Has NYTW changed its mind?

Here we go again…

Just when I thought it was safe to focus on the matter at hand here on ecoTheater, NYTW rears its not-so-pretty head again.

I don’t subscribe to ARTSearch — and I don’t hang around anywhere that does. But, I did receive word from someone in the industry who asked not to be named (and no, it wasn’t Michael Casselli) that NYTW has placed the following ad in the job search rag:

PRODUCTION AND FACILITIES MANAGER – New York, NY Job posted on May 16, 2008 NEW YORK THEATRE WORKSHOP seeks a full-time Production and Facilities Manager whose responsibilities include coordinating all production elements and staffing for season in 199-seat theatre, 65-seat theatre space, and rehearsal studio; maintaining all production budgets; hiring technical staff; overseeing building maintenance; and collaborating with other staff on capital project for new shop space. Must be able to communicate effectively with theatre artists. Strong background in stagecraft, sound, lighting (and all relevant computer software) preferable. Salary commensurate with experience.

What gives? Has New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) seen the error of their ways? What a shame to think that they had to can their entire production staff only to realize that they need one after all — even if they only hire back a full-time PM.

The whole affair makes ecoTheater all teary eyed, frankly, because when they booted Casselli they booted someone dedicated to sustainability (who also happens from all accounts I’ve had to be a kickass theater artist and tech).

7 Responses to “Has NYTW changed its mind?”

  1. May 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    More like “Has NYTW lost its mind?” That’s just crazy. If I were the PM that got canned, I’d be royally ticked off.

    My alma mater did something similar. That canceled a wildly successful drama camp for kids that the drama club had started as a fundraiser, only to turn around and run it on its own, keeping the money for itself. As a founding member of the drama camp, I was kind of pissed off. They said “Thanks, but no thanks” and then the next year decided to run it again, this time without asking the drama club for help. Rather, it required all scholarship recipients to help. Talk about underhanded.

  2. May 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    You’re right Brian (this is Brian, isn’t it?) — your header is better.

    And don’t worry, Michael Casselli will be upset (to put it diplomatically). I can’t help but wonder if there is something going on there that I don’t have the scoop on.

  3. May 17, 2008 at 8:39 am

    As the eternal optimist and as this is ArtSEARCH we’re talking about, I wonder if they are talking to Casselli at all (or if he is talking to them even). I know a lot of the executive positions on ArtSEARCH get searched as formalities. It’s true for the majority of academic positions they post. Usually they have someone in mind and and strategically post the job to comply with board requirements to widen the pool.

    Of course if this is recent, it means that it’s coming at the same time as a much of new MFAs are on the market.

    Could they be looking for someone to take the job with a significant compensation cut?

    I have a meeting with Heather at NYTW on monday. We’ve sort of beat around the bush about the shake up, acknowledging it, but not really going into it. More later.

  4. 4 Abby
    May 17, 2008 at 8:52 am

    All I can say is that this whole thing makes NYTW look bad, and many of my friends (some who have worked there with Michael Casselli and LOVE him) are less inclined to support the company. That’s a sad state of affairs, especially when they were not only doing outstanding work artistically, but also working to establish more eco-friendly practices. All of that gets overshadowed by their mistreatment of their staff. I hope they can find a way to correct this and stop messing up on the PR front.

  5. 5 LB
    May 18, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Seems to me that someone over there realized that even if you’re going to go the all-freelance/temp workforce route, you still need somebody who knows something to hire and supervise that workforce. And while I have no idea what Caselli and the rest of the staff were earning, I bet that this “Salary commensurate with experience” is a lot less than what they were being paid, and for even more work.

  6. June 5, 2008 at 11:11 am


    As far as I could tell, they were definitely NOT talking to Casselli, and when I shared the news with him his response was rather glib: “I guess they were just trying to get rid of me,” he said. But that seems unlikely too. They could have just fired him outright and replaced him. I think they knew he would not be okay with keeping him on board while eliminating his staff, and so thought it best to let them all go and find a PM that had no emotional reluctance to their ideas.

    But what do I know?


  7. 7 Ian
    June 6, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I went to the Fourth Arts Block ground breaking, the one where NYTW was officail groundbreaking hte new shop and spoke with someone from NYTW about the who situation. And later that same night went to a CalArts alum party where I spoke with Casselli a bit as well. I know I was sort of trying to think of the best of intentions, but it’s such a weird situation… some of which I don’t think is getting in the mix about the interim managing director not being in touch with the culture, with this new building manager position situated for someone who Caddelli trained. It’s sort of like someone got way to exuberant and put everyone else in a bad place. What makes it even stupider is after talking to Casselli, how much of the work to be done on preparing and completely the shop was going to be be done by him and his crew. Not that his should come as a surprise to anyone in theatre, but I think outside of theater circles one might not be considering how much of work on a renovation project like this would be done by the production staff itself. And to think that with the work being done in house being saved on general construction may have easily been equal to the money saved by firing production staff.

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