One of the good guys goes bye-bye

I always liked this guy.

This guy, for those of you who don't know, is Tim Shields, The Milwaukee Rep's Managing Director. But he keeps that title for only a few months as The Rep announced yesterday that Tim has been appointed Managing Director of McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ as of January 1, 2009.

That's a great opportunity for Tim. No doubt. But a bittersweet loss for our community.

I have some knowledge of the Managing Director lineage at Milwaukee Rep, so this is a big news issue for me. In the early 90's I had the great fortune of working as the assistant to legendary Sara O'Connor, the Managing Director of Milwaukee Rep for over twenty years. For a month or so, I also was Dan Fallon's assistant, the poor guy who had to come in after Sara and try and keep up with all that she brought to the job of Managing Director. I never got to work for Tim, but I sat in plenty of meetings with him over the years and I learned much about leadership and integrity.

From Tim I learned that it's good to fight for things to be better, even when you ruffle some feathers. I learned that honesty and candor are qualities that should be applauded. Tim is a guy who can be deadly serious one moment and then cracking a joke the next. He's a man of vision who helped his institution remain strong during some tricky times. And no, I'm not trying to get him to hire me at McCarter, I just think highly of the guy and think The Rep and the Milwaukee cultural community were lucky to have him.

So goodbye, Tim Shields. Eat wings at Chuck's in Princeton when the business of managing a mammoth theater gets to be too much, and all will be good.

Now, the question is: WHO WILL BE THE NEXT MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MILWAUKEE REP?

This is not an unimportant question at all in terms of the cultural life of Milwaukee and this region. The woman or man in charge of the administration of the biggest theater in our state will have influence on this community. I wonder what the future will bring.

And you? Any thoughts on the qualities you think are important in the new Managing Director of Milwaukee Rep? Or do you think they should just look good in a suit?