When Broadway Global named The Wick Theatre one of the top regional theatres in America, they were saving a venue that had taken almost 30 years to build, they had moved their one of a kind Broadway Costume Collection to a museum that showcased Julie Andrews’ costumes and many Broadway originals. Today we are sad to announce The Wick Theatre still needs a credited Artistic Director to make brand decisions before they loose respect from the entire arts community.
Mariynn Wick is also owner of Costume World, known for costuming Broadway style shows around the Nation. Those who follow Marilynn Wick on Facebook may want to take notes and send her a strong message from the respected theatre community. When her chosen Artistic Director left before the Wick Theatre even opened its doors we should have taken notice, but after countless employees from set builders, chefs, actors and musicians have been treated with “lack of regard” it’s time to send this savvy business women a strong message. “Show Business is handled with respect for the art form first, leaving the drama for the stage!” Broadway Global.
“I have just been involved in the latest mistreatment of musicians at the hand of Marilyn Wick- as she pulled the plug on the live orchestra (Hello Dolly) just 11 days before rehearsals were to begin. While I may not like the idea of being replaced by tracks, I certainly understand that this is the nature of our business. What I do expect from any employer/producer or artist, is to be treated with the respect that they would in turn expect.
I was told just a few weeks back, to “hold on” – that the show might go to track and that they were in meetings to decide. After a couple of weeks I was given the go ahead by Musical Director Michael Ursua – that the show was on and that contracts would be in the mail shortly. I then proceeded to retain sub musicians for the job, I would be leaving early and had a handful of jobs that I would not be able to cover due to the Hello Dolly run. I did all that was expected of me so that I would be clear and available for the started rehearsal schedule and run of the show. We were asked to pick up our books at the theater and still no contract in sight.
I cannot believe that this change back to track was not in the air as a possibility- and that Marilyn did not know what her budgetary constraints were. The fact that all the musicians were treated with such a lack of regard for the fact that this is the way we make our living, and pay our bills is what is the most offensive to me. I know that at least one other player lost $1000. due to canceling jobs, let alone the loss of almost 5 weeks of employment.
The Wick should simply decide that they are indeed a theater that uses tracks exclusively and not pretend otherwise. This certainly makes me appreciate the integrity that has been shown by my present place of employment – Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theater– as well as a handful of theaters that treat musicians as the professionals that we are. Thanks in advance for any work you are doing to report the truth. ….” Julie Jacobs (freelance musician/drummer).
To her credit, Marilynn Wick is a strong business woman with the purse strings to support the brand she has created. Her remarkable eye for detail is evident the moment you walk into The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum. During the Inaugural Season, her efforts took the South Florida Theatre Community by storm. Critical acclaim, two Carbonell Awards, a subscription base that grew by 1,000 by the end of the season. Lets not forget the very generous donation from Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle who’s husband Count de Hoernle still stands on the face of the theatre. Combined all of these elements are a dream come true for a first time theatre owner.
Now in season three things are changing. The countless rumors of local artists, employees, creative teams and musicians complain of being treated unfairly, some terminated. These rumors should be of serious concern to our South Florida Theatre Community. The complaints written to Florida Theatre Chat for 16, 000 arts lovers to share are disturbing. Our local musicians for the second time have been let go after giving up work to commit to the Wick Theatre. If musicians were to leave her musical 11 days before rehearsals Mariynn Wick might see her choice a bit more disturbing.
Of course there are always two sides to every story and it would be unfair not to hear from Marilynn. In her email below she says “there is no place for musicians except on the stage.” If that is the truth, then using the “size of the set” as the excuse to let the musicians go eleven days before rehearsals begin is inexcusable. Really? Try again! A theatre set should suggest the style and tone of the whole production, create mood and atmosphere, give clues as to the specific time and place of the action and offer creative possibilities for the movement and grouping of the actors and musicians. The set design and its’ function for any play or musical including the size and restraints are discussed weeks and sometimes months before the production opens. Simply choose another set to include the artists that you have verbally agreed to employ. This is not the first time The Wick Theatre has left musicians going down like the Titanic.
Marilynn states “No contracts were signed for Hello Dolly, therefore non were broken”, technically she is right, ethically she is not! If you “never intended to hurt anyone”, then stop! You are stepping on your own success at the expense of the community that wants you to succeed. Broadway Global and Theatre Chat ask Marilynn, what can we do as a community to help? Your solution is not working.
International choreographer Ron Hutchins states, “As artists we must embrace our values and be aware that some producers may not have the same values as our own. Be okay with that fact and work in places where you feel the joy of the work.
Multi award winning Music Director Eric Alsford says its best, “How ironic and sad that a producer of musical theatre views musicians as expendable!”
We share the entire email statement from Marilynn Wick: “Dear Richard, Thank you so much for telling me how inept I am and not letting me get a word in. The decisions were made by our overall staff and of course the final decision was mine. It seemed prudent. The show ends Dec. 6 which is not the holiday. The Wick Theatre currently does not have a space for an orchestra except onstage. When the time comes when we are more established- as we are just beginning our third season, maybe we will have finances to have an artistic director who will be able to stop me. I hope that you will approve the decisions they will make. We are going into our 15th production, we feel in general that we have made overall pretty good decisions. As you know Rome was not built in a day. To think that we have come this far in this short of time. Most theatres take 7 years to get the kinks out. Many theatres by this point are closing. No contracts had been signed for any musicians for Hello Dolly therefore no contracts were broken. It is obvious how you feel about The Wick Theatre. This is not the first time you have criticized the way we run the theatre and it probably will not be the last. This is a free country and you can write what you want. I am so sorry that you disagree with the decisions we have made. We never intended to hurt anyone.” Marilynn A. Wick Founder & CEO COSTUME WORLD, INC. and Executive Producer THE WICK THEATRE & COSTUME MUSEUM.
As stated at the beginning of this article, Broadway Global chose The Wick Theatre, one of the top theatres in America. Yes you are right “It is obvious how Broadway Global feels about The Wick Theatre “We want theatre to thrive globally, but not at the expense of production teams, directors, choreographers, actors, staff or musicians. Marilynn Wick you have been in “show business” selling costumes for almost 30 years. It’s time to keep the Show in the Business, do what is right, even when you think your arts community is not watching! Well, Hello Dolly! I feel the room swayin’, while the bands “not” playing!