Skylight Music Theatre Names Susan Varela Executive Director
Milwaukee, Wis. (March 16, 2023) — Skylight Music Theatre Board of Directors announced that Susan Varela has been named Executive Director. Varela served as Interim Executive Director since January 2023 and was chosen for the position after a national search. She will begin in her new role immediately.
Varela joined the Skylight staff in 2019 as Director of Artistic Operations. Prior to that she had a 30-year career in theatre that included performing, directing, and producing. As an actor Varela performed on Broadway in Les Misérables and in the National Tours of Little Women: The Musical, Cats, and Evita. At Skylight she appeared in Les Misérables, The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd. Locally and regionally, Varela has directed and produced entertainment content for special events, non-profits, and TV commercials.
“We value Susan’s leadership, enthusiasm, and passion for Skylight Music Theatre,” said Valerie Johnson,
President of Skylight Music Theatre Board of Directors. “We are confident she will help Skylight successfully move forward as we continue to recover from the challenges of the pandemic and help Skylight grow and strengthen what we do best – entertaining and delighting audiences with the full range of music theatre.”
A Milwaukee native, Varela attended Greendale High School and graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. In addition to performing at Skylight, she has been seen at First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and in cabarets and concerts across the country with her husband, Andrew Varela.
“I am thrilled to accept this position,” said Varela. “As someone born and raised in Milwaukee, this theatre has had a place in my heart for decades. When Andrew and I left New York to raise our son, we chose to settle here. Skylight Music Theatre has been our artistic home ever since, and it is an incredible honor to now lead this organization. I look forward to working closely together with the artists and professionals who make up Skylight to navigate current challenges and to generate new excitement as we make Skylight ‘Milwaukee’s home for music theatre.’”
Skylight’s previous Executive Director, Jack R. Lemmon, served in the role from 2015-2022. The national search for his replacement was conducted by Management Consultants for the Arts.
Skylight’s 2022-2023 season continues with the hilarious play Noises Off by Michael Frayn with Music by Combustible Edison from March 17 – April 2, and the world premiere developmental presentation of the uplifting rock musical, SuperYou, by Lourds Lane, running May 26 – June 18, 2023.
About Skylight Music Theatre
Founded in 1959, Skylight is Milwaukee’s professional Equity music theatre company and the largest employer of Wisconsin actors in the state. We are Milwaukee’s Home for Music Theatre—the only professional Milwaukee arts company devoted solely to music theatre. Skylight produces the full breadth of music theatre ranging from blockbuster Broadway musicals to reimagined operas, and from exciting world premieres to contemporary off-Broadway hits. Skylight’s mainstage home is the Cabot Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center, which was built by Skylight in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward in 1992. Considered to be one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful theatres, the Cabot Theatre is based on the design of an 18th-century French opera house. With just 350 seats it offers audiences great views of the performance and allows audiences to feel close to the action and emotion onstage. Skylight Music Theatre marks its 63rd season in 2022-2023. Skylight Music Theatre is a proud Cornerstone Member of the United Performing Arts Fund.