Green Day Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong Has Urged Officials At A U.s. High School To Change Their Decision To Cancel An Upcoming Production Of His American Idiot Musical, After Complaints Over The Show.
The star adapted his band's rock opera of the same name for the stage in 2009, and after success both on Broadway and around the world, students at Connecticut's Enfield High School were hoping to put up a revised version of the show that would be more suitable for a younger audience.
Noted theatre producer and arts administrator Howard Sherman first reported on his website that Nate Ferreira, faculty director of The Lamplighters drama group, had been working with representatives from the musical's licensing agent, Music Theatre International (MTI), to create a show more appropriate for both teen actors and audience.
Much of the explicit language in Armstrong's book and lyrics would be amended, while some of the imagery used in the story of three young men searching for sense of their lives in a post-September 11 era would have to be toned down.
Ferreira's work with MTI bosses was so effective that they were even interested in using his edited script for the official high school version of the show, which they create for most Broadway productions.
However, Ferreira recently sent out a note to the school community, informing them that due to a "very small number of extremely vocal people" who have "complained about our choice of production", he, along with the school's principal ultimately decided to "set aside American Idiot for the time being".
Sherman managed to inform Armstrong of the cancellation, and the rocker responded with his own letter on Instagram on Monday (25Jan16), urging school officials to change their minds.
The missive reads: "dear Enfield high school board, It has come to my attention that you cancelled your high school theater production of American Idiot. I realize the content of the Broadway production of AI is not quite "suitable" for a younger audience. However there is a high school rendition of the production and I believe that's the one Enfield was planning to perform which is suitable for most people.
"it would be a shame if these high schoolers were shut down over some of the content that may be challenging for some of the audience. but the bigger issue is censorship. this production tackles issues in a post 9/11 world and I believe the kids should be heard. and most of all be creative in telling a story about our history."
He concludes, "I hope you reconsider and allow them to create an amazing night of theater! as they say on Broadway .. 'the show must go on!'"
The Lamplighters' production of American Idiot was slated to go up early May (16).