Below is a letter that Michael Casselli, production manager for NYTW (until the end of next month), sent to the staff of the theater in the wake of his recent firing, as well as the firing of his staff, and other employees of the theater. It contains some intriguing information about the way in which the firings were handled by NYTW and I think Casselli’s ire is worth being exposed to:
“It is sad that an institution like the Workshop has devolved in such a way. I am angry, sad and more than a little bitter at the treatment the whole of production has been put through. What is even more enraging is that none of the individuals responsible for making this decision were present at our termination – Artistic Director Jim Nicola, Managing Director Billy Russo and Heather Randall. These were the people who, according to their messengers, were responsible for this decision. All of us in production are bearing the brunt of an organization which lacks the ability to enforce any thing resembling fiscal constraint with respects to the work that occurs here, as well as an organization which cannot effectively self govern its own desires. It is disgraceful that an institution such as the Workshop, with its mission and its presence within a community which prides itself on inclusion and diversity, would act in such a way as to cut off those very people which sustain it. Any pretense of progressive agendas with respect to issues of politics or social/cultural/artistic concerns should be discarded right now. This action is a clear indication of the lack of concern for those people who give their all to this institution and it insults those who believed in the Workshop as an example of an organization that could function as something resembling a family. Obviously that family doesn’t include us. I will miss many of you but not all of you.”
“For an institution that imagines itself to be a leader in the Off-Broadway community and a model for a not-for-profit theater institution, to treat your employees with such disregard is shocking,” Casselli told me recently via email. “We were a family, an organization that prided itself on this very fact.”
Here at ecoTheater I have been reeling from the attention this piece of news has generated, and continue to encourage all of my readers who are bloggers and writers to keep this out there in the public eye. What went wrong at NYTW? How did they stumble upon such a bone-headed solution to their problems — and why did they end up with problems that would lead them to such drastic and unfair solutions?