Theater Mu artistic director fired after complaints about his conduct

Updated: 3 p.m. | Posted: 7:12 a.m.

Theater Mu has fired artistic director Randy Reyes.

In a letter posted to its website Thursday, Theater Mu's board of directors said it received complaints about Reyes' conduct a few months ago. The nature of the complaints wasn't specified.

"While our investigation into the matter did not find that any unlawful conduct occurred, we discovered conduct that did not reflect the culture we strive to achieve at Mu and did not reflect the high standards to which we hold Mu leadership," the letter said.

"After reflection, the board has concluded Mu must end his employment with the organization," the letter continued. Reyes served as the artistic director for five years and was an active company member for years before that.

Theater Mu is an Asian-American theater company that got its start in 1992.

Board Chair Reginaldo Reyes (no relation) wouldn't go into the nature of the complaints, but did suggest that the current "me too" movement was important context. He said the decision to fire Randy Reyes was difficult, but clearly the right call.

"We have to be introspective about who we are as an organization and make sure that the people that work for us and with us really reflect what our mission is, and being able to do so in a safe environment," he said. "That was really the basis of the decision."

The development was clearly bad news for the company, given the charismatic and dynamic leadership Randy Reyes had provided over five years. Mu's Managing Director Shannon Fitzgerald said she supports the board's decision, but she also credited Reyes with commissioning exciting new work and evolving Asian-American theater beyond immigration stories and folk tales. She said moving on will be difficult, but she's optimistic.

"Mu has been around for a very long time and it has a very strong reputation, and we'll lean on that," she said. "And then my hope is that Mu comes out in the long run stronger and learning more from this experience so we can do even better in the future."

Theater Mu's founder, Rick Shiomi, created the company in 1993 with the vision of lifting up stories of the Asian-American experience. Shiomi worked for years with Randy Reyes to create a smooth leadership transition. He said the news of Reyes' firing came as quite a blow, and said he hoped the development wouldn't hurt the theater too much.

Reginaldo Reyes said the board will work in the coming weeks to plan a national search for the next artistic director. Reached on Friday, his last day with Theater Mu, Randy Reyes said he "respectfully declines" to comment.

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