Yes, life goes on in the arts world outside the fringe:
1. You may have heard about the upheaval at one of Milwaukee's premier arts institutions, Skylight Opera. In brief, the board let the longtime Artistic Director go in a cost-cutting move, though he agreed to direct a bunch of shows in the next season. Then, in response to some frustration expressed by Skylight Opera actors on their facebook pages, those actors were fired from upcoming shows by the current managing director. The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports today that, now, that managing director has resigned. The New York Times has a good rundown of the controversy.
I've been following it because I have an abiding interest in the way in which boards of directors interact with artists at longstanding institutions. We saw it play out in Minnesota at both the Southern Theater and, in part, at Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Anyone who reads MinnesotaPlaylist.com knows that I think non-artist boards sometimes confuse their institution with the art itself when, I believe, the artists are the art.
In a Fringe Festival connection, Jill Anna Ponasik, who stars in Nautilus Music Theatre's critically-acclaimed fringe show Alice Unwrapped, makes her home in Milwaukee and has worked at Skylight Opera.
2. Culture wars revisited. Artnews.net reports that the right-wing media is trying to stir up outrage again about National Endowment for the Arts funding.
You can get a primer on what that looks like from our recent interview with local dancer and impresario Patrick Scully.
Is it really deja vu all over again?
3. Local children's theater CLIMB Theatre will receive the 2009 Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award, "honoring artistic theatre practice of long duration and wide recognition" on Sunday, August 9. Playwright and Producer of their Excellence in Performance program, Buffy Sedlachek, is out in New York to accept the award.