I am remiss in releasing a statement. Regardless of what I say at this point, many people will still not be satisfied. A lot goes into running a theatre and there are a lot more people than just me, but I am the leader of this organization and must address the many rumors and concerns surrounding the production of Passion, as well as Musically Human Theatre (MHT) as an organization.
The following bullet points are for clarification, not justification:
- To address the concerns about refunds for purchased tickets and subscriptions, MHT is working with it’s ticketing company to provide all of our ticketholders and subscribers with refunds.
- I was not late to first rehearsal, but I was late to fourth rehearsal to which the Music Director picked me up and we were both late and I apologized to some of the actors individually, as opposed to addressing the entire group and I sincerely apologize for that. I also did not furnish the Stage Manager with a copy of keys to be able open up the building prior to that day so that actors wouldn’t have to wait outside.
- A missing piece of this story that also contributed to the results that we all have seen to which the actors and creative team never got a chance to hear of was that MHT also had to let go of its Managing Director who was not handling their administrative duties which led to much work not being done by this person that should have been done such as making sure all of our contractual obligations were being met. This individual was also dealing with personal health matters, which were revealed to the MHT Board of Directors much too late for many situations to be remedied in a timely manner by someone else in the interim.
- MHT was in fact granted licenses for professional productions of Passion and Next to Normal through Music Theatre International, as well as Cabaret through Tams-Witmark. They are not listed online on these companies websites as this was a consequence of our not me not making sure these agreements were promptly sent back for these productions. I should have made sure all of our contractual obligations were being met prior to moving forward with production and I take full responsibility and greatly apologize for this.
- There have been rumors about the Equity contract and bond for Passion. MHT has been in very close conversation with Equity throughout this entire ordeal. MHT has been using Equity actors since its first productions in 2011. Because the paperwork was not properly filed as it should’ve been for Passion, in addition to the production being now being cancelled, Equity has allowed us to file a contract for the Equity actor in the production and pay said actor for the time that the production was rehearsed, versus backtrack to get an Equity bond for a production that is no longer happening. MHT was also in talks with Equity to make sure all of the proper paperwork and bonds would be in place for future productions at least six (6) weeks before each production began rehearsals. Equity made it very clear that they wanted to see MHT succeed in Chicago and planned to work with the theatre to keep a clear line of communication each step of the way to ensure that MHT would be as prepared as possible so that something like this never happened again.
- To address the issue of the Non-AEA Actors, Music Director and the Stage Manager agreements and pay, many of them (although the Music director and Stage Manager did not turn an agreement in) signed agreements for Passion which has a section stating “either party may terminate this agreement upon two-weeks notice”, to which not one person did, therefore making the agreement null and void.
I have copies of all of these agreements (signed and unsigned), as well licensing agreements and can furnish them upon request.
There has been an egregious lack of communication and transparency with the actors and creative team of Passion that I as the leader of this organization take full responsibility and greatly apologize for, but MHT also tried to get the actors to come to the table, hear us out and explain everything that was going on, apologize for it and ask them if they would be willing to stay with the production, but many cast members refused to hear us out.
Coming into the Karger Center wasn’t as simple as turning the lights on and doing a show. There were plans to have a new lighting grid installed, new cushioned theatre seats, lighting equipment, repainting the lobby as well as taking rooms that were once used for storage and office space and creating a green room for actors and an actual dressing room for them as well. It was very ambitious of us to believe we could renovate our new home, while putting on a production at the same time and we apologize to our actors, designers, musicians and patrons for this unfortunate set of circumstances that have come out of all of this.
After much consideration, the MHT Board of Directors unanimously chose to cease operations and close the theatre company. October 29, 2016 was the final day of all board members and staff serving the organization.
I acknowledge how upsetting this is for people. There were many people who have taken part in this, but I own the blame for it.
At the end of the day, I am responsible. I can’t do everything, but I am the leader and I own what has happened and unequivocally apologize.
Musically Human Theatre