CD Wrap-Up
from Randy Bowser

Dear Pentacle Board members,

I sincerely thank you for the time and consideration you gave to the CD project.

Thanks are due especially to Dave who put in a prolonged and special effort.

I would hope it's not too hard to understand how I have had a difficult time trying to explain to concerned Metro cast members and to inquiring patrons what exactly went wrong with the project.

With the information available to me, mostly through Dave's emails, I made numerous attempts to untangle it all, to process things the best I could, and pass on my understanding of the situation to those people asking questions.

It's unfortunate that anything I have said or published has been construed as "attacks" on the Board. I made honest attempts to pass on everything I was aware of concerning the CD.

And I have done so very openly because I believe there is nothing that should be secretive regarding the project, or any other Pentacle matter.

I'm aware that my information has probably been limited, but that certainly isn't due to a lack of trying to find out everything I could.

Though I'm not aware of anything specifically "offensive" that I've publicly stated, I of course know that my passionate feelings about the situation have at times been over-stated. I'm sure nobody on the Board wants to say I don't have the human right to not always be cool-headed.

With the facts I have been given, I have maintained a policy of having everything concerning the CD project be kept public.

If passing on what I have been told is an embarrassment to anyone, I'm afraid I can't help it if the Board's CD discussions included things that Board members would have preferred the general membership and public to not have been privy to.

If I have misunderstood or reached incorrect conclusions about the Board's dealings about the CD, I would point out that I did the best I could with the information given to me.

The dangers of the Board lacking candor in their communications may indeed be one of the big lessons to learn here. Wrong conclusions are very possible when all facts aren't shared.

Under the circumstances, I'm afraid it looks as if excuses to not release the CD have been frantically grabbed at for months, and one has to ask--why?

Now, in the black and white of Dave's email, it's announced that in reaction to the perceived "garbage" written by me about the board, a large group of volunteers and the Salem public are being let down--apparently to punish one person, me.

Let me help show you how this final decision to go back on your earlier promise of releasing the CD leaves me feeling that you were guided by personal reactions to me.

One example is when I asked the Metro cast to help persuade William to sign the necessary artist waiver. He decided to feel "harassed" and complained to you.

I was told that I lost Board support for the project directly because of this--that this "harassed" volunteer's feelings (threats?) were of over-riding concern, more important than the entire project and the feelings and expectations of the large group of Metro volunteers.

I was told that because this snafu angered the Board, the reaction was to cancel "my" project.

The illogic of this reaction to that situation seems to me to clearly indicate that the CD became symbolic of me, which isn't at all fair.

I believe the correct perspective of the CD being a unique and positive project for the theatre became totally lost, as seen in this William situation, but also as seen in most of what was reported to me concerning the on-going hassles over the project.

You all are surely aware of how popular Randy-bashing has become. But you may be aware of the very direct slams and character-bashing I had to see posted on my own website, regarding the CD.

I invite you to please read the comments left on a bulletin board I had up for a time on the Metropolis site. Some of the comments may be very familiar to some of you.

I trust that you will see these are hysterical and over-the-top messages, as compared to anything I ever published about the Board.

The bulletin board was meant to be something for the Board to see, showing that even though most of the Metro cast was not wanting to "rock the boat" and be perceived as in "conflict" with the Board, that there were cast members very upset by the turn of events, and who wanted to help promote and sell their cast album.

On that bulletin board, both cast members and patrons pledged to buy CDs, and some left comments.

For the duration of the bulletin board, I let the negative comments remain though I could have deleted them, feeling their outrageousness spoke for themselves, being illustrative of how skewed some people's view on the CD had become.

In this letter I have edited the posts down to get rid of redundancy, but haven't removed any pertinent remarks. Editorial comments from me are in parenthesis.

In closing the letter portion of this message, I reiterate that I am thanking you for the long, often unpleasant trip you've been on with this issue.

While I feel that pent up resentments held sway over honest concerns for "the good of the theatre" when you were dealing with this project, I make that observation as objectively as possible, and hold no ill-will towards any of you.

Sincerely,
Randy Bowser

P.S.

PLEASE NOTE: If by some miracle Joe Brooks allows the CD to be sold outside of the theatre, as Dave suggests, the profits will still be given to Pentacle's Capital Campaign.

The sole purpose of the project has always been to be good publicity for Pentacle and a fund-raiser for the theatre, and it would remain that.

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METRO CD POLL COMMENTS

"This play was awesome! I have been waiting for months for this CD... Please proceed with making this album! Mandy Rebel" (patron who wrote the glowing letter-to-the-editor about Metro on Christmas Day of 2002--RB)


"I saw the show at Pentacle several times and found it thrilling. A peak experience in live theatre. I have been waiting impatiently for the opportunity to own this CD!" (obviously another patron--RB)


"Release the CD. Let the community relive this rare experience."


"What's the deal? Pentacle said this was coming out ages ago!"


"It's sad that after all the work that went into this it has been delayed for so long."


"There have been at least 30 people who told me they'd snatch up a CD in a flash."


"Simon Bennett here showing support for all the hard work done by Randy and the cast and crew of Metropolis..This would only be the second ever official cast recording of Metropolis..Board of Directors - don`t be blinkered on this!"
(Simon brain-stormed with me on the show via email from England--RB)


"I am ready to buy at least three copies and to give two as gifts. Please release it soon!!"


"I am completely against the making of this CD. Although the cast and crew were brilliant, the director is egotistical, and narcisitic...
(SIC) I think releasing this CD under the name of the Pentalce (SIC) theatre tarnishes the image Pentalce (SIC) has worked to build for the past 50 years. As a member of Pentalce (SIC) theatre - i feel the director of this project is an embarrassment to our theatre."(need I comment on this?--RB)


(following is my first post on the board)


"Note from the editor, Randy Bowser: PLEASE READ LAST comment...This is the kind of personal attack which has previously only been stated in private as the "reason" for cancelling the project."


"Dear disgruntled...I lose more faith and interest in the PENTACLE theater and its future productions every day...Those of us that worked HUNDREDS of hours for FREE on the original show and subsequent CD have been committed to community and a desire to share our unique experience (that we ALL created) with the Salem community...

Don't make the METROPOLIS experience and the theater's image and future suffer becuase of your own fear and jealousy. Release the CD."(from one of the most hard working Metro volunteers--RB)


"I applaud the individual who was brave enough to voice an opposing opinion in this "pro-CD/pro Randy Bowser" propaganda BS...If this project has been stalled...it is due to Mr. Bowser himself. Why isnt he persuing financing from other sources if he wants the CD completed so badly?"


"Note from web-master Randy Bowser: PLEASE ALL READ LAST COMMENT...This new message is very ill informed. I DO HAVE OUTSIDE BACK FOR THE CD...But the Board doesn't seem to even want the completely strings-free gift of over $2,000 to the Capital Campaign which the CD sales would generate for the theatre.

I am not aware of writing anything on my website which is other than the facts as they have been given me by the Board. Nothing vaguely "libelous" has ever been written or said by me anywhere...

I ...have lent thousands of hours to Pentacle for producing very popular shows, have generated outstanding publicity for the theatre, and it gives me pleasure to have succeeded at those things. People in my position usually do garner disdain from the envious. I'm afraid I can't save them from themselves...

The power of distrust, hate, and envy are always destructive, and in the case of this project, has completely distorted things so that the CD is no longer about the hard working cast and the theatre which deserves the attention."


"Finally - some voiced support against this damned CD project that Bowser is so obsessed with...Bowser (is) someone who is constantly patting themself on the back, and reminding people of how great his shows have been, and what he has done for us, the Pentacle theatre...

Hey Randy... - We dont want you here. Didnt you say you were leaving? Wasn't Metropolis your last show here? What happened to New York City? Broadway?...We just wish you were gone, like you said in the paper you would be.

Until that very day - I will work tirelessly to make sure you know your place, your not some theatre GOD." (the style of this post matches exactly that of hate email I have gotten over the last year from a well-known Pentacle volunteer--RB)


"Note from Randy B. PLEASE ALL READ LAST COMMENT... What does his hatred for me have to do with the CD project volunteers worked 5 months on--??"


"To those that have so vocally expressed their negative opinions in this inappropriate location: You do not have the right to speak as though you represent the Pentacle Theatre volunteer group as a whole...

This issue shouldn't be about people's opinions of each other, this is about a product... Jonathan Pedersen"(Metro cast member--RB_


"Randy, if you indeed have the funding to produce this CD, then do it. We want our CD!! So what if Pentacle doesn't want to finance it or be involved. Fine, who cares. Leave them out of it."(clearly from a cast member--RB)


"EXCELLENT QUESTION from the most recent visitor. The CD issue is clearly not understood by most people...

--EVEN WITH THE FUNDING WHICH I DO INDEED HAVE---the Board has to approve the project. Why?---

--Because the contract with Joe Brooks ONLY allows the CD to be made and sold as a fund raiser for Pentacle Theatre. There is absolutely no other way it will be allowed.

--The contract also explicitly states THE ONLY way the CD may sold is through Pentacle, in the lobby and at the ticket office. To do that, the Board has to approve.

--Anyone who still hasn't signed a waiver must do so before the CD can legally be mass-produced.

SO---I know the situation has been confusing, and many side issues have made it even more so. But the point is that even with funding, this MUST be a Pentacle project, as outlined above, as per the requirements of the ONLY contract (composer) Joe Brook's company will allow.--Randy Bowser"


"I address my posting to whomever is visiting this site and leaving negative comments about Randy...It is very easy to "spout-off" or "flame" someone when one is in hiding...Your comments don't apply to the topic being addressed, period...

Personal feelings for Randy have nothing to do with the release of a CD, and the comments made about Randy are neither pertinent nor appropriate, and are just ugly. -Melissa K. Turner" (Metro cast member--RB)


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There we have it.

Something very troubling has happened with all this. Surely there are lessons to be extracted from it all.

If my perceived "arrogance" has bothered some people so much that it led to the aborting of this Pentacle-boosting project---then some very serious adjustments need to be made in the theatre's decision making process.

I'm experiencing profound embarrassment for The Board over this disaster. I sincerely hope this fiasco doesn't do the damage to Pentacle's reputation that I fear it probably will.

I would like you to know I have never spent one second working on a Pentacle project as actor, director, musician, sound designer, scenery painter, booth operator, with anything larger than the motto of "The Play's The Thing!" foremost in my mind.

And that's what I will continue to do--with a much lower public profile. I do not feel emotionally equipped to stay so out in the open where I am too vulnerable a target, and a target much pained by the bruises.

Sincerely,
Randy Bowser