Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TLT Updates

As mentioned previously, local institution Tacoma Little Theatre recently parted ways with their Artistic Director David Duvall after 17 months of ups and downs (mostly downs).

The latest news is that TLT has brought in Doug Kerr as an interim AD. Kerr spent a number of years as the head of the theatre department at Pierce Community College, and his wife is a former TLT board member. Recently retired, he now directs in the community.

I couldn't say if he is an interim in the sense of "we need someone to hold us together while we get our search for the real guy going," or in the sense of "let's see how this guy does before we put him under long-term contract." I don't even know if Kerr wants the job long-term. But he already sound like he has a few advantages over Duvall. Kerr is, as they say in baseball, a multi-tool player. He has experience (and from what little I've seen, some degree of skill) in directing, set design and technical theatre, and, obviously, the running of a theatre program. Duvall always gave off the impression of being a one trick pony: he was a music man, through and through. The shows I worked on with him as musical director, and ONLY musical director, tended to turn out great. As he moved into directing and then into running the whole show, things started to fall apart.

Also, it's been brought to my attention that the staffers that left have been replaced by new people, namely box office manager Nellie Hartmen and education director Casi Wilkerson. I'm not sure whether these new hires were made with Duvall still on board, or if they are part of the new overhaul.

It remains to be seen where all this will lead. They won't turn it all around in a season. TLT needs to rebuild its respect in the community, especially the volunteer community. Those were the people who made shows great, and those are the people who have been alienated the most by continuous staffing and operational changes.

Special thanks to Mysterious Anonymous Commentor Person for the info.


Anonymous said...

Nellie and Cassie came on board in their present positions during David's time. Nellie began working as part time box office staff under Judy Cullen, and Cassie has taught and directed children's classes at TLT for many years, as well as being one of Tacoma Little Theatre's best actors, both to watch, and to work with. My understanding was that Cassie was "interim" (a term that has been much used in recent TLT history), but she may have decided that Education Director is a good fit for her. TLT also seems to have a new office manager, according to their website, but I do not know this person or the circumstances surrounding her hiring.

I think of great concern at this point is that Tacoma Little Theatre does not seem to have a 2008-09 season picked yet. Or if they do, they're keeping it secret. And that is not going to sell too many season tickets. My understanding is that one cannot advertise a production until certain steps have been taken to obtain the rights to it, so that may explain part of the delay. They certainly do not want a repeat of the Pajama Game debacle! Doug Kerr has a big job to do right now, and I am sure he is doing the Frantic Scramble at times. Hopefully some of the long time friends of TLT will give him the benefit of the doubt and pitch in in the "interim" to help get things going. I plan to do that.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Same person who gave you the other info! First of all your welcome! Secondly I have more TLT updates.

It has been said that the 90th season is being reworked only keeping the shows the "Much To Do About Nothing" and "On Golden Pond". The new shows have yet to be announced. It has been rumored that the new "Reader's Theatre" series has been canceled. Also rumored that all second stage shows will remain as is.