Legal Battle Brews Following Firing Of Spokane Civic Theater Art - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Legal Battle Brews Following Firing Of Spokane Civic Theater Artistic Director

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

UPDATE: Press Release From Spokane Civic Theatre

The Spokane Civic Theatre has a long history of producing top-quality productions for the Spokane community. To do so, we consistently strive to make our product the best that it can be.

At the Spokane Civic Theatre, our Board of Directors are all volunteers who are committed to acting with the interests of this community treasure in mind. The Board considers the Theatre's well being and future when making decisions about different matters. The details of Yvonne A.K. Johnson's departure are confidential and shall remain so. We are saddened that Ms. Johnson has decided to air her grievances in a public forum.

The Board is thoughtful in its review of Theatre matters. We ask that you trust that our decisions are made with our mission in mind and in furtherance of continuing to improve our organization.

As part of ongoing efforts, we have hired a former Broadway director and our construction project is ahead of schedule. The show must go on, and we hope you are a part of it.


The Spokane Civic Theater continues to move forward just a week after firing the person in charge, Executive Artistic Director Yvonne Johnson. In 2005 the theater hired Johnson from a pool of 90 applicants following a national search, but now she's out of a job and it looks like a large legal battle is brewing. The board made the decision less than a week ago. On Wednesday we reached out to the Theater Board President for comment, but at this point Larry Wooley could not say anything.

KHQ Local News Reporter Alex Rozier was able to obtain Yvonne Johnson's annual review for 2012-2013. That review took place on June 10th, a little more than a month ago. It was an absolutely stellar review, which only raises more questions about why Johnson was fired. One part read quote:

"The 2012-2013 Theatrical Season for Spokane Civic Theater was again artistically and financially the most successful to date," the report said. "It is a testament to Ms. Johnson's continued leadership and talents as Executive Artistic Director."

A new Civic Theater President started July 1st, and it wasn't long before Johnson was fired by the board. The 10 member board votes and in the event of a tie the President gets the final say. We still don't know how anyone voted, we just know the end result.

Johnson had many accomplishments in her tenure in charge. Her resume says she directed Spokane Civic Theater's top four grossing award winning musicals. There was controversy, though, after she fired the Musical Director James Ryan in 2010.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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