressmen about a government take-over of our health care system?

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.

On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it.
more here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

a preview: the sky is not falling

rod weber is an actor, a singer, and an independent filmmaker and videographer. he's also the only person we called when we decided to document the sky is not falling, the skylight opera benefit in new york. by some strange stroke of good luck, rod was free, and he agreed to do it. he showed up on monday, october 5th at st. luke's theatre with three cameras and a crew of one.

here is a preview of the dvd you have to look forward to. it's a pretty astounding array of talent. everyone there to support their friends, to support art, and to support the skylight. all captured beautifully by rod.

i wish you could have been there too. something tells me, thanks to rod, you sort of can be.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

where in the world is rob hancock?

two things. first, this play. it started previewing tonight, at the rubicon theatre in ventura, california.

i've jumped up and down to certain friends about it. if i had the money, i'd invest in it. yesterday. it's beautiful, moving, simple. and i think it has an amazing future.

but more important than all of that, someone i love dearly is in it. he's part of this video...maybe you can pick him out. (he's not john caird, paul gordon, or megan mcginnis.) this is the first time i've seen him in almost a month, in this video. i'm leaving for japan on friday, he opens in this show on saturday, and i won't see him in the flesh again until the end of november. this is why we love, and hate, this business.

theisen is the old new skylight a.d.

bill theisen will return to the position of artistic director of milwaukee's skylight opera theatre.

from the skylight:

Milwaukee, WI (October 14, 2009) -- Joan Lounsbery, Interim Managing Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre, has announced the re-appointment of Bill Theisen as Artistic Director. The decision is part of a redistribution of responsibilities at the Skylight that will remain in place while the Skylight’s incoming Board leadership and Managing Director assess the viability of all artistic positions moving forward.

Theisen re-assumes the Artistic Director position effective today through June 30, 2011. Board and staff leadership are in the early stages of a strategic planning process which will include an assessment of the Skylight’s long-term artistic leadership.

Theisen will manage productions and planning as well as facilitate the artistic team’s transition. He plans to direct up to two shows next season, which will reflect a program planned collaboratively with Interim Artistic Director Colin Cabot.

With Cabot’s departure today as Interim Artistic Director, “we all feel a great sense of urgency in establishing a 2010-2011 season that is exciting, forward-thinking, and financially viable,” Lounsbery said. “Bill’s re-involvement enables the Skylight to move forward in quickly planning and preparing for 2010-2011, and provides a level of consistency in the Skylight product while we continue to develop a strategic plan for artistic leadership.”

Lounsbery added, “I am grateful to Colin Cabot for his artistic leadership during this time of transition at the Skylight.” Cabot has been part of an interim management team along with Lounsbery. Although Cabot will no longer be on staff, he will attend Skylight Night, the company’s annual gala, on October 24, and will also attend the November 11 Annual Meeting.

The Skylight’s new management team will be fully in place on November 16, when Amy Jensen assumes the job of Managing Director, an appointment announced earlier.

“I love the Skylight and I always have, so I’m thrilled to be helping the administration with this transition,” said Theisen. “Amy Jensen will be a terrific leader for the Skylight, and I want to help her and the company in any way I can.”

oh, the talent

your morning warmup.

zambello on skylight: "there is no other theatre company like it in the world."

francesca zambello, the internationally recognized director of opera and musical theater, and former artistic director of milwaukee's skylight opera theatre, speaks at the sky is not falling, the october 5th nyc benefit concert for the skylight. the concert grossed over $8500 in ticket sales and donations. a full-length dvd of the event is in the works, with a holiday release anticipated.
"The Skylight is unique. There is no other theatre company like it in the world.

People may come from all over the United States to work there, but there is also an amazing troupe of what are called local artists – which sometimes people go 'oh, local' – actually, that's the greatest thing about it. The fact that there is this tradition there of people who are performers: music theatre performers, opera singers, backstage workers, musicians, all in that community – which is not a great big city, remember. And they're all there and they make this family. That's why we all work in the theatre, right? Because there's that sense of family that we wanna be connected to. And that's what the Skylight has.

To lose that, and not hold firm to those principles, is something that is very, very sad.

So I really salute and applaud everyone who went to an incredible kind of internet campaign – led by people from Milwaukee – to say 'No, art is important. And local art is important.' Because without that, most of us who are here living in New York wouldn't have had these careers.

Nor would Milwaukee be the kind of city it is without an important institution like the Skylight."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

quote of the day

"There is an opportunity here. The tone has changed -- but obviously we recognize that, while the tone in the world has changed, the challenges remain. They are very significant. Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."
– assistant secretary pj crowley,
a spokesman for secretary of state hillary clinton
commenting on president barack obama winning the nobel peace prize today, crowley was referring to the incident last december when an iraqi journalist threw his shoes at then president george w. bush.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

what's in a name?

this won't be confusing at all.

the sky is not falling: the performers

just a few of the 20-plus performers who were part of the sky is not falling last monday night. it was an incredibly diverse group of singers and repertoire. just like the skylight itself. (photos by lesly weiner.)

kate mccann. a call from the vatican from "nine".

tari kelly. he loved me till the all clear came.

phyliss somerville. way back home from "spitfire grill".

malkia and nathaniel stampley. wheels of a dream from "ragtime".

francesca zambello. "if it weren't for the skylight, i wouldn't have the career i have today."

joel hatch and niffer clarke. daisy's confession from "adding machine: a musical".

lisa brescia. i'll be here from "ordinary days".

shuler hensley and tony clements. curly and will 17 years on.

branch woodman. a better emcee you could not ask for.

michael diliberto. clair is always there written by skylight alum brett ryback.

carol chickering burden & william burden. o happy we from "candide".

richard carsey. rock solid accompanist extraordinaire.

malkia stampley. last night i didn't get to sleep at all.

john kuether, branch woodman & nathaniel stampley. three little maids from "the mikado."

carol chickering burden signing posters to be auctioned off in milwaukee at skylight night, the skylight's annual fundraiser.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"is this going to be a yearly event?"

that seemed to be the question of the night.

the sky is not falling, the benefit for the skylight opera theatre at st. luke's theatre in new york city, was - if i do say so myself - a pretty stunning evening of entertainment. there was definitely an "old skylight" feel to the venue (st. luke's theatre seats less than 160 people, and there are posts! not blocking any sightlines, but along the side of the seating area) and to the performance.

skylight performers old and new took the stage and told the audience about this special little place in milwaukee. from wendy hill to tari kelly, john kuether to nate stampley, shuler hensley to lisa brescia, it was a beautiful mix of opera, musical theatre, gilbert & sullivan, and new music as well.

and the folks familiar with the skylight were incredibly moved by francesca zambello's impassioned plea to not only milwaukee and the skylight but to artists everywhere to remember that "art matters."

photos are on the way. and...without giving too much away, you might actually get to see the concert yourself, in the comfort of your own home. (wouldn't a sky is not falling dvd make a lovely christmas gift for your friends and family? stay in touch.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

the sky is not falling

it's the day of the show, y'all.

i hope you'll be there. and i do mean you. seriously. find a babysitter.

if you're already planning on coming, get your tickets here or at the box office. if you can't make it, (or if you come, have a great time and wanna kick in a few more bucks) donate here. all proceeds from ticket sales and additional donations go directly to the skylight opera theatre. all are tax deductible.

and fyi...just because this event happens tomorrow doesn't mean that the fun is over. watch closely over the next few weeks for a very special announcement.

tonight, from
New York City-based showfolk with a connection to Skylight Opera Theatre — the Milwaukee Equity troupe that had a highly publicized administrative shakeup over the summer — are putting on a benefit show for the organization devoted to operas and musicals. Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley, director Francesca Zambello and actor Malcolm Gets will appear.

Billed as The Sky Is Not Falling, the concert will be presented 8 PM Oct. 5 at St. Luke's Theatre at 308 W. 46th Street, off Eighth Avenue.

Appearing among 25 artists will be Tony Award nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz (Urban Cowboy), Kate Weatherhead and Lisa Brescia (both of Off-Broadway's Ordinary Days), John Kuether (The Phantom of the Opera), Beverly Ward (the tour of Show Boat), James Moye (Broadway's Urinetown and the new Ragtime), Hensley (Young Frankenstein, Oklahoma!); stage, television and film star Gets (The Story of My Life, Amour, "Caroline in the City"); opera and Broadway director (and former Skylight artistic director) Zambello (The Little Mermaid, Little House on the Prairie); The Lion King's Nathaniel Stampley; and Billy Elliot's Joel Hatch.

Expect an eclectic mix of music from the opera, operetta and musical theatre repertoire, matching Skylight's mission.

Friday, October 2, 2009

bennett in chicago: he'd fit right in

from huffington post:
Conservative commentator Bill Bennett certainly didn't endear himself to the residents of Chicago during a recent appearance on CNN's "The Situation Room." Asked for his thoughts about President Obama going to Copenhagen to personally lobby for Chicago as the sight of the 2016 Olympics, Bennett said that he was actually rooting for Rio, Brazil: "I'm actually for Rio. In Rio, it's beautiful women at the beach, and in Chicago, it's fat people eating."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

quote of the day

"Here's what the Republican Party has to do: We have to say that's crazy. So I'm here to tell you that those who think the president was born somewhere other than Hawaii are crazy. He's not a Muslim. He's a good man. And let's knock this crap off and talk about the real differences we have."
senator lindsey graham (R-SC)
about the "birthers," and the rhetoric on the far right