Skylight’s longevity, reputation and resources drew Unger to the job. “The fact that they’ve been around for 60 years means they’ve been doing something right,” says the Chicago native.
His primary focus in this role is to build on Skylight’s success. “My goal is to take what they have, keep that audience engaged and excite new audiences about coming to the theater.”
Unger will also oversee the nonprofit theater company’s educational programs, which includes more than 25 residences and partnerships with Milwaukee Public Schools that bring theater to students from elementary through high school.
“There’s a very robust education program here and I’m hoping – if we can find the bandwidth – to expand it,” adds Unger, 58. “Maybe we could go into more schools or add a few more activities at the theater where adults can come in and do workshops.”
Upcoming this season, Skylight will present shows like The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical comedy about quirky, awkward overachievers, and Evita, a musical about the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, as well as Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide about the absurdly unfortunate adventures of two young world travelers.
But after those shows close out the current season, the reins of creativity at Skylight will officially pass to Unger.
“We’ll announce the 2020-21 season [this month],” he says, not willing to share what shows he’s considering just yet. “So far, my intuition is leading me in a pretty good direction.”
Audiences will find out soon enough.