Dramat fires ‘Monty’ director

The director of the Yale Dramatic Association’s “The Full Monty” has been fired by the group, days before the fall main-stage show was set to begin.

Holly-Anne Ruggiero, the professionally hired director for “The Full Monty,” confirmed her termination in an interview, though she declined to comment on the details surrounding the matter. It remains unclear when and why the director was fired, because both she and others involved with the show refused to confirm specific details.

In a mandatory meeting at 11 p.m. Monday, cast and crew members were notified that Ruggiero would be leaving, but two of them said they were not told Ruggiero was fired at the meeting. Since then, the show’s costume designer Maria Zamansky and scenic designer Anne Goelz have quit and were removed from the show’s crew list on the Dramat Web site.

“The Full Monty” is set to open on Nov. 12, but the dismissal and sudden departures have left the cast and crew with an unfinished set — and show — to complete on their own.

Ruggiero confirmed her departure in a phone interview today: “You know I was fired, right?”

“They really didn’t notify me in the correct way,” she added. “They kind of pulled me in a back room and fired me, which was unprofessional.”

A student involved in the production who wished to remain anonymous wrote in an e-mail message that the director was fired because of a “breach of contract,” but other members of the Dramat declined to confirm this. The same student wrote that Zamansky and Goelz had agreed to stay with the production at the beginning of the week.

In an e-mail sent Wednesday, Dramat President Ashley Rodbro ’09 urged the members of the production not to speak to the press about the “situation” after a News reporter had contacted students involved in the production.

When the News asked Yale College’s supervisor for undergraduate productions and special events, James Brewczynski, to confirm Ruggiero’s departure on Thursday evening, he said by phone that he knew “very little” and referred comment to Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry. (Gentry did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.)

But Brewczynski added: “I do know of the firing.”

In an in-person interview 15 minutes later, he said he could not confirm or deny the firing. He also denied that he had acknowledged the firing in the initial interview.

The Dramat executive board traditionally hires theater professionals in order to help with the fall and spring main-stage productions.

Emma Griffin ’10, the producer of “The Full Monty,” said she had no comment when approached by the News at the production set Thursday. “Call Ashley Rodbro,” she said.

Rodbro declined to comment on the situation in an e-mail Thursday night.

When contacted by the News on Thursday afternoon, Ruggiero was packing up her things to leave New Haven that night.

She declined to provide further comment on the firing on advice of her lawyer, Benjamin Feldman ’90. (Feldman, who was a secretary of the Dramat during his undergraduate years, did not return multiple voice mail messages left on his cell phone last night.)

Ruggiero worked as an assistant director on the 2006 Tony Award-winning “Jersey Boys.”

Danika Fears contributed reporting.

Comments

  • anon

    wow that's a lot of words and yet no information. quite a feat.

  • Anonymous

    umm calm down, "anon."

  • Anon In Support of Holly-Anne

    This is appalling. I was a part of the production and this makes me sick. Ms. Ruggiero did an amazing job and I can't believe that they fired her. Our whole cast is extremely upset and saddened by this departure and we are sickened by the Dramat's actions.

  • anon

    If people don't know the reason, they shouldn't judge.

  • Jeff

    Why all the secrecy? If she was fired for valid reasons then no one should be told not to talk about it. If she wasn't, then she certainly should, but she has "a lawyer," so whatever happens this is going to cost Yale's insurance company some money.

  • Too much Drama in the Dramat

    The Dramat? Secretive?! Unprofessional?!?! I'm shocked.

    Dramat Board: stop acting sketchy and start representing Yale's theater community. We're tired of your petty and dubious agenda. Three main-stage musicals; three incompetent directors; three strikes.

    Grow up, or get out.

  • Anon

    I think that's exactly the point. She WASN'T fired for any valid reasons so no one can say anything against her.

  • Anon

    Regardless of the reason for firing, once legal action begins no one involved should talk about the case, and I'm sure that's what their attorneys have advised.

  • spreadtheleak

    Surely some1 can tell me over this series of tubes the real reason she was fired?!?!

  • y09

    How dramatic!

  • Another Anon

    Surely there must have been another appropriate action that could have been taken short of firing (e.g., public reprimand). Where's the tolerance the great Yale liberal community is known for? Unfortunately those harmed the most by the firing are the students who've spent countless hours on this production. And removing Ms. Ruggiero's name from the Dramat's The Full Monty website and poster is the kind of senseless vindictive reaction I'd expect from a child, not a group of adults. It doesn't change the fact that Ms. Ruggiero did in fact direct the production only to be denied the opportunity to see it through to the end. It will remain her production regardless of any action taken.

  • Anon

    This director was NOT incompetent by any means. The members of the Dramat are. I worked on the show and Holly-Anne was amazing. I'm embarrassed for our community.

  • y07

    Please, fellow anonymous commenters. Give us the scoop. Or a link to someone else who's giving the scoop. Something. This is almost painful at this point.

  • Anon

    #11…
    Ms. Ruggiero asked that her named be removed from the website and the posters.
    Also unless you know the entire story, you do not know that there was another option.

  • Anonymous

    I guess we'll never get the full monty on this situation.

  • Anonymous

    Idle speculation from people with a chip on their shoulder who have no idea what they're talking about is not worth my time.

  • voice of reason

    Doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. No one is above the law.

  • Standing up for our Holly-Anne

    The law? There was no law-breaking involved and the members of the Dramat know that. Ms. Ruggiero was my director and was the best director I've ever worked with at Yale in my three years here. She inspired us to push ourselves as artists and human beings and this whole thing is an awful shame. She should be APPLAUDED for taking a genuine interest in the students that work with the Dramat, not scorned. This is a Dead Poet's Society type thing, those in power got scared away by a young director with new ideas who brought light to a stale, dusty group of people. I hope that the actions taken by our "student advisors" will not deter her from working with University students again and she has been the most motivating person I have come across in a long time. I hope she reads this and knows that we all love her and think she was THE BEST. PRINT THAT. I wish that someone would.

  • Anonymous

    I still don't know what happened…

    Seriously, if you're reading this, and you know what happened, post it anonymously. Please!

  • schadenfreude

    Hahaha, James Brewczynski got caught in a whopper of a lie

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