re: Letter from Susan Egan...

JamieMcG
Broadway Star
joined:6/12/03
Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 11:10am
Subject: California Music Theatre - Scott Eckern

Dear Friends --

I thought you might be interested to know that Scott Eckern, Artsitic Director of California Music Theatre (Sacramento Music Circus) contributed $1000 in support of California's divisive Proposition 8, which eliminates (not just bans) the right for same-sex couples to marry and receive all of the emotional, economic, and social benefits that married couples often take for granted. Mr. Eckern's affiliation with CMT, as well as his title and the amount donated to legislate the lives of others, is public information that can be found at

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://antigayblacklist.com

Marc Shaiman, composer (most notably of "Hairspray", which was produced at CMT last year) has already contacted Sacramento's CMT and expressed his disgust with the idea that a theatrical organization, employing and making money from gay artists and audience members, harbors an executive who uses a portion of his income to publicly support hate legislation (my term). I believe Mr. Shaiman may have told them they would no longer be allowed to produce his work, and has contacted the creators of "Avenue Q" (to be produced in March of '09) to enlighten them.

I am deeply troubled by the news about Scott, as I have worked for and known him since 1993. I find his behavior hypocritical at best and, more likely, distressingly prejudiced. Many of you friends who, like myself, have worked for Scott might be floored to know this news. I think at this point I shall do my best to "out" him and any others like him. Folks who show (and make money) playing one game, but with an inner intolerance that denies everything our industry represents.

I have personally been in contact with Marc Shaiman to confirm all the information. In his words:

"Yes, it's all true! Of course, there is nothing much I can do since they've already done HAIRSPRAY, but the AVE Q guys (at least one of them) may do something, perhaps picket his own show! But, as I hope people realize, it is not really up to a writer to cancel a production that has already been licensed.

What I could do I did, which was to call Mr. Eckern directly and say what I had to say.

Reading this past week how people still actually think being gay is a choice (the only choice we make is not to lie about who we are) and that that one line from a beautiful book proves we are sinners (a book that also allows for the stoning of wives and of people who wear two different kinds of fabric at the same time), well, I am starting to feel that the only way to make people change is, I think, to now greet every person I meet and say "Hi, I'm Marc, God made me gay and I think that that He and I are both fabulous!" and leave the rest up to them."

Sacramento Music Circus holds a cherished place in my heart, primarily because of Leland Ball and the inspirational talents he would gather for his productions. I feel the spirit of Leland is lost under Scott's leadership. As a private citizen I choose not to support California Music Theatre while it operates under Mr. Eckern's tenure.

I support Marc Shaiman in his boycott of CMT, and hope others will follow -- as ticket-buyers, writers, musical directors, crew, designers and performers and more.

I feel compelled to write because I have heard from so many beloved friends the last few days. People who are in every way caring and generous citizens. Friends who are for the most part very quiet on the political front, who have had to awaken because of last Tuesday, due to their shock that their lifestyles are not "accepted" by so-called friends!! The irony of electing Obama and Prop 8 passing astounds me.

I am not ordinarily a political fighter, but I do believe in information for all, and let them decide. And more than anything I believe in "holding the space" for what is right.

In support of my gay and lesbian friends I find it a travesty that the entire arts community is not standing in solidarity for equal rights. Shame on Scott.

That our industry should be the first to raise money and awareness for AIDS to the result of awakening a country and world to the issue ... well then, marriage (and every other sort of) equality is a no-brainer ... and a duty and obligation.

I hope with this email to find others to "hold the space" with me .... full equality in marriage rights. If you should feel compelled to pass the information about Scott Eckern on to others .... by all means do.

Hoping for change .... still,

Susan Egan
"There is nothing scary about life, if you are not attached to the results." - Conversations With God
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 11:15am
nycdncr posted this yesterday in the thread on the Off Topic Board, where there's a very spirited discussion going on.

Artistic Director of California Musical Theatre
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Updated On: 11/10/08 at 11:15 AM
WickedRedX
Understudy
joined:12/16/07
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 11:19am
I love that woman.
jessemurphyman
Chorus Member
joined:1/6/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 11:28am
Bravo Susan! Not every actor would have such integrity to stand up for other's rights if it meant possibly losing future jobs. I hope more actors will follow suit.
Insider2
Featured Actor
joined:9/21/05
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 11:32am
What a pig that man is. And just to name a few, this theatre's website lists THE COLOR PURPLE, with lesbian themes, THE LION KING, with an out gay composer, and AVENUE Q with at least an out-gay book writer and other gay elements.

So, they can make money off of gay people, but we just can't marry. Scott Eckern should go work in a barn.
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 02:09pm
Susan Egan is my new hero.

As for the issue of donating (I mean, it is his money after all...as douchey as it is), couldn't he just have donated several times in cash in increments of $5, if he wanted to keep it on the down low?
"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 02:18pm
It should also be noted that (according to his bio) Mr. Eckern is president of the League of Sacramento Theatres and sits on the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. He is also an adjunct professor of theatre at Sacramento State University and American River College.
BrianS
Broadway Star
joined:10/8/07
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 03:09pm
If you donate that much money, you must legally disclose it and it is public record. Your donations are aggregate so smaller donations won't hide the total amount.

Scott is a nice man, but his actions on this issue are reprehensible. He has every right to donate his money however he sees fit, but this is a free market and patrons have every right to choose to not give money to CMT in return. For those of us who see this as a civil rights issue, it is absolutely no different from the head of an organization donating money to a "separate but equal" bill for African Americans and then those of us who believe in equality for all boycotting said organization by not spending our money there.

CMT is a great theater with an amazing staff that puts on some great shows so it sucks if they are all affected by this, but I really hope people rally to fight for equality after the shameful results in multiple states.

Vote with your ballot and vote with your wallet.
If the audience could do better, they'd be up here on stage and I'd be out there watching them. - Ethel Merman
Insider2
Featured Actor
joined:9/21/05
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 03:32pm
Morosco - NAMT's website lists this as their board of directors. I don't see Eckern's name there, unless I am missing something. Maybe they bumped him? In which case, bravo for NAMT!

NAMT Board of Directors
Dennis M. Reagan, The MUNY (MO), President
Nick Manos, Theater of the Stars (GA), Vice President
Marilynn Sheldon, The 5th Avenue Theatre (WA), Vice President
Kevin Moore, The Human Race Theatre Company (OH), Secretary
Louis G. Spisto, The Old Globe (CA), Treasurer
Brett Bernardini, The Spirit of Broadway Theater (CT)
John C. Breckenridge, Theatre Under The Stars(TX)
Sean Cercone, Carousel Dinner Theatre (OH)
Kathy Evans, National Alliance For Musical Theatre (NY)
Harriett Guin-Kittner, Goodspeed Musicals (CT)
Robb Hunt, Village Theatre (WA)
Lester Malizia, Seaside Music Theater (FL)
Sharon Maroney, The Broadway Rose Theatre (OR)
Kent Nicholson, TheatreWorks (CA)
Thomas M. Scallen, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (MN)
Mark D. Sylvester, Walnut Street Theatre (PA)
Daniella Topol, The Lark Play Development Center (NY)
Kumiko Yoshii, Gorgeous Entertainment (NY)
Marsha S. Brooks, Brooks & Distler, Legal Counsel
morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 03:57pm
Here's a link to his bio on the California Music Theatre website. (Insider2...I'm not challenging your post. It will be interesting to keep an eye on his CMT bio.)
http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com/index.cfm?page=474824
heyiam
Understudy
joined:11/20/04
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 03:59pm
He was on the board and hit a term limit. This is very common.

Liza + Jesus = Patti
Stand-by
joined:11/2/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:02pm
cry about it.
jrb_actor
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:04pm
It just baffles my mind. You know gay people. You know them as human beings. You work with them. And yet you send $1000 to help make them second class citizens.

Sad.
Liza + Jesus = Patti
Stand-by
joined:11/2/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:09pm
people have done worse.

you can thank the state of California for the proposition 8 mistake... not this dude.

I don't care either way. I'm all for Gay rights (I'm a homosexual myself) but sometimes you people get your panties in a tight twist over nothing really.

it's $1,000. not like $100,00.
jrb_actor
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:13pm
"you people"?

I don't care if it was a DOLLAR.

So, it would be ok to make a donation to the KKK as long as it's only $1000 and not "$100,00".

(Why AM I engaging the stupid sock puppet?)
BroomstickBoy
Broadway Legend
joined:11/21/04
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:35pm
Because, Jrb, it never hurts to sprikle a lil Febreeze on a stank sock :)
I don't WANT to live in what they call "a certain way." In the first place I'd be no good at it and besides that I don't want to be identified with any one class of people. I want to live every whichway, among all kinds---and know them---and understand them---and love them---THAT's what I want! - Philip Barry (Holiday)
Liza + Jesus = Patti
Stand-by
joined:11/2/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:42pm
that comparison is irrational.

the KKK was responsible (and still is) for thousands upon thousands murders.

who's getting killed in this whole debacle? and please, remember, that I AM homosexual and support gay marriage.

I just think the overreacting is absurd.
starlyricist
Broadway Star
joined:5/15/03
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 04:52pm
"Overreacting"? You are gay and supposedly support gay marriage, but those of us that are upset that our rights are slowly being taken away are "overreacting"?

We are in THEATER! While this man may have donated personal funds to Prop. 8, where has he made this money? Partly off of the fabulous gay men and women that work for his theater and pay the tuition to attend his class(es).

Maybe I am overreacting. But I'm also pissed. And it is the lax attitude of people like you that put this cause back when we should be moving forward.

/end rant.
There are some people in the world who say that writing stories, or composing music or dancing sparkly dances is easy for them. Nothing interferes with their ability to create. While I celebrate their creative freedom, a little part of me just wants to punch those motherf*ckers in the teeth...[tos]
BrianS
Broadway Star
joined:10/8/07
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:05pm
Perhaps his comparison to the KKK is unfair, but I do believe my comparison to supporting "separate, but equal" facilities is dead on. There were policies in place that regulated blacks to second class citizens. Those policies are now gone.

This is a civil rights issue.
If the audience could do better, they'd be up here on stage and I'd be out there watching them. - Ethel Merman
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:19pm
I can understand the outrage over illegalizing gay marriage and I am for it being legal, myself, but not everyone agrees that marriage is a civil right.

Anyway, he has the right to believe what he wants, and people have the right to boycott his product for said beliefs.
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
Updated On: 11/10/08 at 05:19 PM
dlass727
Understudy
joined:4/19/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:26pm
It's not the amount of money that Mr. Eckern donated. It's the sentiment attached to it that hurts. I am an avid theatre-goer and would hate to find out that my hard earned money was going to support someone's homophobic agenda. As a lesbian with no desire to get married, I would like to have the option to change my mind in the future if the right woman comes along. If you are gay and think the actions of people like Mr. Eckern are no big deal, then you don't support gay marriage! IMO!
Upcoming shows:
Liza + Jesus = Patti
Stand-by
joined:11/2/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:35pm
"homophobic agenda."

do you know how many gay AND straight liberals (democrats, left-wingers... whatever) vote against Gay Marriage because it opens a terrible can of worms? a can of worms that will have the country questioning the entire Constitution, the Bible, and the Government?

for many, it has nothign to do with gay marriage.

Why do we always assume it's them being "homophobic" ?? I don't get it.
scaryclowns223
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/08
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:40pm
Okay people, take action:

This is the "contact us" section of California Music Theatre- write in how you feel, and recommend that they fire him. If nothing else, it will give this guy an idea of how unpopular he is with the message board demographic.

http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com/index.cfm?page=445683
FlyingMonkey1223
Broadway Star
joined:5/1/06
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:48pm
As for opening a "terrible can of worms"...I don't think so. Not that many liberals voted FOR prop8, and those gays who voted for Prop 8 have more issues then we can get into on this board without one of us being a trained psychologist. Was letting women vote a terrible can of worms? Blacks being freed from slavery and eventually allowed to attend the same schools, eating at the same places, and ride anywhere on the bus they wanted to with all the other races didn't open any can of worms we couldn't handle. Nor did the legalization of interracial marriages, so to yap about how gay marriages opens a can of worms is just uneducated and truly sad.

It's not really them being homophobic, IMO, it's them just being bigots. And since when shouldn't we question things like The Bible? We question everything else, question scientologists, muslims and all thats in between so why not be fair and turn an eye to The Bible and why people are using it to take away US citizen's rights?

As taxpayers I do believe it is our right to question the constitution, and the government, and religions influencing the government. To think otherwise is just scary.


"FlyingMonkey1223 is a sad, chubby guy who appears to be desperate for attention any way he can get it. Every once in a while I feel bad that he thinks he has to resort to racism, homophobia, and sociopathy to get people to notice him, but then I remember that he's just a bad, bad person." - scott68
Updated On: 11/10/08 at 05:48 PM
Hank
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 05:50pm
I see in his bio that Mr. Eckern has a masters degree from Brigham Young University. That explains much. The Mormon church members contributed millions to the defeat of prop 8.
DrTheatre
Broadway Star
joined:9/23/05
re: Letter from Susan Egan...
Posted: 11/10/08 at 06:09pm
Why should they fire him...should we now fire every person that works in the arts that said YES to 8?...this is way out of control...poor guy, he just stood up for what HE believed in, even if he works with those who think differently. Producing shows should have nothing to do with who you marry or not. All he cares about as that the show is produced and it makes money...that's his job, period!!!
"In the U.S.A. You can have your say, You can set you goals And seize the day, You've been given the freedom To work your way To the head of the line- To the head of the line!" ---Stephen Sondheim

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