Broadway Global shares breaking news, that ignorance and censorship is alive and well in America. South Williamsport Area High School located in PA cancels a planned production of "Spamalot" leaving arts lovers stunned. While most Americans are celebrating Independence Day, some Drama students are left wondering if United States citizens believe in freedom of speech, diversity, or a Tony Award winning musical comedy? Funny that local Curtin Middle School sang "Rule the World" and Curtin Middle School Orchestra performed The Best of Queen, with songs like "We Will Rock You"! The small town known for its Holiday Candy Cane Lane has left a sour note this Fourth of July Holiday Season. South Williamsport educated leaders have rocked the nation, by stopping a musical production of "Spamalot".
Maltz Jupiter Theatre Artistic Director Andrew Kato. "The best way to get teenagers to rebel is to tell them they can't do something. It's Shakespeare at its most basic... Romeo and Juliet. Young people today do not subscribe to the discrimination and fear of that of their parents and grandparents. They may cancel the high school musical, but the upcoming generation is too accepting of each other to let this shape who they're going to be as citizens.. when they rule the world."
Maybe the South Williamsport School Board could take lessons for diversity from the Weichert Realtors who performed as The Addams Family for the towns popular Mummer's Parade. Enjoy attached video links of the community that paint the picture for this middle American town. A diverse community, who find an award winning musical like Spamalot to controversial for teenagers. Now, take a a look at "The Yard" a fenced in park, compared by a local father to prisons. A basketball player with three sons cries for help. He shares a Williamsport PA park, with cameras and locks on the gates, while he states the rich side of town offers skate parks and soccer fields. Sad, educating diversity is not offered from our educated community leaders. Broadway Global offers quotes from some who are stunned by South Williamsport School Boards censorship. What censorship is next books?
"We spend all this time, energy and money to keep arts in our schools, and then the schools spend their time, energy and money telling the kids they can't put things on that might "offend" someone. If that's the case, all we'll have left are shows like Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cinderella and Godspell, and that's not fair. The administrations should work with the directors, musical directors and anyone else involved to work out any questions about possible content issues, but it should not stop a show from going up in the full way it was intended.
If a director sought out a show, paid for the rights, and is in the middle of rehearsals-regardless of what people think, the show should not be stopped just because it makes the administration 'uncomfortable'. What kind of message does that send to the kids involved in the show? It makes me so infuriated when I hear a production is in full rehearsals and is getting told it can't go up because of the possibility of people being "offended". Where were these people during the talks to get the show done in the first place? You had your chance, you didn't speak up, and before this second you didn't care. You don't have the right, and you shouldn't get the right to stop a show in its' tracks because you personally don't agree with what the show says. Don't go see it, then. Plain and simple." Sami DeSocio (William Paterson University Class of 2009).
"The world is an amazing place out there. For some kids theatre, film and books are the only access to a world beyond what they are exposed to in their communities. Imagine being LGBT person, young or old in a community that states homosexuality doesn't exist in it! All of us need to be open to all aspects of the globe we live in. Be respectful of others who are different from us in any way." Pat Palumbo - MS in Marriage and Family Therapy.
"If grades 7 - 12 from South Williamsport Area School District can't perform in Spamalot, what kind of issues from our global diverse society can they offer in a production? WNEP reported that drama director Dawn Burch received an email from the principal Jesse Smith, citing homosexual themes in the musical comedy as a reason for canceling Spamalot. According to WNEP, Smith says in email to Burch that "homosexuality does not exist in the conservative South Williamsport Community." Students on the news stated that is not true. It's appalling that educators could make this statement." Theatre Chat
South Williamsport Area School District superintendent Mark Stamm sent playbill.com this statement "The drama program includes students from grades 7 - 12. The performances are open to the public and will include members of the community, families, and children of all ages. We want our performances to be appropriate for the student performers and audiences so that anyone participating or watching can enjoy all aspects of the show." Community Arts Center says the school's "decision is insensitive and harmful to students in the area." Two Spamalot characters Prince Herbert and Lancelot marry in the finale, but even students have confided that LGBT students are present. As many States come of age accepting Equality for Same Sex Marriages, our students are left wondering why would a musical comedy representing Gay Marriage would be unexceptable in an educational setting. In researching we found a video of local respected businesswoman, philanthropist and school board member Pam Markle stating on You Tube in the first 33 seconds why she was leaving Williamsport, for her kids and diversity!
Broadway Global and Theatre Chat share that you can find breaking numbers of sport's cheerleaders twerking in school's on You Tube, but Spamalot is unacceptable? Isn't it ironic that school principles around the nation, want Drama Departments to pay for lights in the auditorium that hold countless sports rallies, but do you think the theatre kids could rehearse the school musical on the football field? The double standards of sports and arts are present throughout the nation. Spamalot is taken from these Drama students, but Williamsport High School twerking cheerleaders or Harlem Shake videos with school chairs thrown about is ok in American schools! What message have these leaders in education given our students in diversity? Every arts lover must reach out by contacting the South Williamsport Area School District facebook fan page and share your disappointment. The globe is watching you on the big stage! You could educate acceptance and diversity to our youth, through a Tony Award winning musical Spamalot!"