Jon Anne Willow

Dillner in, Hefty out, Cabot snubbed

By - Jul 24th, 2009 08:03 am

broadwaytheatrecenterIn a baffling emergency session Thursday evening, the Skylight board elected, in a close vote, to retain current management, namely Eric Dillner.  Colin Cabot, who sits on the Skylight’s board of advocates, had offered to serve as interim Managing Director in calling for Dillner’s release, but was turned down. Tuesdays blog has more on his reaction, which, suffice it to say, was one of bafflement. Tom Strini’s blog also provides some interesting tidbits. In the meantime, Suzanne Hefty, who was planning to vacate the board presidency in September anyway, stepped down early.

This morning, though, Cabot and Dillner will stand side by side in Catalano Square to face their critics. They will take questions, but request that a mood of professional decorum is maintained. Good luck with that. We’ll have more on the melee as it becomes available and will live tweet at

And last evening, TCD Arts Editor Brian Jacobson posted an excellent, primer and recap of the Skylight saga here.

Here’s the press release we received moments ago, a recap of last night’s meeting, in its entirety:

Skylight Opera Theatre Board of Directors Elects New Board President

Milwaukee, WI (July 24, 2009) – The past few weeks have been heart-wrenching for all of those close to Skylight Opera Theatre.  At last night’s Board of Directors meeting, Board members shared their love for the Skylight, reiterated unanimously their commitment to the artistry and mission of the theatre, discussed their sorrow at the turmoil of the past few weeks and spoke to their commitment to building the Skylight’s future.

During the four-hour session, all Board members provided their viewpoints to the solemn and thoughtful discussion about how to move forward, acknowledging communication missteps that contributed to today’s situation.   Members considered ramifications, short and long term, to each alternative.  All agreed that critical to any decision was immediate action to try to heal the relationships within the community.  Everyone wants the same thing:  a healthy, vibrant organization that brings joy, laughter, innovation and beauty through its performances and education programs.

The Board voted to retain current Skylight management.   At the conclusion of the meeting, Board President Suzanne Hefty submitted her resignation, which the Board regretfully accepted.  “As I announced to the Board at our July 8th meeting, I was planning to step down as president at the Annual Meeting scheduled for September 9th.  I am now convinced that stepping down earlier will help provide continuity for the coming year,” Suzanne said.

The Board elected Terry Kurtenbach as their interim President to serve only until a President is selected in September.  “It is our fervent hope that we can begin to communicate the sense of the Board’s passion and commitment to the artistry of the organization and begin to address concerns of the artist community,” Terry said.

As part of this increased communication effort to the artist community, Board member Tessa Bartels was elected Vice President of Artist Relations.

A nominating committee is being formed to create the slate for the next President and a new executive committee.  The Board is very focused on the future of the organization, its financial viability and the relentless pursuit of the artistry that has led to the Skylight’s reputation in the community.

Categories: Theater

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