Dr. William Reber is not to blame for the recent "risque" performance and should not "take responsibility" (Landes P5) as an "Arts Leader" (See Update)
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Recently the cast of RENT at Arizona State University's Lyric Opera Theatre was asked to perform for a high-school music festival showcasing the many different ensembles ASU has to offer. The creative team behind RENT decided to perform the iconic table-dancing sequence: "La Vie Boheme", a song that truly captures the essence of the free-spirited artist. In recent coverage, the media has depicted this performance as "lewd" and "risqué." Many parents of attending students have even gone as far as to call the performance of these young, aspiring artists "pornographic." As backlash from the performance, Arizona State University's head of the Lyric Opera Theatre of 23 years, Dr. William Reber, has resigned. This extreme act is an outrage and an insult to artists everywhere. Live theatre in a contemporary musical theatre setting can (and should) be raw, thrilling, and edgy. An artists' job is to deliver truth to their art and push the boundaries, creating new works and destroying the rules that hinder their freedom of expression. As a result of this creative, soul-bearing, artistically enriching performance, a member of ASU staff who was not directly involved is punished. It is important that ASU's Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, ASU President Michael Crow, and Associate Dean of Music Heather Landes be made immediately aware that the artists and art-supporting citizens of Arizona, the United States of America, and the world will not stand for this decision. Our goal is to get as many signatures as possible by May 10th, so please sign and share this petition as much as you can. Dr. William Reber deserves his position reinstated in full and ASU should take steps to ensure that those not interested in experiencing live theatre be educated on the "risks" of being an audience member.
Evan Tyler Wilson
ASU Lyric Opera Theatre Alumni
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