Don’t Tread On Me

I must take strong objection to Lewis Lazare’s comments regarding my work as a stage director in the Culture Club article “LOW Blow” in the April 2 issue.

The quality of my work has been highly appreciated in the press over the years both in Chicago and around the country, and I have a thick folder of reviews to prove it. The audiences have continued to support Light Opera Works for nearly 20 years because of the spirited, colorful, well-choreographed, and artistically satisfying productions that have been the hallmark of my work at the company. In particular, the artists who have worked with me understand the kind of quality that has permeated LOW and kept a steady number of their ranks returning to work with us. The subscriber base at LOW has been amazingly consistent over the years due to the fact the audience enjoys the productions! My fund-raising abilities at the company were enhanced by the appreciation of our patrons for my work.

I doubt whether the board of directors was concerned about my stage direction in the decision not to renew my contract. My two most recent productions of The Duchess of Chicago and Ruddigore received rave reviews! I am one of only a handful of professionals in the United States who truly understand the genre of operetta as a whole. I think the board highly prized my ability to do outstanding, imaginative work on tight, low budgets–fractions less money spent by similar opera companies in Chicago and across the United States.

I think the perceived hobbling of my productions with the clumsiness Mr. Lazare referred to was more a function of production management and technical direction at the company, positions I had virtually no influence on hiring or controlling and whose personnel consistently changed.

Philip Kraus

W. Lunt